Big Brother is unquestionably garbage. It adds nothing to our understanding of a complex world. Nor does it enrich our lives with stories of timeless quality. By all accounts, it is an excruciating blancmange of meaningless banter, Benny Hill-style ribaldry and, now, low-level sexual assault. Which pretty much sums up the times in which we live.
Well there you have it from New Matilda. A bit sweeping I’d say. I don’t like BB and would watch pretty much nothing of it in normal circumstances, but my twleve year old daughter likes virtually any reality TV, so I see a good bit of it here and there.
I’ve been up in Canberra for the last couple of weeks, and a bit crook. And I’m afraid if I feel a bit crook and don’t have any deadlines, I’m happy to channel surf for a while. Play a bit of internet chess, read the newspapers.
Now I wouldn’t normally watch BB even then – enough Soccer and Tennis to make me happy at the moment. But I tuned in the other night and it was great fun. Twenty seven year old David has decided ‘no more Mr Niceguy’ in the house. Now plenty of housemates think he never really was Mr Niceguy, but that’s not how he sees it. He’s speaking his mind and shaking off what he says is a life of non-assertiveness. I couldn’t watch hours of this, but one night they had about fifteen minutes of edited highlights of a massive blow up where he got just about everyone offside.
Here he was blundering about. And you could see both what his feelings were and what a hash he was making – of the etiquette and of the politics of it all. Anyway, it struck me that it was really quite something to watch a casual argument develop. To watch how transparently in so many arguments, the words are really a cloak for the expression of emotions. And to see how much aggravation is generated by nothing much more than impatience – an impatience about the other person catching on to what one has to say.
Anyway, from what I saw, I could make a teriffic one hour DVD of materials for school classes – and perhaps for management training – which brought these things out. Its actually quite rare to have such good footage of arguments happening in a social setting like this. We have arguments on the record in Parliament and courts etc of course. But these contexts are highly theatrical and these arguments are of a quite different genre to the family argument.
Of course those in the BB household know they’re being filmed, but when it’s 24/7 you let your guard down and there is a genuine naturalness to the interaction in BB. I can’t think of a better source of footage for life as it happens – or at least arguments as they happen.
The other good thing about BB for me is that provides a snapshot of another generation (for me). Perhaps they are chosen for this – but they’re a strange mixture. Impossibly vain, and very articulate.