Friday, January 19, 2007

British Faux Racism Update: “I Take It Back”

The consensus in the comments seems to be that this dust up in Britain the Baron wrote about was merely a publicity stunt, and not just plain old Kiplingesque racism. Darn.

Here’s the first part, as the plot thickens. It’s from a piece in Daily India:

Channel 4’s decision to screen a Diary Room interview with Shetty in which she retracted her earlier claims of racism also came in for flak.

Shilpa had said: ‘Actually, I take that back. People say things in a fit of anger and I stand corrected, so I don’t want people to think and feel that way. Please clarify and put this as a statement — that I don’t feel there was any racial discrimination happening from Jade’s end.’

Isn’t that nice? She’s taking back her little fit. But here’s the second scene, as the plot sickens:

- - - - - - - - - -
…now her popularity ratings have soared suddenly — thanks to the controversial Channel 4 reality TV show “Celebrity Big Brother” in which she was the target of alleged racial abuse.

The long-legged Indian beauty has hogged international media headlines after her sobs found an echo in the House of Commons and also got the Indian government into action to defend her against the alleged racial abuse targeted at her by her housemates on the TV show.


This “story,” complete with pretend slander and much emoting from the balcony bears similarities to the buzz about those American babes who were having candid photos snatched — sans underwear — as they entered or exited their vehicles.

Since I don’t have a TV and actively avoid celebrity news I don’t have the names of any of these pathetic tarts stars. To show the depths of my ignorance, I’ve never seen a reality show (except for the one I’m immersed in right here in real time) and I’m not sure what “American Idol” is, though I do believe I would be held accountable on the grounds of incipient stupidity if I did have, floating about in my brain, original source images of such arcana.

On the other hand, I will admit that I stole an October, 2005 People magazine from the doctor’s office the other day. Haven’t read one in years, but late that night its worn and torn pages were a diversion from the pain that had driven me to the doctor’s office in the first place. The magazine was crammed with improbable looking women, all dressed and sculpted to look alike, their botoxed lips giving them a certain K-Mart Lolita air. The Stepford Wives have nothing on these creatures; they are merely messier looking versions of their legendary suburban foremothers. And the men? They all seemed to need a shave and a job and a trip to Good Will for some clothing.

Plumbing the depths of People didn’t take the pain away, but it did create a diversion of sorts as I attempted to figure out the ramifications of a culture of women with lots of money, ratty hair, and clothing that seemed to have been grabbed off the street from passing hookers.

Black Forest clockI’m still working on this puzzle, though I did notice a central part of their belief system: repeated stays at drug rehabilitation center as a swinging door rite of passage. Their in-and-out-the-rehab-door-dramas brought to mind those clocks or barometers with little German dolls that used to lurch woodenly out of their tiny spaces to announce the time… or did they forecast the weather?

At any rate, this whole episode of faux race-baiting appears to fall into the same “I-am-a-famous-personality-famous-for-my-fame” genre: trifling “news” about trifling people whose narcissism is so insatiable it demands constant attention, no matter how deep the slime or how thin the reality. Isn’t there just one law in these cases: the “journalists” have to get the names spelled correctly? With a last name like Shetty, I suppose they have to be particularly careful.



Papa Ray said...

A taudry subject that you analyzed (examined?) very, very well.

Or did you just faux it?


Papa Ray
West Texas

X said...

Well, I don't know if you actually watched what was said to her but I think, personally, she was justified in having her "little fit". And that she's apologising for it, when Ms Goody is refusing to apologise for her behaviour, at least says something, don't you think? Granted, I don't watch big brother, but I do know that the contenstants have no idea of what's happening in the world outside, so this apology is almost certainly genuine. Why can't you accept that?

X said...

Though, having said that, I agree it's a publicity stunt. But then, celebrity reality tv always is. So what's news? :)

Chieftain of Seir said...

My only problem is when Dymphna criticizes some poor blokes for needing a shave. Shaving is so effeminate, don't you know?

I won't throw a hissy fit, but I will thump my chest…….

Dymphna said...

Well, I guess one can't win them all.

A few Christmases or birthdays ago, the Baron gave me a coffee mug with John Derbyshire's picture on it. It also bore the legend:


(The Baron knows my sentiments)

So maybe I shouldn't expound on a subject or area that I avoid as much as possible. Writing on parts of the culture that make one's skin crawl tends to make the essay a bit lopsided.

I stand corrected for my utterances.

X said...

I just realised it's really been a bad couple of weeks for people getting worked up at your and Baron's posts here.

I certainly agree with the mug, for what it's worth. It's just that, with so many things, the initial assessment of a story is never as clear-cut as people would like to think. Goody is an out and out foul-mouthed bint who's only famous because she got on big brother a few years ago, and her mother is no better,. Shilpa is obviously a self-promoting actress (now there's an oxymoron...) who probably got a little of what she deserved, then a lot of what she didn't, but managed to be fairly sanguine about it. However you look at it, this shouldn't be headline news. It shouldn't even be news at all.

And poor Dirk Benedict isn't even getting a look-in.

Don't apologise, Dymphna. I wasn't demanding or expecting it, I was merely making it known how I felt. :)

melonie said...

The BB programme and this particular controversy (pah!) are not newsworthy at all, except that the reaction to it far outweighed any reaction to the controversial content of the Dispatches programme. Oh wait, there wasn't a reaction to that programme.

What fops we have become.