“I think it is very regrettable that
Camilla was made to cry and made to feel that she had done the wrong thing and
somehow or other was responsible for these guys getting evicted,” Communications
Minister Helen Coonan
says. Camilla? I didn’t know the Minister was on first name terms with her.

It’s entirely legitimate – if it’s creating
controversy, incumbent upon – the Communications Minister to comment on Big
Brother
. But what tone should she take?

In two days Helen Coonan has issued two
media releases
on the weekend’s alleged sexual incident. They are formal in nature, as
appropriate.

Why, then, should she also talk about Big
Brother
as if she’s Gretel Killeen?


Big Brother
is one of the basest programs
currently on our screens. It is about nothing but emotional manipulation for the
cheap gratification of the audience. The veneers of sociological and
psychological significance its producers give it, if anything, make it more
offensive.


Big Brother
reduces people to players and
their emotions to factors in a game – even if those emotions involved possible
sexual assault.

Referring to the participants by their
program names, adopting the tone of the program and its hosts, makes Coonan a participant
in this trivialisation.

If she is disgusted by Big Brother, if she
believes it is degrading, the Minister should say so in a voice that will be
clearly understood by its target audience.

That’s different from adopting Big
Brother
‘s voice. That’s playing along with Big Brother.

Peter Fray

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