The Blog

Reality TV Now Represents Our Greatest Chance At Controlling Our Lives


So I am to spend the final throes of being 23 trundling slowly through revolving doors like some illiterate, gaping bovine waiting for a lobotomy that may never come as trophy wives and middle-class mobsters stumble on by like well-dressed jackals babbling interminably about who they want to win Love Island or a new kind of spinach with 20MB download speed. Seeing as my 24th revolution around the sun is almost upon me, I've come to reflect on how it is that I've landed so squarely headfirst into a flaming mound of horseshit. My day to day life consists of navigating maliciously sentient elevators up nine floors past a devastating array of shysters, cyborgs and radical health-freak preachers, dressed in spandex, armed with organic beard-wax and an unflinching devotion to synergistic management solutions.

Meanwhile outside the rest of London was successfully held ransom by disgruntled public transport operators who established themselves to be vaguely more powerful than Davina McCall for a grand total of 28 hours. Already the capital has recovered and that whole strike thing is as memorable or relevant as the Great Emu War of 1932, but at the time it became easy to forget there was ever civilisation upon the Thames - people stampeded through the streets with the uneasy grace of a drunk trying to find a corner to vomit into discreetly. Women clutched babies to their chest and wailed bloody murder at bus stops, men crushed one another under Italian brogues in mortal combat for an Uber taxi as though it were the last chopper out of Saigon, all in all the tube strike succeeded in revealing the baser, underlying nature of society as just one desperately confused, futile scramble. If I were to strike in my day job I'd be summarily executed on the spot because sales staff simply do not matter, we're more expendable than shit and only half as pleasant to be around. So hats off to the tube workers who went on strike as a means to be recognised as humans, it speaks volumes that such drastic action is needed in order to be heard, but that's beside the point - it's all about control.

With 2015 already over half way through and just a few months left to buffer before the credits roll and the whole nightmarish procedure of making plans, nurturing ambitions, starting over and watching it all unravel day by day begins anew. But let's not jump the gun; we're still stuck with the heat and a Tory majority for now. Looking back over the debris of 2015 so far and it feels as though we're stuck in an interminable re-run, like sequels to other previously shite years such as 2010, 2012 or the critically acclaimed awful 2014, with the same tired characters romping about the world finding new ways to demolish it.

Politically Britain is in disarray, it's like a family dinner on onside cardboard cut-outs of politicians squabble like kids over who's in charge of the losing party, whilst the Cameronaut and Osborne exchange a knowing smile across the dining table, even raising a glass of Semillon-chardonnay when the forgotten aged relative that is the Liberal Democrats party knocks feebly on the door to beg for some more rags so it can sleep without being picked over by hedgehogs or some other ineffectual rodent. Economically, the poor bear the burden of the economists' mistakes leading to austerity measures so clearly favouring the wealthy that they might as well have worn a ruff and announced themselves with a fanfare. Instead we got the strained voice of George Osborne heralding the death of the financially vulnerable as though he were imitating a man holding back an especially viscous shit whilst delivering a presentation in a board meeting. Still he didn't hold back on the cuts and selectively sprayed the nation's least socially mobile with a jet of liquid ass-borne sanctions that gave him the malicious grin of the spoiled despot tossing partially gnawed turkey bones down to the pile of serfs so they can fight for his amusement. It's as though he's convinced that he's playing the Sims and is one move away from taking the stairs out of the swimming pool whilst we bob lifelessly; floundering to the sound of George's smug sniggering.

We're not the only ones feeling the sting of the financial world's incompetence, Angela Merkel, the IMF and the ECB have succeeded in putting Greece on eBay, much to the dismay of democracy loving, sun-soaked Grecians who don't like the idea of being given away as part of a banker's divorce settlement - especially whilst starving to death. So they did what any rationally thinking human would do and they set fire to things and made a lot of noise, letting forth a collective howl of anguish in bewilderment at the sheer hopelessness of their situation. At least the Greeks have the gall to rail against their oppressors whilst we slump and sag, sedated by packaged sandwiches and fucking Love Island. For all the bluster and suspense surrounding the referendum on the EU bailout proposals, any sense of control was lost in the bureaucratic mire that is international politics and people tried to reclaim some notion of self-determination with the aid of fireworks and projectile warfare on the streets of Athens. But even this ballsy display of public disdain did little to stop the economic crown of thorns that Greece is being forced to wear whilst dancing naked in front of a global audience.

Every year without fail we're treated to some new level of collective dishevelment, but all we do is sit around shaking our heads in grim acceptance, tutting at the latest atrocity as it oozes straight from our screens into our minds repeating the endless cycle of human idiocy and violence that wheels around exponentially. It's like an inevitable summer blockbuster that comes across like a pro-celibacy campaign for misanthropists, but with far more blood, explosions and sound bites. No wonder shows like Love Island hold more interest to the average mulch-brain than making sense of the chaos presented to us by airbrushed news hosts, at least with reality TV there's some vague sense of control that has limitless appeal in the age of futility. Take the tube strike for example, a large-scale blind panic that a large chunk of Londoners did not understand the reasons for, but fewer still sympathised with the notion of holding your employer to account through direct action. Instead it was widely regarded as a natural inevitability, an act of God or a force of nature that was beyond all human control.

We didn't even resort to firebombing parliament over the suspension of London's legs, but there was a familiar sense of distraught impotence in the air. This is where Love Island steps in to reaffirm the maxim that we're in control of our destiny, like all reality TV shows it takes a bumload of well-sculpted clumps of meat and dumps them into some kind of paradisiacal setting with blue skies, white beaches and not a weepy Palestinian refugee in sight. Here the inmates are forced to copulate for the amusement of the viewers with the barnyard animal duo that ruts in the most entertaining or endearing fashion being granted a chance to stab each other in the back for money. The other cast-off castaways are sent home, blissfully ignorant to how they've been portrayed to national audiences and somehow proud of their 'achievements' and 'development' in spite of being as shallow as a wine spillage in a 24 hour petrol station. The belching, preening amoebas serve as little more than overgrown mutant foetuses to prod with the TV remote and help to distract us from the utter banality of our own lives, whilst desperately trying to reassure us that we can hold some semblance of power in this world.

Yet somehow these insipid swaggering buffoons with their infantile existences are the saviours of modern man. Through their total lack of self-awareness and limitless pandering to the demands of the audience they are wresting power from the faceless institutions and back to the hands of the screen-drooling masses - all through the power of love mind you - I see a Nobel peace prize on the cards for these dribbling idiots. In a time when democratic processes fail to be recognised and violence goes on unheeded, the interactive red button is our greatest weapon in the battle to reclaim control of our reality. Meanwhile Reality TV stars have become probably the most potent symbol of democracy in the modern world, come friendly asteroids and rain on Earth.

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