CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Time To Evict Big Brothel

Jul 3, 2006

The latest sexcapade at Big Brother demonstrates that the show is well past its use-by date. Indeed, it was past its use-by date six years ago when it first appeared. How much further down the septic tank do we have to go before Channel 10 realises that this show is one big mistake, and pulls it off the air, never to be seen again?

The alleged sexual assault that took place on BB this weekend was simply the inevitable result of a program that seeks to shock and offend. It is the logical outcome of a format that puts sexed-up kids into a sexed-up house, and bids them to party, party, party.

And we call this reality TV! The only person I know of who parties 24-7 without a care in the world is Paris Hilton. Most young people do not live this way. Thus the whole show is artificial and a fraud. And it is also a lousy role model for young people.

That these kinds of outrageous sexual shenanigans should happen is not at all surprising. The whole show is set up for this very thing to happen. Take a bunch of hormonally-charged young people, put them into a sexual hothouse, complete with group showers, communal beds, and a never-ending supply of free alcohol, and you have a perfect recipe for disaster. And that is exactly what we are getting.

Thus it was only a matter of time. These sleazy antics naturally flow from such an environment. But of course Ten is giving us the usual baloney. ‘We don’t condone this behavior’, they whine. ‘We do not accept this kind of conduct.’ Puh-leeese, tell me another. They are responsible for it. They made it all possible. They are the ones who set up conditions so that such activities were as sure to follow as night follows day.

So please Channel Ten, spare us your crocodile tears. And a Sydney academic, Catherine Lumby, who also happens to be paid by Ten to advise BB, said the whole thing was no big deal, and that Ten acted responsibly by removing the two male housemates who were involved in the sexual aggression.

Sorry Catherine, but Channel Ten has not been acting responsibly now for six years. It was irresponsible to air the show in the first place, and the only responsible thing to do would be to pull this Toxic TV show once and for all.

Now just in case the folk at Ten are a bit slow to grasp my meaning here, let me provide a simple illustration. Suppose you put a dozen five-year-olds in a room, filled with cardboard boxes and old newspapers. Also in the room are cans of petrol and other flammable liquids. Also, there are matches and cigarette lighters scattered throughout the room.

Now will anyone really be surprised to hear that a fire has broken out in the room? And would it make much sense to have Big Brother’s voice boom over the speakers, telling the kids, ‘you have acted irresponsibly – please leave the room’? Most people would say it was the clowns who set this situation up in the first place who were being irresponsible.

Of course I am not saying that the housemates on BB were not responsible for their actions. They were, and are. But it is Ten who allowed this situation to fester and flourish in the first place. They are the ones who share the blame if sexual assaults take place.

Not only is Ten partly responsible for this whole sordid mess, but it bears the same sort of responsibility that the cruise ship company bears, following the recent sexual assault, and tragic death of a young woman on a pleasure cruise. The BB situation mirrors this exactly. In both cases, sexual pleasure was promised, with no or little responsibility. Fortunately now the cruise ship company is cleaning up its act, and banning wild, drunken sex parties. The question to ask is when will Ten do the same?

But of course there is money to be made, so Ten will simply shirk its community responsibility and tell parents and concerned viewers to effectively drop dead. And they are laughing all the way to the bank in the process.

Cultural Decline

It is interesting that up until quite recently voyeurism was considered to be a sickness. Indeed, every textbook on abnormal psychology listed voyeurism as a classic case of an unbalanced mind. Now of course it is an art form. We now call it entertainment. Peeping toms used to be arrested for what they did (watching strangers undress, take showers, and so on). Now the Ten Network gets big money for encouraging us all to be voyeurs.

This is a sign of a culture that has lost the plot. If the only way we can now get our kicks is to watch a bunch of young people making spectacles of themselves – and worse – then Australia is in a bad way.

It is time Ten admits that BB is a monumental catastrophe, and has no place on public airwaves. I won’t hold my breath however, to see this happen. Ten seems to have about as much conscience as some of the BB housemates.

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12 Responses to Time To Evict Big Brothel

  • I heard the Queensland Premier on the news today say, referring to the BB problem, that because he doesn’t mind watching American rubbish that he wouldn’t mind keeping and watching a bit of our own rubbish! At least I’m agreed with him on one thing – that BB is rubbish.

    Comments like that don’t help, but it sure reinforces the need for BB to be axed for good – because, according to Premier Beattie, it is rubbish!

    Paul Magno

  • Big Brothel
    This sort of rot erodes good family values. Let’s get rid of it.

    John Shenton

  • Hey B! I have posted the following:

    Oh Brother!! Big Brother is at it again! “Just having a little fun with mates” claim Camilla, John and Ashley. Interesting represenatation of “mateship”. I would just like to know, whatever happened to respect? But BB isn’t about respect, as it condones everything BUT Australian values. And it isn’t the first time. Why should this show be forced upon the Australian public? If people are crying out for the show to be axed (apart from politicians) and desire more appropriate entertainment, don’t accuse the issue of being censorship. What values are we instilling in our young adults? Shows like these unfortunately educate our teens and young adults in social conduct and values. It’s not about Australia’s “right to view”. I would throw all my rights aside if I knew that I was implementing values and principles that would develop the next generation rather than destroy it. Destroy the show before it destroys our future.

    I’m 21 years old and I find this behaviour from “boys” my age distressful! I think I will go elsewhere (perhaps Italy) where I will find a gentleman! haha!
    Danii Rizzo, Melbourne

  • Bill Muehlenberg asks: ‘How much further down the septic tank do we have to go before Channel 10 realises that this show is one big mistake, and pulls it off the air, never to be seen again?’

    I ask, in addition: ‘How much further down the septic tank do we have to go before Christians in general realise that television per se is one big mistake, and purge it altogether from our society?’

    Muggeridge tried to redeem TV from within. He dismally failed, as it was inevitable that he would fail.

    This is what a Catholic website has to say about those who’d bow the knee to the televisual Baal:

    ‘Television is harmful to every soul! It “changes the attitudes” of adults as well as those of children. The “news” is the most dangerous programme on television because it most effects how the viewer “thinks.” It forms opinions. The enemies of the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ determine which “news” you will see and which will not be shown to you. These men also determine what “slant” will be given to the news that you are permitted to see. … They decide which issues can and cannot be debated. They decide which politicians are ‘in’ and which ‘out.’ They promote the perverse, anti-Christian, Communist ideology that permeates the Media. They decide which are the “good wars” and which the “bad wars”; who are the “heroes” and who are the “villains”. … David Rockefeller, Edgar Bronfman, Rupurt Murdoch and Summer Redstone are four of the media moguls grouped under the Standard of Lucifer who control your TV viewers’ minds. TV watchers are guilty of fraternising with the enemy of Our Lord Jesus Christ. “And Elias coming to all the people said: How long do you halt between two sides? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people did not answer him a word” [3 Kings 18:21]. Those of you who insist on keeping TV are also trying to keep a foot in both camps.’

    Unless all Christians perceive that it won’t do the slightest good destroying Big Brother unless we destroy the TV culture which gave Big Brother birth, I fail to understand how they can call themselves Christians at all. I gave up TV five years ago, and there is no money in the world which would persuade me to reinstall that open sewer in my home.

    R J Stove, Melbourne 

  • Thanks RJ

    Yes I remember reading Muggeridge’s book, Christ and the Media quite some time ago. He certainly was pessimistic about the media in general, and TV in particular. Your, and his, assessment may well be correct. Yet I wonder if even television is not somehow redeemable. There have been some good things done with it, and I know of Christians working in the media. Some may feel called to seek to be salt and light in the darkness of modern media. How successful they are may be a moot point. But I guess I give them credit for trying.

    But having said that, I largely agree. TV is very much a wasteland, and most of us should be spending a lot less time with it.

    Regards
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thank you, Bill; I appreciate your reply.

    The particular Muggeridge reference is a useful one. But the trouble is, of course, that when MM was at the height of his TV fame (and when Bob Santamaria was at the height of his), the squalor of today’s TV was entirely unimaginable in either Britain or Australia. There was no cable TV. Theatrical censorship still prevailed, even if (after Lady Chatterley) literary censorship was down for the count. Even uttering a four-letter word on television caused outrage, as the career of Kenneth Tynan illustrates. It’s drawing a very long bow indeed for anyone to suggest that entirely contingent advice provided by MM in the 1960s could, or should, be considered normative in 2006.

    In one circumstance, and in one alone, can I imagine the slightest room for improvement in TV. That would be if TV ownership became genuinely decentralised, so that pagan trash from the Murdoch and Packer empires no longer had a droit de seigneur over such ownership. (We won’t even go into ABC-style corruption.) But we all know that barring miraculous intervention, this decentralisation is impossible.

    R J Stove, Melbourne

  • I fully support your comments Bill. It seems to me that Channel 10 (and probably all other commercial stations) will go to any length to attract the advertising dollar. It was encouraging to hear John Howard come out and strongly suggetsing to Channel 10 management to pull this garbage off the air. How much longer will this electronic sewage be allowed to flood into our homes?

    Lin Rauber, Melbourne

  • 100% with your comment Brother Bill. Channel 10’s BB should not be polluting our teens and young adults. It should be axed. Sodom and Gomorrah raising their ugly heads.
    Followers of Yeshua – pray, pray, pray. Thanks.

    Victoria Rafferty

  • great work on BB BILL. I agree 100%. Keep up your great work. Best wishes.

    Bernie Stocks

  • A few days ago I read the 34 comments on onlineopinon.com that also had this article. I felt that they would come from 2 main sources – parents and singles. I am an ex-hippie of the 70’s who is now a parent of a great 26-yr-old son, and a beautiful 23yr old daughter. When I was in my angry hippie days, I would have said much the same as so many who say “if you don’t like it switch it off”. This sort of says “murder etc is OK as long as it’s not in my home”. This sort of trash (BB) lowers us all. A parent can see this, because we think protectively. Pornography makes society more dangerous for us all ultimately, whether I watch it or not. No man is an island. We all affect others.

    Ian Brearley, Canberra

  • Thank you, Bill, for your enlightened stance on matters of crucial importance to christians and non christians alike. Unfortunately, wisdom and discernment are not character traits readily found in the media – particularly television – so solid and informed comment such as yours is most needful. Truly, ‘A voice crying in the wilderness’. Please maintain the zeal.

    Shane Welsh

  • Re ‘voyeurism’

    Some years ago, I enjoyed Isaac Asimov science fiction in print, mainly the Robots and Foundation series which eventually merged. It was thought-provoking and gave me an insight into Asimov’s atheistic worldview.

    So part way through that reading ‘journey,’ I branched out into reading Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’ series but gave up quickly as it was at gutter level by comparison, and I recall at one stage the author put into the mouth of one of his characters the question “are we just a bunch of voyeurs?”

    I have no doubt his intention was to draw the sting from the reader’s own thoughts, because much of the series was sexual although purportedly not gratuitous.

    Now Bill, your commentary has me wondering how much such literature prepared our minds to accept what we see all around us on TV, video, movie and billboard…

    John Angelico, Melbourne

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