Much to my surprise I’m still enjoying Celebrity Big Brother. I even caught myself thinking it might be fun to be in the house, but in truth I couldn’t hack it because I have a strong aversion to wasting my time with people with dodgy politics (e.g. Jonathan Lockhart). So I would have had to spit on Pete Burns over his allegedly gorilla fur coat (I’m not convinced, especially as I can’t see him coping with a five year prison sentence) even though he is very entertaining indeed.
The bigger problem is George Galloway. As Nick Cohen wrote in the Observer, ‘he’s a walking Hitler-Stalin pact’. The danger is that he presents himself as a nice bloke – offering the kind of good company you’d enjoy in the pub – who is making a principled stance against the war. That he’s teetotal , isn’t the only factor scotching that image. His celebrity comes from offering succour to Saddam Hussein and exploiting racism and anti-Semitism to win election. The good news is that while Galloway is making speeches inside the Big Brother house, none are making it to air because Channel 4 don’t want to fined by Ofcom. So while I couldn’t take being in the house with him, the thought of Galloway spending three weeks grandstanding to what he imagines is a huge new audience, but is actually just a couple of minor celebs, is quietly amusing.
Update 11 Jan: Galloway is first up for eviction, competing against Jodie Marsh and Pete Burns. But more interestingly he was allowed to spout nonsense on last night’s highlights show and claim that Saddam Hussein was a popular leader, who only oppressed political opponents (with surgical torture, for example). So that’s all right then. (Although I don’t see how that justifies the chemical attack on Halabja that killed 5,000 or the devastation of the Marsh Arabs whose population fell from 250,000 to 40,000 following a campaign of torture, executions and disappearances.)
So if I were in the house I’d want him out. But as a viewer, I want him in because his moral outrage at other’s sex talk, belief in his own superiority and occasional bullying is very entertaining (plus he’s politically neutralised).
Update: Celebrity Big Brother continues… keep Galloway where he can do no harm!
Related: Iraq war: doing some good
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