Television is still the ultimate lean-forward experience. It has shown that it can embrace digital opportunities, and is now beginning to understand how its content can be delivered and monetised worldwide in a way that wasn't possible ten years ago. As Darwin pointed out, you don't have to be the strongest to survive, you just need to be adaptable, and TV has shown that it can be just that. But there are still reefs ahead on which TV could founder. Television may be adaptable, but it is not very good at changing course quickly.
In the early 2000s something called 'social media' appeared, a new type of social lubricant for the 21st century that transformed the way society used its free time. For the first time in history people started watching less TV than their elders, turning away from passive consumption and towards active participation
So Jim Davidson has apparently won Celebrity Big Brother and the nation is split. There are those who believe he is a racist, misogynistic wife-beater who should never have been allowed back on TV, others who see him as a changed man who should be given another chance and some, probably the majority of the CBB audience, who just see him as a middle-aged comedian.
The real genius (yes, genius) behind this series is the casting. They have managed to assemble a group of perfectly mis-matched personalities who seem to irritate each other like chipotle in a paper cut. And when they're not fantasising about each other's death, they're climbing into each other's bed.
Ultimately the biggest problem with invoking that word is that it allows the media and us to pop her up onto the pedestal entitled "Woman Describing the Modern Female Experience" then return to our regular lives. We don't have to listen to other women with alternative experiences because, look, we've already got that one over there and see how much we idolise her?
I find it incredibly sad then that in a world where the powerful get ever more so, those without a voice are increasingly denied any real medium to express themselves in mainstream TV. I'm sure the producers are thrilled with the response to Benefits Street... Whipping up a storm is just what they wanted.