Sunday, January 25, 2009

... and who has invaded whose privacy?

The story gets worse over at the News of the World, who not only manage to be EVEN MORE OUTRAGED than the Mail, but start to dig around to try and work out who the 80 year-old woman might be:

And last night as it emerged that the woman is a REAL PERSON with ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE there were mounting calls for Ross to be SACKED from his £6 million-a-year job.

But unless you're really suffering from an ability to process a joke, or intimate with the details of Ross sidekick's Andy Davies' private life, you wouldn't know the specific woman, and clearly the joke wasn't invading her privacy. Unlike, say, a British tabloid poking about to try and stir up some faux-outrage.

The News Of The World also drops in a fabrication:
The mega-bucks star’s crude joke about sex with an 80-year-old woman infuriated listeners.

Except nobody complained. So these are "listeners" who were infuriated but didn't do anything about it. How does the Screws know of this "infuriated" listener base?

Apparently it has one:
Regular Radio 2 listener Nigel Langstone, 43, from Leamington, Warwickshire, was furious over Ross’s comments and said: “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“He gets kicked off air for three months for hounding an old man with disgusting comments about his grand-daughter.

“Then virtually the first thing he does after getting back is start telling a gag about sex with an 80-year-old woman. How insensitive can you be?

“It just shows he’s learned absolutely nothing and is a loose cannon who can’t be controlled.

“What’s worse is that the exchange happened with his own producer—the man who’s supposed to control him.

“The BBC is totally OUT of control. They’ve no idea how much offence they’re causing.

“Ross should be taken off air immediately. He’s a timebomb waiting to go off.”

You're a regular Radio 2 listener, and yet seem surprised by Jonathan Ross's show? It's like being a Radio 2 listener and saying "I can't believe that Terry Wogan waffles on with no consequence before playing a song off the Best Of Motown...", surely?

Anyone else want to clamber on the pretend outrage bandwagon?
Meanwhile former Home Secretary David Blunkett called for Ross’s pay to be docked as a result of this latest incident. He said: “It’s time for Ross to donate some of his salary to charity.”

Eh? How does that even make sense? I can understand - just about - people pretending to be shocked or horrified; you can even understand the News of the World and the Mail churning out acres of copy about it. But surely, Blunkett, either he's behaved badly and should quit, or he's edgy but doing what he's paid for. In what way is "it's okay to make jokes about sex with octogenarians providing you give your pay for that day to charity" even approaching an coherent response?

At the end, it's about understanding what your audience wants and what they feel happy with. After all, a lot of the stuff in the News of the World seems to a casual observer as too explicit for a publication which isn't on the top shelf, but it's about knowing your audience. Having said which, if the News Of The World really believes its buyers want to read non-stories attacking a few moments of radio they probably haven't heard, or would have enjoyed if they had, it presumably wouldn't be selling fewer copies than at any point in the last 50 years.


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

(Warning:off the top of my head outrage coming up)

and yet if they removed that scene from that Porridge episode where Fletcher and David Jason are in hospital cracking jokes about 80 year olds having sex it would be "political correctness gone EVILBBCIMMIGRANTTERRORISTMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADD!!!!"

Anonymous said...

But... is it even offensive? Hasn't anyone read Zorba the Greek? When I am 80 (or even 68), I really hope some man young enough to be my son will give me one for the road. Actually, I am already planning a trip to China for myself and my friends in 26 years. I'll be 50, and the multitude of young men over there with no excess to a woman will think I'm the hottest thing ever. I believe they have a 11 to 1 (boy to girl) birth rate over there, so I am already researching ways to open a "resort" in China in a couple of decades. The young men would work for free just to get some sort of a woman, and the aging, chubby ladies (I plan on gaining some weight myself by then, you know, to show power) would pay me handsomely to have their pick. I'm thinking some tasteful bath houses and private gardens. Some fetish fantasy rooms, perhaps. Any investors? This is the kind of thing that builds fortunes: identifying supply and demand... And if this particular dame is still alive by then, she can stay for free the entire weekend.

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