You Always Hurt The One You Love

I’ve been laughing this week at how television producers are supposedly staring horrified at a big middle finger being waved in their direction by the public. The great cities of Britain may be bankrupt, we may have more pram faces per square metre than an American trailer park, and now there’s posh student demonstrators fighting for skinny

cappuccinos at university , but we’re not daft. According to the story, we’ve woken up.

For a few years now we’ve all bought in to voting for the best talent on reality shows so that we can pick a star. But now the TV companies have had our money and smiled at our gullibility, it’s our turn to have a laugh. Or is it?

Anne Widdicombe, a woman with the coordination and dancing technique of a rhinoceros in labour, is hopeless as a dancer and has the grace of a tractor with three wheels, yet she’s never in the bottom two on Strictly Come Dancing. Why? Because we’re told the public now knows it can wave that middle finger at the producers, and by voting in someone who has no right to be there it’s a big “up yours” to the TV bosses.

Then, viewers of I’m A Celebrity decided not to play the role thrust on them and instead voted, night after night, for Gillian McKeith to face spiders, snakes and drowning, forgetting to share the torture around because they just don’t like her. It is, of course, bullying and viewers should be ashamed unless, perhaps, they were trying to save her from spending more time with Lembit Opik. The producers could do nothing about it and had to refund callers after McKeith’s amateur dramatics and hammy fainting spell. She now says she’s pregnant, making every male contestant happy he was asked to the naked jungle rather than the naked conception.

And week after week Wagner was voted through on the X Factor, not because he can sing (he can’t) and not because he’s nice (he’s not) but, according to journalists, because the public wanted to show Simon Cowell who’s boss. As the good singers bite the dust, we were told that Cowell must be tense as he faces the real prospect of jaded viewers voting for Wagner to win and an album being released that no one will buy apart from farmers keen to scare pests and wild animals.

Also, the public at last turned on Cheryl Cole. She publicly upbraided Wagner for remarks he made to a reporter but she’s a professional who knows how the press works, while he doesn’t. She’s had years of dealing with sneaky reporters who lie to get a story, but he hasn’t. She knows about being constantly misquoted, yet he doesn’t. But she still went ahead and tried the character assassination bit on him.

The bully girl tactics were not fair, the viewers didn’t like it and hundreds have complained. Perhaps she’ll soon be Cheryl Dole.

But I’m not buying any of this. The great British unwashed, myself included, simply vote for whoever’s made them laugh. And anyway, no matter what happens, these shows just get more publicity and more viewers every week as these silly stories gain press coverage, so the thought of Cowell, or any other producer, getting worried is just plain daft.

However, sometimes the public CAN BE nasty, can’t they?

I was in W.H. Smith this week and had to wait while staff tried to find something for a woman in front of me. Eventually a young assistant told her, apologetically, that he’d checked with head office and she had actually ordered on line so the item would be delivered to her address as she had requested, not to the store. She flew in to a rage and asked for the manager, then told him the assistant had called her a liar.

Feeling sorry for the young bloke, I told the manager that he had been perfectly polite throughout and had not used that word at all. The customer then shouted to me to mind my own “effin’” business and I have rarely heard language like the invective she hurled at me. But that was OK, after all I’m from Glasgow where we call that “love talk”. But it was her departing remark that really hurt. Looking over her shoulder as she fled she muttered “Bloody Dale Winton lookalike.”

Now that hurt. What do the public know anyway?

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