Celebrities and heroes

Homesickness is hard to sustain when things seem to lurch still further towards cultural doom. This little photogenic scenario did it for me this morning: – a post by Ange from Melbourne where the state watches a little too closely. Howard’s cops having released 28 photographs of people they want to talk to in connection with a recent protest. It makes me feel even more happy that you can see these pics on The Age news site in what looks like a flickr type slideshow format.

“January 18, 2007: In the wake of the protests against the G20 in Melbourne, and as numerous arrests continue to take place, police tonight released a series of photos, each one euphemistically labeled “person of interest.” Police are indeed perfecting their methods of surveillance and control …” [archive S0metim3s]

That bit of surveillance no doubt has more value as a curious juxtaposition with the scenario everyone is watching too closely in London – the Celebitchy Big Brother race & bullying scam. BB/C4 offer us a screen onto which to project the vicious underside of the war on terror. Amply exposed on Lenin’s tomb, from where I nicked the image, but reminding me of things said about other similar distractions from the main game. Despite my previous fascination with BB, this rich Celeb version makes me ‘homesick’ for the unadorned nastiness of the cop-photo-shoppery above. Below I include some choice excerpts from what is an (almost twice as long) excellent post from L-T:

“The whole point of Endemol’s shit-fest on Channel 4 is to force together personalities so incompatible that normal human comity would be impossible, never mind solidarity under the stress of sensory deprivation and constant surveillance. … I suppose we had better be grateful that the recipient of the abuse was not a Muslim. If she was, we’d be hearing from many quarters that Muslims are far too sensitive about legitimate criticism. “Ah, complaing about being called a ‘dog’, is she? What do these Muslims have against canines, I wonder?” Had those who burned the effigy in India been Muslim, we would no doubt be hearing about the sinister Islamic threat to free speech. Not that it matters what religion she adheres to inside the ‘house’, eh? Shilpa Shetty is variously a “dog”, a “Paki” (this bit C4 denies, saying the word was “cunt”), someone who – being from India – must be unhygeinic and eat with her hands, thus giving other housemates “the shits”, someone who both needs to “go back to the slums” and also visit them for the first time and be “real”, someone who is “trying to be white”, and someone who should “fuck off home”. … The reactions have been, er, interesting: Channel 4 greasily asserting that there has been no overt racism, titter titter (as if we didn’t know that they had assessed their candidates down to the last tic, and fully expected outbursts of racism); New Labour politicians covering their already hideously mired flanks by uttering obsequies about tolerance; David Cameron saying that anyone “who doesn’t like this racism, there’s a great regulator, its called the ‘off’ button.” The latter is a curious response, surely designed to tickle the fancy of racist Tories and those obsessed with whatever is called ‘the nanny state’ this week.” [L-T]

1 Comments:

John Hutnyk said…
Feeling a bit Jaded now? It is disappointing me a lot that all over the commentary on the Shilpa Shetty – Jade Goody Big Brother scam people are debating whether its racist or not, class or not, bullying or not [yes, all of the above, of course], but no-one seems keen to see this as a much bigger and more revealing displacement of the unspoken debate and politics we know is right there in front of us but the press and the piggy-pollies refuse to have, or are unable to have. That is the peculiar spin-cycle that makes up the contemporary system-wide racism of the global order. It amazes me that the Prime Minister has to face discussion of BB at question time in parliament, but carries on bombing, killing, destroying Afghanistan, and Iraq, regardless. And with little time for questions of anything that matters, it all gets displaced into television (and The Trial of TB was another example of the same). Even the much beloved Russell Brand suddenly feels the need to preface his comedy routines with seriousness, but does not make the displacement equation. Is it only my dysfunctional take on things that makes me see this as the ‘dream-work’ of the war on terror? For me this is the consequences of foreign policy as clear as day, but we cannot debate that. The double take is cod-outrage, and the February 15 2003 mobilisation against the war remains unanswered. Ahhh, damn it, f only there were opportunities for Davina McCall to interview Blair after he was voted out of the house…

12:04 AM
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