Life Just Bounces don't you get worried at all. (A weblog of music and otrogenerica)

Monday, 12 January 2009

Notes on Ross and Brand.

i wrote this piece at the time of the Jonathan Ross/Russell Brand/Andrew Sachs fiasco. Not sure why i didn't publish it then, but i just re-read it and still agree with what i thought then, so i thought i'd share, for posterity. Anything in dark red below (save for a couple of minor edits) dates from the time in question.

• Cruelty isn't humour. "Hurrr hurrr hurrr he fucked your granddaughter" is not a punchline.

• Jonathan Ross is paid as much as 1,000 journalists (and isn't shy of "hilarious" reminders of same). To me, he doesn't match the value of one-fifth of a journalist. I am always amazed that people don't treat him with the same C-list contempt deservedly afforded to his equally mediocre brother Paul.

• Brand is not a stupid man, although he is guilty of consistently underselling and dumbing himself down to pander to fashionable modern anti-intelligence sentiments. This is worse.

• Noel Gallagher apparently says "it's really them and us now". Well, good. It literally fills me to the brim with pride to know that Noel Gallagher identifies me with a group he considers to be "them". Newsflash: fuck you, you third-rate Rick Parfitt impersonator, it was *always* them and us. Where "us" represented "non-cunts" and "them" represented... well, you.

• "But she *did* shag him!" Oh, so that makes it all OK then, yeh? This is by far the most worrying aspect of this whole story to me: this insane reaction that, because it's *true* that Georgina Baillie *did* have consensual sex with Russell Brand, that means she's somehow fair game. You and i have probably had sexual relations with some people too. Does that mean we want it on our grandparents' answerphones? No.

• I've noticed a lot of people say that complaining about something like this means the complainers must be "square", "fuddy-duddy", obsessed with unimportant trivia, a humourless killjoy, etc. So what does that make complaining about people complaining about it?

• Another reason it's unfashionable to complain is because "...[t]he call was actually pretty funny!" Ahh, so humorous value is now the determiner of what is appropriate for broadcast, yeh? So if i find paedophilia funny, that makes it family entertainment, then? No. Majority belief in an opinion doesn't stop it from being bollocks, as a brief glance at the Top 40 will demonstrate.

• "Yeh they made the call, but why should they get in trouble for it? After all it was pre-recorded, maybe we should be firing the people who allowed it to air!"

Right, so you want to absolve the people who wilfully and cynically overstepped the mark to make themselves look cool and edgy on the radio, but fire the production staff (whose wages are paid directly by Brand) charged with trying to keep the enormous egos of same in check and keep their output transmittable at all?

Yeh, that seems fair. After all, those bastard producers actually let it go ahead without pressing the "STOP" button. All poor innocent Wussell and Wossy did was come up the idea of doing prank calls to a unsuspecting celebrity in the first place (box-fresh, guys!), add the genius idea that the prank calls should be obscene, record the obscene prank calls and then schedule the obscene prank calls for broadcast on a show that bears one of their names. Clearly they are blame-free in comparison with the malevolent producers.

• Ross has pulled out of the Comedy Awards. Why was he even involved in the first place? He's a chat-show host.

• Remember when Radio 2 used be seen as the "dad music" station? (Well, it still is, technically, but now they also play vapid modern pop and adopt Estuary accents to fit in as well). If this sort of thing is standard practice at R2 now, i hate to think what Radio 1's target audience is like these days. Presumably pre-schoolers and people who failed the Jeremy Kyle audition for being too inarticulate.

• "Support Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand!" groups on Facebook. Why? They don't need your support. They are famous multi-millionaires who are even now reaping all the publicity from this incident to further their careers. On his salary, Jonathan Toss has had bigger shits than three months' pay suspension. Russell Bland barely even works for the BBC anyway, so his "falling on his sword" (put down the Dictionary of Overdramatic Victorian English, you utter fool) amounts to nothing more than (a) a continuation of his big fat pay-cheques from Sky and C4; and (b) probably a rake of new offers from the kind of misguided people currently considering him to be rebellious and hard-done-by rather than a gasbag who got his comeuppance for being a bit of a bullying wanker on a publicly-funded media channel.

In other words, the poor diddumses will get over it.

JAY SHERMAN (disgusted): How do you sleep at night?
MCBAIN (smug): On top of a big pile of money, with many beautiful women.

• In effect, Ross and Brand are basically The Crap Version of Ashton Kutcher.

Talk about the punishment fitting the crime.

The only thing left to note is that in the run-up to an epochal change of leadership in the US, with wars in the Middle East grinding unstoppably on and the global economy haemorrhaging to death around our ears, it would have been nice if we hadn't had to take a week's break to focus exclusively on coverage of "two squawking men shouting at an actor" (as Radio 4's The Now Show excellently put it).

A point made ad infinitum at the time, of course. Not that anyone listened.

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