Sunday, 25 September 2005

ITV's The X Factor is a disgrace

by Charles Pooter

As a rule, in an aristocracy people are born into the position they are likely to occupy for the rest of their lives. The rich are born rich and die rich. The poor are still poor when they die. This is a state of affairs which we should be glad to see reduced. However in an aristocracy the rich are often well-aware of the accidental nature of their wealth. This being the case they often recognise their duty to those less fortunate than themselves and spend much of their time performing charitable acts. Those with any sense of morality would not mock those who, by accident of birth, have less material wealth than themselves.

Britain in the early 21st Century is probably closer to being a true meritocracy than at any time in the past. People who do well assume that they have done well purely by their own efforts. They often feel no need to spend time or money on charity. Some even feel that it is perfectly reasonable to mock those who are less wealthy than themselves because "you make your own luck". But Britain is now a knowledge economy. Hard work will only get you so far. People are largely rewarded for their intelligence and punished for their stupidity.

There is a growing volume of scientific data which suggests that a large component of intelligence is genetic. This is not to say that your IQ is determined entirely by your genes, but that your highest potential IQ is at least affected by hereditary factors. This means that when people are stupid, it really isn't their fault. This is especially true of people who are really stupid, because it would be statistically unlikely for them to have such low IQs due to purely environmental factors. But in Britain today stupidity is the last genetic trait it is acceptable to mock and despise. The underclass are derided as stupid chavs because the blank slate theory is still believed and it is "their own fault".

This brings us to ITV's The X Factor. This disgusting show revels in mocking the afflicted. Every week people with what many euphemistically call "learning difficulties" are paraded in front of Simon Cowell, an Irishman, Ozzy Osbourne's wife and several million viewers to be insulted and humiliated. It is nothing more than a modern version of a freak show. At least in a freak show, the exhibits were paid and were fully cognizant of what they were doing. On The X Factor some of these people clearly do not have the intelligence to give adult consent. Some do not even understand the insults that trip of Cowell's tongue so easily. When a contestant with a recognised disability performs, the panel including Cowell fall over themselves to be polite and understanding (to the extent of being patronising). But because stupidity is "their own fault", no verbal assault is too strong for those unfortunates with the unrecognised disability of low intelligence.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this elitism is also the ultimate american morality. to be less than very well endowed intellectually... is supposed to be the "fault" of that less endowed person...because of the myth that we make our own luck. better endowed folks credit themselves for their luck...equally wrong.
this is the less groomed underbelly of the glorious age of the self made individual...that we're apparently still in. i'm so glad i don't watch the telly.... thanks for the perception...unusually sensitive. more honest discussion on this topic is always appreciated.