10/29/2008

Why is it that the British so dislike someone who has become a success ?

It is a peculiar trait that we Britons have. We like people when they are down, witness how Russell Brand, a man with a host of problems in his past with carious addictions, has become a much loved success story, successful comic and a Hollywood star, has risen to the top on a bandwagon of "well done to him" and "he's really turned himself around" congratulations from the British public over the course of three years.

Then we can look at Jonathan Ross, once, in the late 1980's, the bright young thing of broadcasting, who fell from grace, did an inordinate amount of crap for ITV and seemed the very height of "uncool", who then resurrected his career, with only the Daily Mail seeming unable to wish him well as his stock rose again.

And now, with these two men at the height, they make stupid childish error. They got too big for their boots. It happens to the very best, and suddenly a tidal wave of Daily Mail readers, stirred up by stories at the weekend and a woman who in my opinion, reading between the lines, has an axe to grind over an issue of a personal nature over Russell Brand (yes, I am referring to Andrew Sachs granddaughter) and wants to make a name for herself. Yes, suddenly thousands of people who never even listened to radio 2, people who are not even up at the late evening time that Russell Brand's radio show was broadcast are up in arms, they smell blood because we have this strange obsession in this country building people up to knock them down.

For the record I thought Brand and Ross were not in the slightest bit funny. I thought what they did was wrong and required an apology from them and from the BBC and the producers of the show. With Children in Need so soon, it would have been an ideal opportunity for them to make a large donation, seek to make ammends and do so as quickly as possible. I note that Jonathan Ross was quick to visit Andrew Sachs in person and offer a personal apology, well done to him, but Russell brand's response was less swift, and he has now left the BBC.

Let's lose the obsession with knocking people who are a success. The irony is that the Daily Mail supported fat cat pay rises in the city because "they earnt it", they don't oppose people getting rich on the back of talent and hard work, but seemingly this meritocracy does not extend to entertainers.

For me it says much about us as a nation. We like bandwagons, we like to share in obsessions be they our hatred of success, people getting above themselves, people who are different, people who don't look like us or like the sad spectacle after Princess Diana's death, a sudden hating of the Royal family for 36 hours whilst millions of people who bought the papers that paid the paparazzi to chase her car through tunnels stood there unified in disgust in others whilst failing to accept their own responsibility.

I love being British, I love what this country stands for, but I do hate the way some of us act and the "pack" mentality. Papers like the cheap tabloids play on this, they make us jump on bandwagons and they bring out the very worst in us.

There is nothing wrong with complaining, but complain because you want to, not because a newspaper tells you or makes you feel like you should.

Let's hope the Daily Mail will now draw a line under this. Let's face it, we all make mistakes. After all, didn't the Daily Mail back the fascists in the 1930's and urge peace with Hitler ?

21 comments:

Tony Sharp said...

Russell Brand, a much loved success story? What planet are you on Nich? He was booed out of the US for his offensive nonsense there and far from learning from it he carried on in the same fashion here with this result. I wonder if you would feel the same way about Brand if he had made Obama rather than Bush the subject of his moronic insults.

Far from building people up to knock them down, this is a large number of people taking a stand against disgraceful behaviour. It is still a mystery how someone like Brand ever reached his supposed heights in the first place. That would be the BBC's cool, irreverent yoof culture again.

You might equate decency with being prudish but thankfully tens of thousands of people are not prepared to accept such a wanton display of low standards. Blaming the Daily Mail for this when every newspaper has commented on the story in critical terms is just daft.

Brand should have been summarily sacked and Ross should have gone by now too.

Norfolk Blogger said...

I notice 27,000 people have written after the event (only 2 complained before the Daily Mail printed the story).

I wonder what the other 59,000,000 people think ?

As for the sad Tory attack on the BBC "yoof" culture, brand made his name on Channel 4. Ooops !

Norfolk Blogger said...

I should ask Tony do you agree with my view that we as a nation like to knock successes ?

I should also thank you for commenting. We disagree massively but I appreciate your differing viewpoint.

Michele said...

No - I am sorry NB - this is totally unacceptable.

What the hell has Andrew Sach's Granddaughter done to precipitate your disgrace slur? It wasn't her that ridiculed Brand throughout the nation; it wasn't her who rang up and made disgracegul comments abut him on his grandfather's answering machine - and yet you place the blame entirely on her.

Your post says more about you and your standards than it does about the British's tall poppy syndrome. You are totally off my blog list.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Actually, the Daily Mail precipated the slur across the nation. As it was hardly anyone had heard it first time round.

Secondly, I don't just blame her, although if you lived over here you'd have seen that the person who has gained most from this is her in terms of her raised profile. Who the hell was she a few days ago ?

Actually if you ahd read what I wrote, I blame brand, Ross and The Mail more (you ignore my criticism of them).

In her "Sun" interview this morning, reading between the lines, she made comments about Russell Brand not keeping things secret (or words to that effect).

As for me being off you list, shame. After all, five whole visits from your IP address. What will I do ?

Starls said...

Andrew Sach's grand-daughter is in a burlesque group called the 'Satanic Sluts'.

I bet she's loving the attention and its probably only a matter of time til Max Clifford is representing her or she is on a crap ITV2 reality show.

I think she is a calculating attention seeking so-and-so looking for maximum exposure.

Anonymous said...

If anything is going to make your grandfather embarrassed it would be

1) Performing a burlesque act.
2) Calling your group a name that includes "sluts"

Tony Sharp said...

So what you are saying Nich is that if the Mail, along with the Telegraph, Times, Sun, Guardian, Express, Mirror, etc had not reported on Brand and Ross' behaviour - a legitimate public interest as we fund the vehicle that was abused - then it would not have been such a serious matter?

This was not a prank, it was bullying and it was an attempt to embarrass an old man for having not answered a phone call. It reflects the nosedive in broadcasting standards. People have a right to condemn such behaviour and complain to the corporation that was happy to sit on its hands and do nothing about it.

In any other work environment these two would have been immediately suspended then fired for gross misconduct. The BBC however not only felt it editorially sound to broadcast an edited version of the show, but to act as if nothing had happened. And incidentally Brand was recruited by the BBC for its young audience - teens to early 20s.

I do not believe that as a nation we like to knock successes. We are too wrapped up in 'celebrity' rather than substance and we are dumbed down as a result. I do feel the media are guilty of such behaviour as it panders to their lazy nature and creates 'celebrity' stories.

But many Britons are aspirational and where they see success it reminds them they too have the opportunity to be successful themselves. I see successful people who have worked hard to achieve something as an inspiration, not someone to knock.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Tony, you undo your argument when you claim brand was recruited for the teen audience.

Are tyou seriously suggesting that Radio 2 is a station for teens ??? Come on Tony, this undoes all your arguments if you cannot get this simple fact right.

Radio 2 is specifically targeted at a much older age group, typically 35+.

I wonder though how much fuss would have been made were it not Jonathan Ross involved ? Methinks that people are too willing to complain about this whereas had it been some DJ on Radio 1 (Chirs Moyles) people would largely have ignored it.

Tony Sharp said...

Is it beyond your capacity to understand that Brand was put on Radio 2 to increase its younger audience? Had he been presenting a music only show he would have been put on Radio 1. How many fans in their 40s and over do you think Brand has?

You might think my claim undermines all my arguments, but that kind of assertion is the last refuge of someone who has no other come back to the points I made. Which probably explains why you have not addressed them.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, can't agree with you - the phone call was degrading, obscene and bullying. Would you feel the same if you got a broadcast phone call along the same lines involving one of your family, I rather doubt it. It seems to me that the people who complained (and I was not one of them) cared about the dignity of another human being (and the conduct of his G/daughter in the context of the call to him is neither here nor there) and acceptable standards of conduct, and I applaud them for that.

Norfolk Blogger said...

One of the faceless thousands of sheep follwing the pack. Well done you.

And an anonymous comment too. How brace.

I disagree with Tony but respect him because he makes a good argument (I disagree with it, but it hold water) but also because he puts a name to his comments.

Tony Sharp said...

What I like about debating with you Nich is that when our views and opinions differ (which is on more subjects than not) we do so with mutual respect and no animosity.

In fairness though, although the comment above is anonymous, it is not an attempt to troll and it should not detract from the validity of the comment itself.

Now, why not leave your McCain/Palin bashing for a moment and pop over to Waendel to see what a naughty boy your chap Obama has been? :)

Andy W said...

Nich,

Sorry but I think you’ve got it wrong on this one.

Like the thousands who have complained (I’m not one of them) I pay a licence fee. Whilst I accept that there are many programs that I neither watch or listen to I do expect them all to attain a certain standard.

At the moment there is all this fluff about ‘pushing the boundaries’. This process was best described by Shami Chakarbarti who likens the erosion of liberties to that of a frog being put into a jar of water.

If the water was cold and is gently heated you will boil the frog as it will not notice the temperature rise, however throw it into boiling water and it will immediately jump out.

This is exactly what is happening with broadcasting standards. These two are not pushing the boundaries they are breaking them as are the BBC.

I really don’t care who they are their behaviour is unacceptable nothing whatsoever to do with celebrity.

As it stands on a whole host of issues there is general erosion, even on issues you have posted on earlier such as sex education. It won’t be long before babies have a lesson on sex as they exit the womb.

For humour, any classic comedy that I remember is light years superior to the likes of Brand and Ross, from Hancock through Porridge, Yes Minister, Fawlty Towers, Monty Python, Morecombe and Wise and a huge number I’ve missed. None needed profanity to be funny.

Perhaps I’m a Victor Meldrew but like many I believe enough is enough.

StuartR said...

What Brand / Ross did was bullying and it must have been hugely unpleasant for any 80+ year old to be subjected to. For these two (and the editorial staff at the BBC) not to have predicted the obvious distress this was likely to cause to an eldery man is mind-boggling.

Having said that the reaction to this sorry saga has been just as unpleasant as the initial events. The mass hysteria that you refer to in your piece does put the spotlight on our society and some its more unpleasant aspects.

Paradoxically we show disdain or apathy towards much real success while idolising fake success and the cult of celebrity. People do seem to be easily lead by some of our more hysterical papers and their disproportional response - your example of the Diana situation is spot on - I was living in Kensington at the time and saw first hand the mass grief, and found it somewhat unsettling and disturbing.

This seems to be a classic situation of 2 wrongs, and yetmost people seem to be taking the side of Brand/Ross vs Newspapers/Politicians or vice versa.

In my opinion everyone involved comes out of this with their reputations damaged. And yet as far as the future of the BBC goes, this should be nothing more than a storm in a teacup - I can't see that there should be any significant long term impact on Auntie.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Tony, always a pleasure. Some of my best friends are people I disagree with completely politically. My best man (and best mate) is a former Tory party vice chairman and chairman of your party conference and I hadly ever agree with him !

Anonymous said...

I am the 'Anon' you call 'one of the faceless sheep' - why, just because I happen to disagree with you on this point? Ah, you have decided it is so and so it must be, although I think your comment says more about you than it does me!
And if you do not want, or invite 'Anon' comments then turn off the facility. It is in your power to do so, it is your blog. But do not insult people who you do not know simply because they disagree with you but have taken advantage of a facility you offered.

Norfolk Blogger said...

If I remove the right of people to remain anonymous I also have to exclude the option of them choosing to type in their names.

The option you are thinking about is to allow only those people with blogger or open id access. this exludes the possibility of choosing to write your name and add a url, which is an option again you could have taken but chose not to.

Shame.

Anonymous said...

I did not choose that option because being rather elderly and not very 'computer savvy' I did not know of it! I still believe I have every right to my opinion, to express it using an option you offer and not to be called a sheep because I happen to disagree with you on this matter.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Its the box at the bottom of the page, you could not miss it, although you appear to have missed it again.

I don't mind you disagreeing, but others do so and state who they are, you argument is akin to shouting abuse over a wall.

Anonymous said...

Will you please tell me where or when I have abused you and I will instantly offer an apology. I have looked over my posts to you and nowhere can I find abuse. I have dared to disagree with you and for that you have called me a 'sheep' and stated that I have 'abused' you, both of which are nonsense.
And you are intelligent enough to know it!

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