Lady Bracknell ponders on the virtues of modern "entertainment"
It might be supposed that Lady Bracknell would make a particular effort to watch programmes concerned with antiques. Although she will freely admit to having an interest in the subject, her ladyship grieves to witness the enthusiastic glee with which the modern family will cast away objets - which were originally chosen with great care and which have been handed down to them by their elderly relatives - in exchange for an ephemeral enjoyment such as a holiday. (Lady Bracknell, having been brought up from her earliest youth to respect the value of the antimacassar and the doily, does not hold with the current trend for minimalist interiors.) Also, she would go so far as to have the butler break open the dry sherry in celebration should the truly frightful Lorne Spicer be forcibly returned to "Collect It" magazine where her semi-literate editorials would trouble a very much smaller audience. This, Lady Bracknell feels, would be fitting punishment for Ms Spicer's insistence on pronouncing "jewellery" as "joolery".
However, Lady Bracknell has now wandered from the point that she was originally intending to make. Which was, that although her viewing tastes are of a nature so catholic as perhaps to surprise some of her regular readers, there is a category of programming so deplorable in its implications that she will watch it no more.
Lady Bracknell refers to those programmes which are designed to belittle those who are featured in them. She will not sully the pages of her blog with their real names, but readers will no doubt recognise them from the list of alternative titles below:
- Your Slovenly Approach to Housekeeping is Disgusting
- Your Personal Hygiene Leaves Much to be Desired
- Your Stoutness of Figure is Morally Reprehensible
- Your Personal Taste in Home Decor is Risible
- Your Choice of Clothing Demonstrates Beyond Doubt That You Are A Foolish Individual
- You are to be Pitied for Looking Older Than Your Chronological Age.
If we derive entertainment from witnessing personal attacks from sniping women - and it is always women - on members of the public who are innocent of any genuine wrongdoing, but who simply fail in some small way to meet the modern "values" imposed upon them by the media, are we any better than the peasants of yester year who were happy to throw rotten vegetables at those of their number who had been put in the stocks? Is this not the modern equivalent of the pleasure engendered in Roman citizens from observing Christians being thrown to the lions? Lady Bracknell's familiarity with the German tongue is not great, but she believes that the word schadenfreude would not be out of place in this context.
Lady Bracknell urges her readers to consciously refrain from watching such programmes. She firmly believes that one's moral integrity is one's greatest asset, and that the potential of such forms of "entertainment" to wreak insidious havoc upon it cannot be over-estimated. The law rightly no longer permits us to mock persons of a different skin colour or religious creed; those who are physically or mentally enfeebled; or those who exhibit a preference for same-gender relationships. That the implementation of such legislation should lead the producers of television programmes to find other innocent targets for subjection to public abuse is, in Lady Bracknell's considered opinion, a sad reflection on the inherent baseness of human nature.
This is not to say that there are no legitimate targets for one's scorn. Persons who exhibit idleness, dishonesty, selfish behaviours, moral misconduct, excessive vulgarity, want of consideration towards others, etc, are richly deserving of criticism. Lady Bracknell's own rule of thumb - and it is one which has served her well - is that behaviours which indicate a lack of moral fibre are deserving of her righteous and vocal indignation. But it is singularly ill-bred to pass comment on personal characteristics which cannot be helped and which are not indicative of any moral weakness.
Lady Bracknell has advised her editor to pay close attention to the "comments" facility, as she anticipates that what she has written here is likely to provoke responses from her readers.