Sunday, December 23, 2012

The harmless TV fun of today may produce the scandals of tomorrow

Toyah Willcox said an interesting thing on this week's programme on Radio Four about Smash Hits when talking about the relatively benign world of 80s pop stardom. "Nowadays," she said, "I think of fame as something dark and abusive."

I know what she meant. However, the majority of people seem to associate seediness exclusively with the past. I overheard some thirtyish blokes in the pub talking about the police investigation of Jimmy Savile. They seem to have arrived at the view that anyone who had been on Radio One in the seventies was, to use the great contemporary smear-all, "dodgy". This seemed to apply particularly if they'd worn a tank top. People like things to look the way they do in their prejudices.

Scandal's no respecter of eras. I don't have any evidence but I can't help suspecting that when our 21st century world of reality TV and searches-for-a-star finally lands in a ditch at the side of the road, a lot of victims will crawl from the wreckage and some of them may have very "dark and abusive" stories to tell. Since so many of those swept up in this gold rush have been wide eyed innocents or people with fragile self-esteem, there's bound to be fall-out. At which point a lot of the same people currently celebrating it all as harmless fun may abruptly change their tunes.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't one difference between the type of stars thrown up by the kind of telly shows of which you speak and say the teen pop stars of forty years ago is that it is precisely the kind of 'dark and abusive' back story that the current set up depends.

    In 1973 a cheeky teen singer could only be experienced through a few magazines and TOTP. These days there can be nary a cranny or corner of their lives into which the camera doesn't pry or anything so private they don't want to reveal about themselves.

    As I understand things it is standard practice for these hopefuls to preface a performance with a dedication to grandad who died last month, last year or five year's ago and thus illicit the sympathy of the judges.

    If one of them were to say ''My scoutmaster has been bumming me for two years...this is I Believe I Can Fly.'' They'd be a shoo-in.

    The point is that the whole circus is defined by openess and willingness to give up privacy.If this is where scandals of the future lie then these people are victims of their own inadequacies.