Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Is it just me?

Or is there something really crap about the Jonathan Ross/Russell Brand stupid phone call prank non-story.

For starters, there's the tens of thousands of people phoning up and complaining. What's that about? You didn't know anything about it until it was on the news. You didn't hear it. You probably don't even know who Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand are. So why the fuck are you complaining? "Oooh, it's terrible what them people said them other people did. I nivver herd it, but I'm right narked about it. Better complain, I had." Right. Marvellous. Go you!

These are probably the same people who were righteously indignant at Ayatollah Khomeini when he issued the fatwah against Salman Rushdie. "It's not like he'd actually read the book, after all. So how could he know it was rude about Islam?"

But that's not the thing that annoys me most about the whole situation. Not even close.

First off, what was it all about? Leaving stupid and insulting messages on the answering machine of Andrew Sachs, for God's sake. I mean, if you're going to play a prank, play it on someone deserving of the treatment. Phone of Mohammed Al Fayed and tell him you've been knicking stuff from Harrods, or pick on one of these self-important "celebrities" and prick their bubble a bit. You know the type, someone who's famous for no obvious reason. If you've got to make obscene phone calls, ring someone from Big Brother and call them a slapper.

Then there's the nature of the prank. As humour goes, it was a bit poor, really. But then I really don't get Russell Brand. Not being up with yoof culture, for a long time I was confused between him and the bloke from The Mighty Boosh. But the bloke from The Mighty Boosh is much funnier. Having survived nearly killing yourself from drug abuse seems an odd way to gain celebrity, particularly when you're not a rock star, but a lot of people obviously find him hilarious, so I'm prepared to let that one go.

Jonathan Ross should have known better. I suspect he was led astray by his young friend.

But what really irritates me about the whole incident is not at all what the press and the insufferable complainers are going on about, and they've blown it all so much out of proportion that it's now gained a life all of its own. The calls for sacking are misplaced - the BBC would be shooting itself in the foot to lose two such popular presenters, and they've probably got contracts that would make sacking them expensive anyway.

I'm not that impressed with our elected officials, raising the matter in the house, either. We're in the middle of the biggest financial catastrophe ever, at war on two different fronts, seeing Africa convulse in upon itself once more, and all Mr Skinner, Mr Cameron and Mr Broon are concerned about is a radio two show? Shocking, it is. Terrible.

And also illegal, which gets me to the real point of this rantathon. The thing that really gets my goat. There is a law in this country which means you can be prosecuted for making nuisance telephone calls. OK, it's meant to discourage heavy breathers and stalkers, cold-callers and the like. But what is leaving false and distressing messages on a person's answering machine, on their private number not widely advertised, if not nuisance calling?

It would seem to me that the answer to this little affair is quite simple. Mr Ross and Mr Brand have committed a crime, and they should be charged with such.

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Blogger swallowtail said...

Amen. A rantathon worth reading.

A diversion from what is hurting (financial mess,killing-to-get-your-way war, etc), kind of like taking pain killers, anything it takes to stay far away from "the issues at hand" seems to be very welcomed by governments, mmmmmmm, even people.


October 29, 2008 4:15 pm  
Blogger Vincent said...

I was amazed that it became the lead story on the news (except on Channel 4, whose news thankfully has a far less sensationalist editorial policy), but it seems even a rather tepid mix of celebrity and scandal qualifies as a matter at the forefront of public interest these days.

Not that any other days were necessarily any better, but it is all rather disappointing.

October 29, 2008 6:59 pm  

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