“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

Monday, 12 November 2012

Treatise on national characteristics.

The concept of national characteristics is a minefield, an excuse for the worst kind of knee-jerk reactions and a subject ripe for hours of sleep inducing debate about "nation" and the roots of human traits and behaviour. Don't even think about going there. If that's your bag you're reading the wrong blog sunshine. However, I was reminded about all this by the unlikely intervention of hearing about the lovely Nadine Dorries and her appearance on I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. I don't spend that much time contemplating IACGMOOH or Big Brother.  I do wonder why people get involved but that's about as much thought as I have given to such shows but this morning  I also got to wondering where this type of program came from. Then it hit me like half a stone of ice cold sushi down the front of the trousers. It was the Japanese. Back in the day, when we only had a black and white telly, there used to be occasional items on the box about these strange Japanese TV shows that centred around contestants having to eat awful things or have awful things done to them or whatever. How we gloated at our inherent superiority. It was the Japs you see. Fucking weird. That's why we could never understand 'em during the war. Totally different to us see. Fancy a TV show about contestants being humiliated and laughed at  topping the ratings. Couldn't happen here. Different see. National characteristics? Like I say - don't go there.


WDI said...

'Endurance' was, as I recall, the show that Clive James brought to our attention. Odd that it took a couple of decades for Blighty to catch on to that particular style of 'entertainment'.
I must admit, though, that I find the more recent, and less barbaric, 'Takeshi's Castle' a marvelous celebration of human silliness.
And on the subject of national characteristics I heard the interminable Ben Elton on the radio the other day talking about how he and his Australian wife had dual nationalities but that he will always be British and she will always be Australian. A very strange thing to say, I thought.

Gitane said...

"Our" finest hour at a cultural attempt to demonstrate how "we" deal with humiliation was "it's a Knockout". Commentated by the professional Yorkshireman Eddy Waring we were meant to be in stitches watching people dressed up as plastic fruit bumping into each other whilst negotiating their way around obstacles in a giant paddling pool; all in the grounds of some castle or other. We even got our European neighbours to join in and voila the debacle became international.