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Bollywood Vs Bigots on UKs Big Brother
January 17, 2007 9:43 PM   Subscribe

The UKs Celebrity Big Brother provokes a diplomatic incident after bullying and alleged racism in the Big Brother house. At the center of the furor are Shilpa Shetty, massive bollywood film star, and Jade Goody, a previous Big Brother content famous for being a previous big brother contestant and her odd views on geography. Both Jade and Shetty are now up for eviction, with the formerly popular Jade being widely expected to be evicted. She could face trouble on the outside, where already an anti-bullying charity she represents has dropped her. Meanwhile Shetty has become favorite to win.
posted by Artw (136 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
From Shetty's bio:

"Shilpa Shetty laughs a lot when she was young. She still laughs most of the time. According to Shilpa's mother (Sunanda), Shilpa was a naughty child and was called a "fightercock" as she mostly fought with her younger sister (Shamita)."

Que pasa?

Anyway, she hawt and I gotta show my brownies some love.
posted by liquorice at 9:46 PM on January 17, 2007


Thats should of course be:

At the center of the furor are Shilpa Shetty, massive bollywood film star, and Jade Goody, a previous Big Brother content famous for being a previous big brother contestant and her odd views on geography.
posted by Artw at 9:54 PM on January 17, 2007


WTF? Let's try again...

At the center of the furor are Shilpa Shetty, massive bollywood film star, and Jade Goody, a previous Big Brother content famous for being a previous big brother contestant and her odd views on geography.
posted by Artw at 9:55 PM on January 17, 2007


Wow - I never would have thought that reality TV would attract such stupid, fucking ignorant, fuckwits. Oh, well.
posted by strawberryviagra at 10:12 PM on January 17, 2007


IF (ratings2007 < ratings2006) THEN fuckwits++
posted by dhartung at 10:23 PM on January 17, 2007 [4 favorites]


that noise you keep hearing is orwell spinning in his grave
posted by pyramid termite at 10:24 PM on January 17, 2007


From the Guardian: The complaints were further fuelled when Tweed was reported as calling Shetty a "Paki". Channel 4 insists that in fact the word he used, which was bleeped out, was "cunt".
posted by Partial Law at 10:26 PM on January 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm still stuck on that ick Leo Sayer bailing because he didn't want to wash his own nasty underwear...
posted by miss lynnster at 10:32 PM on January 17, 2007


This TV thing you speak of? I seriously doubt that it'll catch on, as it seems quite lame.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:36 PM on January 17, 2007


The fact that something like this show is taken so seriously is almost as funny as reading Doctor Who discussion forums with all of the ranting about how it and Torchwood are tools to further the gay agenda.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 10:37 PM on January 17, 2007


Germaine Greer's take on the face bleaching. It's not just the women though, men like to be fair and handsome too.
posted by tellurian at 10:38 PM on January 17, 2007


I'm still stuck on that ick Leo Sayer bailing because he didn't want to wash his own nasty underwear...

ah ... so THAT'S what happened to him
posted by pyramid termite at 10:42 PM on January 17, 2007


The fact that something like this show is taken so seriously

Or even considered interesting, for that matter...
posted by doctor_negative at 10:52 PM on January 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is this something I'd need an underdeveloped forebrain to understand?
posted by loquacious at 11:45 PM on January 17, 2007


The complaints were further fuelled when Tweed was reported as calling Shetty a "Paki". Channel 4 insists that in fact the word he used, which was bleeped out, was "cunt".

The word 'cunt' doesnt have quite the same power in the UK as it does in the USA though. A US equivalent might be calling someone an 'asshole' as opposed to calling them a 'nigger'.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:16 AM on January 18, 2007


The complaints were further fuelled when Tweed was reported as calling Shetty a "Paki". Channel 4 insists that in fact the word he used, which was bleeped out, was "cunt".

Funny how you can hear a clear 'ee' sound at the end of the offending word. The lying bastards.
posted by influx at 12:25 AM on January 18, 2007


Jade Goody sparks an international incident. Kill her now.
posted by fire&wings at 12:26 AM on January 18, 2007


From the Guardian link: Later, glamour model Danielle Lloyd, talking to Goody, said that the Bollywood star should "fuck off home."

Tangent: Is it really that acceptable to print the word "fuck" so casually in the mainstream UK media? Because here in the States, dropping F-bombs on unsuspecting civilians could cost you loads of cash in punitive fines while dropping bomb-bombs on unsuspecting civilians gets you promoted. Or re-elected. What a fucking country.

I blame the fucking Puritans.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:59 AM on January 18, 2007


Is it really that acceptable to print the word "fuck" so casually in the mainstream UK media?

Yes. You'll get the occassional 'cunt' too, depending on the paper. Ironically the ones most likely to alter those to f*** and c*** are the tabloids, who otherwise revolve around them.
posted by vbfg at 1:08 AM on January 18, 2007


The word 'cunt' doesnt have quite the same power in the UK as it does in the USA though. A US equivalent might be calling someone an 'asshole' as opposed to calling them a 'nigger'.

I agree that it doesn't have quite the same level of taboo here as in the US, but it's still the most taboo of all the swearwords. I would say the main difference here is that we're capable of using it as a term of endearment.
posted by vbfg at 1:11 AM on January 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I am not pretending to be thick is the only interesting or sensible thing Jade Goody has ever said.
posted by Mocata at 1:14 AM on January 18, 2007


'While most of the UK has been up in arms about the Celebrity Big Brother racism row, the TV industry believes it is exactly the "shot in the arm" that the series required,' trumpets Broadcast Now.
posted by motty at 1:19 AM on January 18, 2007


I had to laugh when I saw a newspaper (well, a tabloid rag) with a typically sensationalist headline: Jade Starts World War 3

mkay. Perhaps we should just truss her (and her mum) up and give her to the baying lynch mobs in India; no great loss to us as a nation, and judging by the morbid fascination everyone had with Saddam's hanging, seeing Jade being ripped apart into itty-bitty pieces would make great television!
posted by Chunder at 1:27 AM on January 18, 2007


I enjoy big brother. I also enjoy people who post on a message board trying to be all superior by posting about their exalted tastes and disdain for pop culture. On a message board. LOL!

This particular season is even more interesting because rarely do you get to see full on bullying and racism from an outsider perspective. Jade is being a amazingly vicious bully with her two giggling followers, Jo from S club and Danielle Lloyd from I fuck a footballer. You also get to see people like Duck Benedict and Cleo trying to say it isn't racism because somehow, despite being outside the conflict, a charge of racism threatens them (perhaps because they just stand aside and let it happen in an environment where they can't feel someone else should do something - there is nobody else - so much for the A Team). Then there is Jermainman who after years of dealing with being hounded for his brother's behavior can just serenely float above it and advises Shilpa to do the same. I've never been on the receiving end of that kind of hostility. Nor have I ever been around while it was being dished out. It's easy to dismiss bullying as something trivial when you don't see it but when you see Jade raging full on at Shilpa there just isn't any dismissal possible. Danielle and Joe giggling shows just how prepared people are to follow along in a vicious attack.

I am curious if Jade will still be a spokesperson for Iceland.co.uk or anything else after showing just how rotten she is. Maybe the BNP will 'ave 'er. I suspect this will destroy her ability to parley celebrity into cash. Jo and Danielle likewise must be inducing shudders in their management agencies. I doubt any apologetic spin tour can undo this glimpse into who they are.

I've also enjoyed watching Leo Sayer run from talk show to talk show trying pathetically to rehab his image and then at the very end mentioning his upcoming single while completely avoiding mentioning that he is the leader of the underpants gnomes.
posted by srboisvert at 1:41 AM on January 18, 2007


The best part of last night's episode was when Danielle was in the diary room apologising, when 5 minutes earlier (in TV terms, which is all that matters), she'd been mindlessly giggling at everything Jade was saying. I don't see how anyone with even a mild interest in human behaviour (which is everyone) can not watch this to try to figure out what the fuck is going on.

The Leo Sayer thing (skip to 2 minutes in if you must)
posted by cillit bang at 1:45 AM on January 18, 2007


I am curious if Jade will still be a spokesperson for Iceland.co.uk or anything else after showing just how rotten she is.

That's Kerry Katona. Do keep up.
posted by cillit bang at 1:45 AM on January 18, 2007


This is all I have to say re: Ms. Goody.

This is what the viewing public wanted. There is no one else to blame for this than the fucking idiots who switch on to watch Big Brother, year after year after year. Channel 4 is laughing all the way to the bank. The people who watch this drivel have no right to be upset.

The only joy I will take out of this is when Goody and her ilk finally come out of the house and realise that they have lost all their sponsorship deals and have been labelled racists by the public and media.
posted by slimepuppy at 1:51 AM on January 18, 2007


I'm not really a fan of reality TV, but the last two series of UK celebrity Big Brother have been excellent.

And while they have both been pretty unedifying spectacles, they have served to 'expose' hypocrites and bullies like George Galloway and Jade Goody.

The other two bullies are small fry, and will be most probably be hung out to dry, but Jade has a lot of money invested in her, and it will be interesting to see how far C4, Endemol and the other investors try to redeem her.
posted by johnny novak at 2:11 AM on January 18, 2007


I enjoy big brother. I also enjoy people who post on a message board trying to be all superior by posting about their exalted tastes and disdain for pop culture. On a message board. LOL!

There's sitting in a house watching other people sitting in a house, and then there's communicating with people from all over the world who are also communicating with people from all over the world. There's slightly more of a difference there than perceived sadness / dorkiness.
posted by vbfg at 2:23 AM on January 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Is it really that acceptable to print the word "fuck" so casually in the mainstream UK media?

The Guardian is by far the most relaxed national UK newspaper about this (that is to say, it treats its readers like adults)
posted by primer_dimer at 2:37 AM on January 18, 2007


For joe lisboa:

The Guardian: fuck and cunt.

The Independent: fuck and cunt

The Financial Times: fuck and cunt.

As far as I know it is the policy of the Murdoch and Associated Press papers not to print it. Same for the Telegraph.
posted by ninebelow at 2:41 AM on January 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


If anyone outwith the UK wants to see the catalyst of World War 3, it's all on Youtube. Puts Gavrillo Princip in the shade.
posted by fire&wings at 2:42 AM on January 18, 2007


Her bullying is sick, but - having just read about her upbringing - I can't blame Goody for her ignorance. Not knowing what asparagus is isn't shameful - and it's admirable to come out and say you don't know in order to learn.
posted by jb at 3:08 AM on January 18, 2007


You guys are the fucking best! I've always held that the world would be a better place if everyone took a greater interest in the customs of other cuntries. Kudos, ninebelow and all.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:13 AM on January 18, 2007


Not sure why I should care about any of this, or why anyone would watch a "reality" show? Isn't what we all experience every day, reality? I refuse to watch any of this idiosy, and the only explanation I have is the burning desire to be "on TV". Apparently many people view being "on TV" as the modern spititual experience that will somehow change their lives? It sure ain't MY reality...help!
posted by GreyFoxVT at 3:26 AM on January 18, 2007


Th show is absolutely hilarious. And yes, after 9pm, pretty much anything goes except the C-word. I was so confused why Davina (the host of the live evictions) always said to the contestants "You're live on Channel 4, please do not swear" even after 9pm... she just didn't want them saying cunt. Fuck and shit are fine, just not cunt. Weird.

As for the racist allegations? I just don't see it. Shilpa's a control freak. Understandably, this annoys some of the housemates. NOT understandably, said housemates *lose their fucking minds* about it. It's insane. People really need to stop overlooking Danielle's part in all this - it started with her. When she was hammered the other night she called Shilpa a dog, for the love of crap. Yeah, most of it is probably just trying to impress Jade (my god, WHY?), but everyone's really focusing on Jade's part in this and ignoring Danielle. It was so funny to see Danielle get called into the diary room last night, and she realized "Oh shit... I forgot that people are actually going to be watching what I'm doing in here, and that it might not reflect well on me in the outside world". I'm looking forward to seeing tonight's show where Danielle tries to "make Shilpa feel better" - even better will be when her footballer boyfriend dumps her ass after seeing how ridiculous she's been in the house. Before, sure, she was young and pretty but dumb, but she's really gone over the top now.
posted by antifuse at 3:37 AM on January 18, 2007


I've watched BB for the last couple of nights, to see what the fuss was about. Ordinarily, I avoid it like the plague. So I guess that the controversy is helping the broadcaster drive up ratings, and that's usually all that broadcasters are interested in.

On the question of racism, I'd say that it's borderline. I think that it's more a case of English women hunting in packs, as is so evident to anybody that's been out drinking at the weekend in a city-centre pub during the last decade. These gangs of women can be very scary when they smell weakness. I've personally seen some very nasty fights, not just in terms of insults, but also real violence. The fight last night was a classic example that, I'm absolutely certain, would have ended up with somebody getting badly beaten if the cameras hadn't been there.
posted by veedubya at 4:05 AM on January 18, 2007


Geez, one of the people involved is an ex S Club 7 singer. I was quite fond of them when I was younger. Not any more...

*hears childhood shattering*
posted by divabat at 4:12 AM on January 18, 2007


meh.
posted by moonbird at 4:34 AM on January 18, 2007


So wait, is this like a celebrity edition of Big Brother or something? Have they run out of people in England this season so they're switching to people who are already technically "famous?"
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:46 AM on January 18, 2007


spititual ... yes.
posted by strawberryviagra at 4:53 AM on January 18, 2007


XQUZYPHYR, in the UK celebrity really, really does not equal famous.

And yeah, they alternate between normal big brother and celebrity. Pretty soon they'll have the rotation sorted so that big brother will run constantly throughout the year and people can finally give up on their own lives completely and live it by proxy.
posted by slimepuppy at 4:59 AM on January 18, 2007


Is Germaine Greer's piece a joke or is she serious? It reads like: "Shilpa likes to read quietly on the sofa. It's a perfect ploy to infuriate the other girls. Shilpa likes to cook, to provoke the other girls into racist taunts". What? Oh OK Germaine, I see. Basically you hate her as well because she's very attractive and you're an ugly old obnoxious trout. And, oh yeah, most Indian restaurants in Britiain are "Sylheti". When was the last time she had an Indian? Fucking pretentious pseudo-intellectual bitch.
posted by snoktruix at 5:23 AM on January 18, 2007


Anybody know where I could find a duck? I have a fine new hat.
posted by flabdablet at 5:57 AM on January 18, 2007


Germaine Greer's article is utter shit.
posted by influx at 6:12 AM on January 18, 2007


I'm waiting for the Doctor Who style Big Brother where the losing contestants get killed with a death ray.
posted by unreason at 6:25 AM on January 18, 2007


So wait, is this like a celebrity edition of Big Brother or something? Have they run out of people in England this season so they're switching to people who are already technically "famous?"

It's more complex than that. In this edition of Celebrity Big Brother, one of the central celebrities, Jade Goody, found fame by previously appearing on the non-celebrity edition of Big Brother. Endemol love this sort of meta wankery - the last CBB was won by a woman previously employed as a Paris Hilton impersonator, who was tasked with tricking her genuinely famous housemates that she was an established pop star. I am not making this up.

As for the racism, I'm not convinced that's what's going on at all - Goody, who is mixed race herself, was (unbelievably) eloquent on the reasons for her dislike of Shetty, which basically boils down to the latter being a stuck up snob who treats the women accused of racism like uppity servants - referring to Jade as 'from the gutter', shouting that she needs elocution lessons. Goody also made the good point that, given her fanbase, Shetty should think twice before mocking people for being poor and uneducated. And it's worth bearing in mind that, when Goody rose to fame, she received an absolute battering from the press and public, which was based entirely on class (with a decent smattering of misogyny, and, ironically, a soupçon of racism - her 'piggy' nose was often mentioned, which, considering her late father was black, is pretty fucking dodgy). So, as per usual, it's all about class, perhaps with a racial component.

Even Danielle Disgraced Miss Great Britain's 'back home' outburst was tempered by the fact that, when challenged, she seemed to be unaware that it's a stock racist taunt, instead focussing on how rude she'd been to suggest that anyone should leave the sacred environs of the CBB house. She's definitely guilty of being dim enough to look up to Goody, and joining in with your bog-standard playground bullying techniques.

Jo S Club 7 does, though, seem to be an outright racist.

Um, yeah, I really like Big Brother - telly snobs, suck it up.
posted by jack_mo at 6:28 AM on January 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Is that a parody of an anti-feminist idiot, snoktruix? I don't think Greer's article is much cop: it is muddled, covers too much ground and I don't like the way she presumes to speak for the British Asian community. The fact I disagree with her doesn't make her a bitch though.

Basically you hate her as well because she's very attractive and you're an ugly old obnoxious trout.

Greer was very attractive in her younger days and is hardly ugly now.
posted by ninebelow at 6:32 AM on January 18, 2007 [4 favorites]


Jade Goody, a previous Big Brother content famous for being a previous big brother contestant and her odd views on geography.

and her big hooters and penchant for public nudity.
posted by jonmc at 6:39 AM on January 18, 2007


I heard that Jade Goody isn't mixed race, or at least that her paternity's unknown.
posted by Mocata at 6:39 AM on January 18, 2007


when Goody rose to fame, she received an absolute battering from the press and public, which was based entirely on class

And her own willful ignorance didn't help.
posted by slimepuppy at 6:44 AM on January 18, 2007


Man, this reminds me of elementary school (like ~5/6 grade) girls fighting to be 'alpha girls'. I suppose it happens in all grades depending on the intellectual capability of the people involved. Maybe, these people, Jade and Danielle just haven't progressed intellectually at all, past childhood.

If you're going to attack someone, you want to use the meanest language you can. It dosn't mean that the people are racist, just that they're bitches.

The word 'cunt' doesnt have quite the same power in the UK as it does in the USA though.

My impression was that cunt was worse in the UK then in the US, relative to other terms, but that swearing was not as big of a deal overall.

that noise you keep hearing is orwell spinning in his grave

Have you actually read 1984?
posted by delmoi at 6:48 AM on January 18, 2007


I suppose it happens in all grades depending on the intellectual capability of the people involved.

I don't know if 'intellectual capability' has anything to do with it. Smart people can be as big assholes as dumb people. High IQ is not a vaccination against human foibles.
posted by jonmc at 6:50 AM on January 18, 2007


Shetty is just another Brahman wanna be, the Geer idea that it's an act is bullshit. I met one once and he was just the same. QED.
posted by econous at 7:08 AM on January 18, 2007


To suggest the differences are 'cultural' is a particularly unpleasant piece of doublespeak.

There is clearly racism at play here, including the constant sniping at cultural differences, the mocking of the Indian accent, suggestions that 'she go back to were she came from'.

The show's main sponsor has now pulled out and there have been 30,000 official complaints about the show to the regulator, making it by far the most complained about show in UK history.
posted by johnny novak at 7:15 AM on January 18, 2007


If you're going to attack someone, you want to use the meanest language you can. It dosn't mean that the people are racist, just that they're bitches.

Right. We call it M.R.S.-- Michael Richards Syndrome.
posted by JT at 7:24 AM on January 18, 2007


A piece from Hari Kunzru who talks about what he sees as racist behaviour.
posted by johnny novak at 7:24 AM on January 18, 2007


Have you actually read 1984?

read it? ... i lived through it!
posted by pyramid termite at 7:27 AM on January 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


So wait, is this like a celebrity edition of Big Brother or something?

Yes. In the UK, they do a "regular" (normal schmoes off the street) Big Brother in the summer, and a "celebrity" (mostly C-list, at the highest) Big Brother in the winter.

basically boils down to the latter being a stuck up snob who treats the women accused of racism like uppity servants

Umm, except that Shilpa really isn't acting like that. Yes, she told Jade that she needs elocution lessons, which is frankly true. I couldn't understand half of her crazy rant last night. But Shilpa's the one doing all the cooking, after all. I don't see Shilpa going around the house ordering other housemates to do housework. And all the three stooges have been doing for the last 3 days is criticize her cooking while they sat around doing nothing.
posted by antifuse at 7:28 AM on January 18, 2007


Maybe, these people, Jade and Danielle just haven't progressed intellectually at all, past childhood

I bring you... Jade Goody asking big brother about Eskimos. Incredibly.

My impression was that cunt was worse in the UK then in the US, relative to other terms, but that swearing was not as big of a deal overall.

Definitely not the case. People will use cunt quite regularly in the UK, but you'll almost never hear it in the states, unless people are being particularly nasty.
posted by antifuse at 7:30 AM on January 18, 2007


"Shilpa likes to read quietly on the sofa. It's a perfect ploy to infuriate the other girls."

Reminds me of a Bill Hicks routine about reading a book while at IHOP somewhere in the South... "well well, looks like we got ourselves a reader!"
posted by clevershark at 7:39 AM on January 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


Goody, who is mixed race herself, was (unbelievably) eloquent on the reasons for her dislike of Shetty, which basically boils down to the latter being a stuck up snob who treats the women accused of racism like uppity servants - referring to Jade as 'from the gutter', shouting that she needs elocution lessons. Goody also made the good point that, given her fanbase, Shetty should think twice before mocking people for being poor and uneducated. And it's worth bearing in mind that, when Goody rose to fame, she received an absolute battering from the press and public, which was based entirely on class (with a decent smattering of misogyny, and, ironically, a soupçon of racism - her 'piggy' nose was often mentioned, which, considering her late father was black, is pretty fucking dodgy). So, as per usual, it's all about class, perhaps with a racial component.

All that came after a couple of days of sustained bullying from Jade. Before that it was just Jade pumping up the most trivial grievances and working herself into a confrontational lather. Class isn't the explanation because then Jade would be going after Jermaine, Dirk and maybe Cleo as well. It's just some of the ammunition she is using in making her case for a war of choice. She picked Shilpa for a reason and I don't think it was grocery orders or that Shilpa took charge during the group's unanimous nomination of Carol. She picked Shilpa because she was a true outsider. Not one of "us". Part of it likely stems from her mother's eviction which followed shortly after a clear example of all out ignorant racism (impressively done by a handicapped bisexual recovered drug addict former prostitute and thief proving that no matter how low you have been you can still find occasion to kick someone else). Picking up the racist flag and continuing the charge out of maternal loyalty is still racism.

Shilpa cried when she was made part of the "family" and the rest of the house mates were made into servants. She even got into it with Jade's mother over the bossy treatment of the "servants". Jade didn't seem to have much of a problem with it. Perhaps because class isn't really an issue for her...until it is convenient.

The major effort to avoid calling it racism here and in a lot of the editorial press is also evident in the house where Dirk and Cleo repeatedly tell Shilpa that it isn't racism. Funny that it comes from the white neutral house mates who do zilch to intervene. Shilpa knows what is going on but her house mates need to redefine it so they can feel comfortable letting it happen.
posted by srboisvert at 7:47 AM on January 18, 2007


Jesus H Christ on a bike. That eskimo clip is remarkable.
posted by handee at 7:48 AM on January 18, 2007


btw, if I decide to use the word 'cunt' as a term of endearment on here and get moderated for it I'm going to call anti-British racism on you.
posted by vbfg at 7:55 AM on January 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


she seemed to be unaware that it's a stock racist taunt,

Oh please. She was well aware of it. You didn't really believe that crap she was spewing in the diary room? She's not only a racist, but a coward as well.
posted by ClarissaWAM at 8:03 AM on January 18, 2007


She does raise a lot of interesting questions about Eskimos.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:23 AM on January 18, 2007


I think we now need an AskMe question:

"Why don't eskimos turn into ice-a-cubes?"

Hahaha.

This is the first time I've even had the slightest interest in Big Brother, so I guess Channel 4 are reasonably happy about it in a way. I would also put money on there being more votes this week than any other in the entire history of BB.

It'll also be interesting to see what proportion of voters support Jade over Shilpa in this week's eviction.
posted by knapah at 8:24 AM on January 18, 2007


"go back home?"

Racially, anyone looking at Jade and at me would group us togther. However, I happen to be from America. Do you really doubt that if she got angry with me I'd also get told to go the hell back home?

Being narrow-minded and parochial isn't terribly attractive, but it isn't ipso facto racism.
posted by tyllwin at 8:26 AM on January 18, 2007


Shetty is just another Brahman wanna be, the Geer idea that it's an act is bullshit. I met one once and he was just the same. QED.

What are you talking about? Brahman is Hinduism's supreme god. Unless of course you meant brahmin, in which case you're still talking utter rubbish.


... and there have been 30,000 official complaints about the show to the regulator, making it by far the most complained about show in UK history.

No. That accolade goes to Jerry Springer: The Opera, which received somewhere in the region of 60,000 complaints.
posted by Talvalin at 8:33 AM on January 18, 2007


On a (sort of) related note, a story that could have been written especially for MeFi: "Next time call him a fat bastard and don't say anything about his colour.".
posted by veedubya at 8:35 AM on January 18, 2007


Being narrow-minded and parochial isn't terribly attractive, but it isn't ipso facto racism.

There were other, more inflammatory statements from Jade and the Coven of Evil, such as the suggestion that Indian women were thin because their cooking gave them diarrhoea (c.f. Shilpa cooking chicken for the house and Jade screaming that it was undercooked). Statements were also made about Indian people eating with their hands and god only knew where their hands have been.
posted by Talvalin at 8:38 AM on January 18, 2007


God, Big Fucking Brother. It's been all over the BBC for days, and I've tried to ignore it but I just spent 20 minutes reading about it before coming here. It's a huge ratings boon for the show despite the fact that they've lost a sponsor because of this. When the most prominent politicians in the country are talking about it, then the show has done well. I have to say that I do think this is racist, for the reasons that Talvalin gives.
posted by ob at 8:46 AM on January 18, 2007


And Jack called her a "fucking paki."
posted by fire&wings at 8:49 AM on January 18, 2007


Everyone pay very close attention, now. If you're very still, you can actually feel our cultural relevance over here in America rising, ever-so-slowly.
posted by koeselitz at 9:05 AM on January 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm enjoying the tabloid headlines. I'm not in UK/Ireland, but CBB is certainly hilariously entertaining when you look at all the youtube highlights linked here.

a clear example of all out ignorant racism (impressively done by a handicapped bisexual recovered drug addict former prostitute and thief

!! What? Which celebrity is this?
posted by jamesonandwater at 9:29 AM on January 18, 2007


Dirk Benedict
posted by ZippityBuddha at 9:33 AM on January 18, 2007


Which celebrity is this?

Jackiey Budden. Not so much a celebrity as the mum of an infamous former Big Brother contestant (Jade).
posted by ninebelow at 9:34 AM on January 18, 2007


Is that a parody of an anti-feminist idiot, snoktruix? I don't think Greer's article is much cop: it is muddled, covers too much ground and I don't like the way she presumes to speak for the British Asian community.

After seeing and reading a number of reviews and articles by Greer, I've come to the conclusion that - at least recently - she's deliberately taking outrageous positions so as to get attention. (For example, she criticised the film "Amelie" because it didn't show any beggars in Paris, and the film "Intimacy" because the male-lead wasn't good looking enough.) This smacks of the same - adopt a controversial decision and argue it despite a lack of evidence.
posted by outlier at 9:46 AM on January 18, 2007


Outlier - well, they had to replace Julie Burchill with someone.
posted by Artw at 9:49 AM on January 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I feel I should remind you all that you're all arguing passionately and in great detail about a fucking reality TV show.

(and MeFi is supposed to be such a bastion of intellect)
posted by jonmc at 9:54 AM on January 18, 2007


I don't have cable but when I do watch TV I'm like a flounder or some shit. Bottom of the barrel, please and thank you. If you want the best in club fisted, blank eyed subhuman zoo action, you need to see the Real World Denver. I mean, this Big Brother shit sounds wicked dumb but I think we here in the states have dumb locked down; like hogged out dumb, dumb that's had its limits pushed and gaped and stretched to the point where TV here is a floppy, yawning cavern of fucking dumb. It wasn't even half a season but for one dude (a gay Christian, at that) dropped the N-bomb on this season's Real World and wasn't even asked to leave.

What's up, UK? Who's fucking dumb, now?

WOOOT WOOOOT WOOOOT.
posted by The Straightener at 10:00 AM on January 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurn!

Thanks jonmc.
posted by Mister_A at 10:00 AM on January 18, 2007


I don't have cable but when I do watch TV I'm like a flounder or some shit. Bottom of the barrel, please and thank you.

Hell, me too. But I gotta draw the line somewhere. Gimme Green Acres and Sanford & Son reruns over this shit. Unless of course, there's unblurred female nudity. I'll sit through just about anything for that.
posted by jonmc at 10:03 AM on January 18, 2007


Shit, I'll watch Maury if I can get in front of a TV for it. You can't tell me there's something wrong with watching a man take it to the bridge like James Brown when he finds out it ain't his baby. No, no. You can share in that kind of joy; feel it down in your feet, keep you going all day, puts a little spring in your step.
posted by The Straightener at 10:12 AM on January 18, 2007


I guess I'm not missing much by keeping my TV switched off most nights.
posted by clevershark at 10:25 AM on January 18, 2007


Big Brother UK is by far the best Big Brother that I have seen in comparison to other country's versions. That is mostly due to the presenters (Davina, Dermot and the borderline amusing Russell) and the Big Brother voice, as well as the fact that Channel4 tend to get the level of tabloid stupidity right. In general I now watch the Big Brain and Big Mouth programmes rather than BB itself, kind of like reading Metatalk and avoiding the blue. I have never watched CBB as the participants are more unbearable than the usual BB eejits and I have not watched BB properly for two years.
It is certainly interesting listening to psychologists discussing the goings on, which we don't get enough of. It is also interesting to watch the group dynamics and see what shenanigans a bunch of narcicist morons get up to. Certainly on a par with most of the recently made TV dramas, aimed squarely at the lowest common denominaotr as they are.
posted by asok at 10:48 AM on January 18, 2007


denominaotr demon hater.
posted by asok at 10:49 AM on January 18, 2007


Big Brother UK is by far the best Big Brother that I have seen in comparison to other country's versions.

I agree. The North American dissers (I was one before I moved here) have no clue how different the UK version is from their reality fare.

That said I find the intellectual elites who have dropped in here to spray their brain musk on the thread damned attractive. If there ever is a great big mefi meetup I will try and sleep with each and every one of them.
posted by srboisvert at 10:57 AM on January 18, 2007


If there ever is a great big mefi meetup I will try and sleep with each and every one of them.

I'm flattered, but I'm spoken for.
posted by jonmc at 11:03 AM on January 18, 2007


One amazing aspect of the UK news coverage is omitting to mention that each Big Brother show is actually a summary of the day before's events. Thus when they report what happened "yesterday" in the Big Brother house, they only mean what happened on TV last night. Our news shows are reporting what happened on TV last night as news. What a wonderful time to be alive.
posted by cillit bang at 11:39 AM on January 18, 2007


All that came after a couple of days of sustained bullying from Jade. Before that it was just Jade pumping up the most trivial grievances and working herself into a confrontational lather. Class isn't the explanation because then Jade would be going after Jermaine, Dirk and maybe Cleo as well. It's just some of the ammunition she is using in making her case for a war of choice. She picked Shilpa for a reason and I don't think it was grocery orders or that Shilpa took charge during the group's unanimous nomination of Carol. She picked Shilpa because she was a true outsider. Not one of "us".

Yeah, that's a good point - it's xenophobia. None of the racist contingent have said anything untoward about or to Jermaine Jackson, because he's American, and therefore relatively 'normal'. But class still comes into it in a big way - Dirk and Jermaine are completely 'classless' in a British context and when compared to Shilpa, who basically looks at everyone she perceives as being 'from the gutter' like shit on her shoe.

I dunno why I'm defending the three of them, really - Miss Great Britain and S Club are probably racist, to whatever degree, Jade Goody isn't, I think; all three are horrid little bullies.

ClarissaWAM writes 'Oh please. She was well aware of it. You didn't really believe that crap she was spewing in the diary room?'

Yeah, you're right - I just saw that clip on the news, and had completely misinterpreted it when I saw it first on the show.
posted by jack_mo at 11:48 AM on January 18, 2007


On not-preview:

Our news shows are reporting what happened on TV last night as news. What a wonderful time to be alive.

Even better, Jon Snow on the Channel 4 News was just joking about the fact he was interviewing a reporter from an Indian TV news programme about what she thought of what happened on British TV last night.
posted by jack_mo at 11:50 AM on January 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was just talking to someone about Shilpa Shetty's career being in the toliet -- could there be better proof? She is hardly Scarlett Johansen. 51 movies in 13 years is pretty standard, most of those were B-movies, and beautiful though she is, she is not beautiful enough for Bollywood -- 32 is a little long in the tooth.

Consequently she is looking for work in the Western world. She gets herself on a show with some famously dim bulbs, where interpersonal drama is the whole point. How dumb would she have to be not to effect exactly what happened if she could?
posted by Methylviolet at 12:04 PM on January 18, 2007


Wait a minute. "Paki" is a racist slur? Is it pronounced like I think it is?

Zounds. Note to self: find new moniker for liquor stores when not in Massachusetts. Failing that, get Channel 4 to vouch for me.
posted by Mayor West at 12:06 PM on January 18, 2007


This comes up all the time; 'paki' is inarguably a derogatory term in the UK, but, apparently, not in the US.

There's been various reports today (touched on by Jon Snow on C4 News) that Jade today started calling her 'shilpoppadom'. Which pretty much nails it I think. She's a disgusting, bigoted cretin, and if there's any morality left in British public life, she's finished, thank christ.
posted by influx at 12:29 PM on January 18, 2007


Indeed "paki" is a racist slur in Britain. I've spoken to people who've argued that it isn't, their argument being that it's short for Pakistani, but that argument doesn't address the way or context in which the word is used, and the fact that it's used to describe anyone with dark skin who is not obviously of African origin. I'm not someone who's into political correctness but I find the word "paki" really quite disgusting.
posted by ob at 12:39 PM on January 18, 2007


By the way, Dirk Benedict is cool
posted by A189Nut at 12:52 PM on January 18, 2007


I think there should be an internet virtual reality show about this metafilter discussion...do you think I could get on TV if we started it...or on YouTube, oh that's right, YouTube is on the computer, not on the TV...where am I???
Are Amerikans really the dumbest, or are the Brits? I think AMERICANS should be the dumbest!! What do you think?
I think there should be a dumb contest, and I bet Americans would WIN! We're all about winning, and when it comes to dumb, I bet we would, don't you?
posted by GreyFoxVT at 12:59 PM on January 18, 2007


Paki is the British equivalent of the n-word in terms of offensiveness, but targeted towards Asians rather then Africans.
posted by delmoi at 1:12 PM on January 18, 2007


Yes, anyone who claims it isn't racist is lying, or an idiot, or both
posted by ZippityBuddha at 1:49 PM on January 18, 2007


Yes, anyone who claims it isn't racist is lying, or an idiot, or both

Yup, that sums up nicely the people that I've had that conversation with!
posted by ob at 2:21 PM on January 18, 2007


Yes, anyone who claims it isn't racist is lying, or an idiot, or both

Is anyone really saying that paki isn't a racist term? Other than people from Massachusettes who've only heard it as a term for a liquore store? The only conversation about it has been whether or not Jack actually said it.
posted by antifuse at 2:31 PM on January 18, 2007


No. That accolade goes to Jerry Springer: The Opera, which received somewhere in the region of 60,000 complaints.

55 thousand of those were before it aired mind you...
posted by Auz at 2:35 PM on January 18, 2007


I've also noticed that British people use 'Jap' quite casually and without intending offense, while as I don't think that would fly in the States.

What do I know though, I'm just a Fin.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:24 PM on January 18, 2007


Is anyone really saying that paki isn't a racist term?

Sorry, I was just replying to what ob had said, not specifically talking about Big Brother.
posted by ZippityBuddha at 3:54 PM on January 18, 2007


horrid little bullies.

Well said.

There was a debate on "Question Time" tonight and the panellists seemed united in the view that - No, this was not a true reflection of Britain.

I have news. Our classrooms, our workplaces, our streets are poisoned by these nasty, vicious bullies. They are all over the place. Really.

Wonderfully however, Big Brother is becoming a lesson in how these bullies can be beaten. Not everyone will be able to apply these lessons, but everyone will study - and learn.

There are other stories in the house though. Alchoholism seems to be one of them. Faith seems to be another. Let's hope that Faith wins.
posted by grahamwell at 5:00 PM on January 18, 2007


grahamwell: "Wonderfully however, Big Brother is becoming a lesson in how these bullies can be beaten."

Wait until they provoke an international incident with India, and then evict them from their homes?
posted by koeselitz at 5:02 PM on January 18, 2007


Yes, that would work.

They will be evicted.

They've lost.
posted by grahamwell at 5:27 PM on January 18, 2007


srboisvert writes "That said I find the intellectual elites who have dropped in here to spray their brain musk on the thread damned attractive. If there ever is a great big mefi meetup I will try and sleep with each and every one of them."

Oh, I get a huge, huge boner thinking about how much better you are than me for watching that show! In fact I'm so excited I have to go masturbate while being motivated by nothing but the mental picture of you watching CBB. Of course I've never met you so I'm going to have to make up a lot of the details.

Not watching TV doesn't necessarily make someone particularly interesting, but you have to remember that actually watching TV doesn't make you any more interesting than that either.
posted by clevershark at 7:23 PM on January 18, 2007


As a result of all this, production company Endemol's share price has soared, Channel 4's viewer ratings have gone up, and I can't help wondering whether or not organising a boycott of Channel 4 at this point wouldn't be about the only way to get the idea that this kind of thing is unacceptable through the thick skulls of people like Channel 4 boss Andy Duncan, who is apparently unable to say with certainty whether or not racism has been to do with this or not. Personally, I am able to say with certainty that I no longer wish to watch Channel 4.
posted by motty at 7:29 PM on January 18, 2007


A succinct take on reality TV by the defunct suck.com. OK, maybe they're not quite dead, they're merely on a 6-year sabbatical...
posted by clevershark at 7:33 PM on January 18, 2007


'paki' is inarguably a derogatory term in the UK, but, apparently, not in the US

And just to keep everyone on their toes, in Pakistan itself as well as India "Pak" (not "Paki") is a perfectly acceptable shorthand for the country, its government, its people, or even its sports teams.

Anyway, for anyone still a bit confused, this Sky News report puts it all in a box, including Tony Blair and Gordon Brown reacting, although it seems to skip over the whole slur question and Jade's boyfriend entirely, and I had the impression that was a rather important bit. It's quite 21st century surreal to have an international team of reporters on scene in Mumbai, Elston, and Westminster reporting on the goings on inside a TV show.
posted by dhartung at 8:13 PM on January 18, 2007


'paki' is inarguably a derogatory term in the UK, but, apparently, not in the US

it's not a term at all in the u s ... i have never heard it used here
posted by pyramid termite at 9:49 PM on January 18, 2007


Did you have a major wave of Pakistani imigration in the 1950s and 60s, primarily consisting of workers in the textile industry? That may be part of the difference.
posted by Artw at 10:03 PM on January 18, 2007


I don't think the word 'paki' is inherently racist. It's not in itself a derogatory term and I'm sure it began as a harmless contraction. It's just that when words have been used with some venom for at least forty years they can't help but acquire certain connotations. I doubt anybody but the British noticed at all when Bush used the term.
posted by vbfg at 1:20 AM on January 19, 2007


Not watching TV doesn't necessarily make someone particularly interesting, but you have to remember that actually watching TV doesn't make you any more interesting than that either.

That's true of course but I would add that announcing an opinion about a show you haven't even seen in a crowd of people discussing it makes a person fascinating.
posted by srboisvert at 2:31 AM on January 19, 2007


I'm not sure what the Indian or the British public who complained about the bullying want. Would anyone care as much if they harped on her for being fat (I know she isn't, but that never stopped bullies before)? Would there be complaints made to Ofcom?

People are jerks sometimes. It's up to every one of us to deal with it, racial slurs and all. It doesn't mean we need the government to get involved and tell us all to play nice.

Still, we're all right to feel disgusted with the racist b-words.
posted by inturnaround at 2:40 AM on January 19, 2007


I doubt anybody but the British noticed at all when Bush used the term.

Actually, at least where I grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, we knew quite well about paki as a racist term. But then, Mississauga has quite a large population of Pakistani, Indian, and other southern Asian immigrants, so perhaps that explains some of it.
posted by antifuse at 3:36 AM on January 19, 2007


Actually I do recall there being a bit of a fuss at the time, but even to someone who's familiar with the term as a form of racist abuse (I live in a town today more famous for its race riots rather than anything else) it did seem like a bit of manufactured controversy.
posted by vbfg at 4:24 AM on January 19, 2007


srboisvert writes "That's true of course but I would add that announcing an opinion about a show you haven't even seen in a crowd of people discussing it makes a person fascinating."

I did watch a couple of episodes of the British show, and while it is miles better than the American "BB-lite" crap that used to be on CBS it's still "reality TV" -- which is itself an absurd lie. When "reality" has strict artificial rules, a known set of cameras watching and a time limit, it's just not reality. I'd gladly put up with 10 other people's crap if it was only for 8 weeks (or whatever duration) and there was a million-dollar (or whatever other worth, like free publicity for what can be generously described as 'fading stars') carrot at the end of it.

The fact that you don't seem to see the producers' contempt towards you as a watcher evidenced in their decision to cast Jade Goody as a celebrity for no other reason than "she's been on big brother before" leads me to think that you and I couldn't possibly agree on this issue anyway.
posted by clevershark at 5:24 AM on January 19, 2007


The fact that you don't seem to see the producers' contempt towards you as a watcher evidenced in their decision to cast Jade Goody as a celebrity for no other reason than "she's been on big brother before" leads me to think that you and I couldn't possibly agree on this issue anyway.

They didn't. She was brought in as a special guest several days after the celebrities and it was very much implied she was there as a star of Big Brother rather than as a star in her own right.

Please don't comment on things you don't understand.
posted by cillit bang at 5:30 AM on January 19, 2007


clevershark, come on now, you're nitpicking on the chosen term for this kind of tv, 'reality' here obviously doesn't mean anything other than a convenient term to differentiate it from fully scripted tv fiction, series, etc. using professional actors.

No one in their right mind expects things like Big Brother, celebrity or regular version, to be a documentary about real life for ordinary people (nevermind that being on tv that would also be filtered reality, if we want to be reaaaally pedantic about it), or anything more than a display of narcissism, sillyness, stupidity, rivalry, mindless chatter, drunken behaviour, etc. by people who entered auditions to live for weeks in front of cameras for the sake of winning money, the entertainment comes from the fact it can be quite fun to watch, go figure.

Sure there's still people who take it more seriously and idolise this or that contestant, or draw ridiculous sociological conclusions from the behaviour of participants (rather than from public reactions to them, which are more interesting to observe), but you're underestimating the sadistic part that makes it addictive viewing, especially when it's the celebrity version. It's all about, how far will they go?

If you'd seen any of the 'commentary' programmes asok mentioned above it'd be quite clear. Even the presenters of those shows are taking the piss out of contestants all the time. In fact, the whole way BB is advertised in the UK revolves a lot around that attitude.

And that's why the 'oh lordy reality tv how crass' reaction is a little out of place. Or do you think people commenting here are getting passionate about this as if it was some high artistic achievement of human endeavour? Seriously?
posted by pleeker at 6:51 AM on January 19, 2007


Unless you're some kind of real star being a "celebrity" in the UK tends to mean being regarded as some kind of performing monkey. It's not really a position of respect. And by that measure Jade is very much a "real celebrity".

It gets interesting when people who don't know that celebrity in this context means "barely human degraded fool" end up on the show. Generally meaning various people who are out of the loop, like politicians and aging film directors, former real stars who are desperate enough for attention (which arguably brings them down to "cleb" status) and people who are Not From Around Here.

Such people are likely to feel they've been locked in a cage in a zoo with some particularly nasty animals. The clebs, on the other hand, will be desperately trying to figure out who these people are because they've not seen them in Heat or other C-lister cleb publications.
posted by Artw at 7:11 AM on January 19, 2007


The fact that you don't seem to see the producers' contempt towards you as a watcher evidenced in their decision to cast Jade Goody as a celebrity for no other reason than "she's been on big brother before" leads me to think that you and I couldn't possibly agree on this issue anyway.

Is this some sort of CBB mocking troll? Where the hell did the Goody decision and the producer contempt issue come from? Are you confusing me with somebody else here because I have never said a word about that. My beef was with the cocksmanship of showing up in a thread and just shitting on people with a contemptuous "You are all stupid to be talking about this" schtick like we were all deluded into thinking we were discussing some serious academic topic.

I might agree with you on an issue if you would actually stick to one.


I'd gladly put up with 10 other people's crap if it was only for 8 weeks (or whatever duration) and there was a million-dollar (or whatever other worth, like free publicity for what can be generously described as 'fading stars') carrot at the end of it.


I think you would be perfect for BB.

Big Brother Auditions:
Sat 6th March: Birmingham
UCE – Pavilion Suite
Moor Lane Pavilion
Moor Lane
Birmingham
B6 7AA

My wife and I have a spare room. Come on over.
posted by srboisvert at 8:45 AM on January 19, 2007


Jade is out of the house.
posted by Artw at 2:51 PM on January 19, 2007


Sometimes you;ve just got to love The Sun.

THE SUN SAYS: BIGOTRY BROTHER

Not very often, mind.
posted by Artw at 8:29 PM on January 19, 2007


Happened to be in England as this unfolded and took a gander to see what the fuss was about.... Shilpa struck me as monumentally arrogant and condescending and Jade was none too refined or restrained in relating those views... and Shilpa didn't address those points... and quickly tried to turn it around and make the argument about Jade being rude and crude... and that becomes an international uproar... complete with plenty of attention on the BBC World Service.

My sense was that Jade would have said what she said, independent of the other person's race or gender.

As someone noted, all this "racism" is played up in a huge way by tabloids like The Sun... which regularly fuel xenophobia in all sorts of ways.
posted by ambient2 at 10:15 PM on January 19, 2007


The Sun is just happy that they can bully Jade Goody now.
posted by jb at 2:51 AM on January 20, 2007


As one UK paper headline said today, Jade is a Bigot and a Bully and her career is going to suffer for her actions.

Reminds me of Gerald Ratner's comments "our products are crap" and the subsequent repercussions to his career.
posted by kissol at 8:37 AM on January 20, 2007


British society is dripping in racism, but no one is prepared to admit it
posted by tellurian at 2:56 PM on January 21, 2007


Urgh, that reminds me of a few of my friends who of course AREN'T RACIST (not that dirty word!) but will still call all aboriginals drunks who shouldn't be given any of "our land". But those are just facts, you see, not racial slurs. Oh, of course I forgot how fine that line is.
posted by liquorice at 3:12 PM on January 21, 2007


srboisvert: My wife and I have a spare room. Come on over. If cillit bang doesn't take you up on the spare room, can I use it?
posted by econous at 4:00 PM on January 21, 2007


?!
posted by cillit bang at 1:13 AM on January 22, 2007


srboisvert: My wife and I have a spare room. Come on over. If cillit bang doesn't take you up on the spare room, can I use it?

My hospitality is only extended to those who would never take me up on it.
posted by srboisvert at 8:04 AM on January 22, 2007


Sorry cillit bang, srboisvert was making the offer to clevershark not you. My bad.

Oh, come on srboisvert, I'll get drunk, hit on your wife, puke on the carpet and have a wet dream. It'll be fun! Email in the profile, I bet you can't wait.
posted by econous at 11:03 AM on January 22, 2007


Even better, is that Danielle has apparently lost her modelling contract, and Teddy's kicking her out, for her behaviour on the show. She's going out expecting a marriage proposal, and what she's going to get is kicked to the curb AND the unemployment line.
posted by antifuse at 2:45 AM on January 23, 2007


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