Sometimes you need to take an objective look at how the world is. Its difficult at the best of times as objectivity can be highly subjective most times, you are seeing things from your point of view and its hard to let that go and drop your prejudices towards any given topic. But sometimes it pays to take a long, hard and often painful look at who people are and what motivates them.
Step back in time.
Its summer time, 2002.
Big Brother is broadcasting its usual fare of voyeuristic car crashism, featuring a fat girl with a fatter mouth who, for some reason, endeared herself to the viewing public by being annoying. People gobbled it up more eagerly than she gobbled the man parts of one of her housemates on live television. She got drunk, fell over, shouted, swore and generally made a rather large tit out of herself and still we laughed, we cried, we nodded at how normal she was and tuned in every night to see normal people doing normal things. We bought the newspapers to see this beacon of mediocrity become animated into a cultural icon through the release of a workout video and a racist tirade.
She then became all that was wrong with society. Mouthy. Drunk. Indebted. Vulgar. Unrefined. The very things that made her dear to everyone were now the things that made her stand out as everything we dared not admit to..
We saw ourselves.
And we didn’t like what we saw.
We came to realise that in putting normality on a pedestal we were faced every day with our own failings. We shunned her. We hated her. We used her as a target against which to pin our self loathing without ever coming to the realisation that it was the very likeness of ourselves that we were drawn to in the first place. Or didn’t we? Maybe that was the very thing that turned the tide in the first place. Maybe, on some deeper level, it was when we became aware that it was ourselves we were looking at did the tide turn. Maybe after we realised what we were looking at did we try to smash the mirror.
When the drunken, mouthy racist in all of us went on show we decided that we didn’t like what we saw and tried to change the channel. But there we were again. On every channel. On every newspaper. In every magazine. We were there. We were drunk. We were shouting. Our relationships were falling apart. We had no money. We had debt. We hated ourselves now that we saw her for what we all saw in ourselves and we couldn’t escape it.
Now she is going to die, and we’ll all be there too.
I’ve been trying to understand what makes people want to watch so closely, and I think I’ve figured it out. I think in seeing her die we can try to fool ourselves into believing we can see everything rotten we saw in us die with her. In some dark part of our souls we want to believe that we can forget about everything she forced us to see in ourselves and once she is gone, we can go back to watching stars fall from grace and forget about it when we change the channel because they are not like us, so we are not like them. Their failings are their own. Not ours.
I’m sure we’ll have a minutes silence when she is gone. But at the back of our minds we will be glad to see the end of a terrible era of introspection and a time in which we were forced to realise that this is what we all are. Mouthy, drunken, indebted, flawed people with a most unhealthy taste for the macabre far beyond that of anything that has walked the earth before us.
Until of course the new queen arrives to become the next cess pit into which we can dump all our failings. Big Brother 2009 is just around the corner.
Line up ye hopefuls. Reality beckons.