Rick Redman: Plastic parasites who insult our intelligence

December 15th, 2011

Published on Sunday 11 December 2011 09:02

THE Dumb-Down Express stopped off in Liverpool last week, as e4’s Desperate Scousewives became the latest piece in a depressing popular culture jigsaw.

Unsurprisingly, it took the programme’s introduction a matter of seconds before reminding us that it is set in the home town of the Beatles.

But the irony of associating a semi-prepared cacophony of trust funds and hair extensions with the four men who put the 2008 European capital of culture on the map could fill Anfield ten times over.

These plastic parasites are just the tip of an iceberg that begs the questions: ‘Is our intelligence being insulted?’ and ‘When did we stop celebrating talent?’

Following in the mould of Jersey Shore, it was the only way is Essex – or ‘TOWIE’, to give its reem nickname – that made it acceptable for viewers to venture vicariously into the lives of overprivileged 20-somethings whose only concern in life is whether to use a sunbed or a tanning booth to achieve their mahogany hue.

I’ll openly admit I’m more than a little jealous of these silver-spooned simpletons because if ignorance is bliss, they’re being fed seedless grapes in narcissistic nirvana.

Mind-numbing programme after mind-numbing programme of this ilk gets commissioned without so much as a perfectly-plucked eyebrow raised.

However, this infestation of waxed chests and vajazzles is merely a subsection of the type of tedious television that fawning fantasists have been lapping up for over ten years now.

And worryingly, people shamelessly endure these televisual lobotomies en masse.

The laboriously named (and laboriously viewed) I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! attracted a record 11.5 million viewers for its opening night last month.

That’s more than the population of Greece.

Yes, it is very easy to moan about how worthy the contestants are of the label ‘celebrity’, but it’s upsetting to see British sporting icons like Fatima Whitbread and Willie Carson exploit themselves for a payday and/or attention alongside what’s-their-faces like mark Wright and Crissy Rock.

In a world where a footballer’s wife being spotted clothes shopping makes national news (I’m looking at you, Mrs Beckham) it’s no surprise that Katie Prices and Kim Kardashians live the high life while record-breaking decathletes put cockroaches up their nostrils.

After getting her foot in the celebrity door by draping her wares over Subaru Imprezas as the talentless Jordan, the talentless Katie ‘don’t call me Jordan’ Price ghost-wrote her way onto the bestsellers list.

But why read the book when you can watch the film of the book that was written to be turned into a film?

How appropriate that this generation’s Heathcliff is a chiselled-cheekboned, white-toothed pretty boy who sucks the lifeblood out of subhuman beasts on a regular basis.

Maybe I’m being unfair about the dross we consume – it’s only a bit of escapism.

I am however mindful that this escapism may spray-tan its way to become hero worship and we could be faced with young people competing to see who can have the longest eyelashes and least GCSEs.

And what of that popular culture jigsaw? if you have enough brain cells left to complete the puzzle, you’ll be faced with a 1,000-piece picture of Max Clifford laughing his head off.

Rick Redman: Plastic parasites who insult our intelligence

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