Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Until moving here, I always pictured the British as posh, refined people eating cucumber sandwiches and delicately sipping their china cups of tea. That my vision applied to only about 10 per cent of the population came as a harsh reality. And nowhere was this more evident than in the British tabloids.

While North America has its share of disreputable tabloids, I've never seen a country tear itself and its people to bits like in the British tabloids. Take, for example, the News of the World, who today features reality television star Jade Goody in all her glory. Jade has cancer, and the tabloid can't wait to spill all the gory details. Or if terminal illness doesn't do it for you, you can cast your vote for the biggest chav in show business! Chav, for anyone not familiar with UK vernacular, stands for Council Housing and Violent -- or the North American equivalent, white trash.

A lesser offender is the Daily Mail -- again with the Jade Goody tale along with the prerequisite photo of Victoria Beckham. I have to confess that I do read the Femail section sometimes, although I feel a mix of resentment at the paper for forcing me into the demographic of women who read such stories and resentment at myself for reading them.

And if you can't get enough voyeurism through the papers, there's always the telly! A few weeks ago, a show called Fat Teens in Love was on ITV1. "Bobby has a decision to make – will he put butter or mayonnaise on his chicken baguette?" Or if that doesn't do it for you, how about The World's Most Enhanced Woman and Me, on tonight in Channel 4? Or Kill It, Cook It, Eat It, on BBC?

From the lofty heights of the BBC to the dark depths of Heat Magazine, Britain is certainly a nation of journalistic contrasts.


Criss said...

I think I'm going to start using the word "chav." It just sounds fun... and I can make crude comments without people knowing what I'm really thinking! :P

The obscene amount of reality TV here in the US makes me want to cry.

Mike said...

Come on now, Kill It, Cook It, Eat It is pretty good tv. More people would respect dinner if they knew where it came from. Yeah, the gratuitous shots of the vegitarians in the audience can be a bit much.

Could you imagine that show on CBC, or better still Fox? People's heads would EXPLODE!

Marsha said...

Kill It, Cook It, Eat It makes me laugh! I definitely agree with the subject - people should know where their food comes from - but the amount of sensationalism is comical!

And this in a nation where the BBC received thousands of complaints about a female sports presenter who was obviously cold (visible in the chest area) in her short-sleeved top. No problem killing animals or showing live autopsies, but a female with some 'perkiness' -- watch out!