Mike Hosking: Jeremy Kyle outrage shows how fake we are

Author
Mike Hosking,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 11:02AM
'It's a programme remind you that shows no matter what is going on in your life, it's no where near as bad as these people. But now that we have tragedy, we have outrage.'

COMMENT

From our “night follows day” file, comes the current tumult engulfing The Jeremy Kyle Show. One of the guests died after appearing on the show. He's a grandfather who failed a lie detector test.

If you know nothing of Kyle you don’t need to, I too have the good fortune never to have seen an episode. But I confess to having seen Jerry Springer, who I assume the show is based on.

It requires a series of weirdos, freaks, nutjobs, and attention seekers to come on, confess a lot, fight a lot, break down in tears and generally remind you that no matter what is going on in your life, it's no where near as bad as them. If we are to be honest about it, it’s a miracle no one has died before this.

It's a programme of ritual humiliation, embarrassment, shame, and I would have thought you were dealing with fairly fragile people to start with.

But now that we have tragedy, we have outrage. Yes, the 2019 response to all matters we should have dealt with, but didn’t. ITV have cancelled taping shows, a review is underway, past episodes have been wiped off their on-demand player. And out have come the usual suspects demanding heads and investigations.

"Bear-baiting" is what some are calling it. They want the show canned forever. If Kyle had a Queens Honour there would be a call for it to be stripped as well.

Why are we like this? Why are we always this way?

Given the world of calamity that seemingly surrounds us, the endless campaigns for equality, kindness, MeToo, Times Up, Women's rights, gender fluidity, and every other PC cause soaking our current circumstances, why then is no one spotting the obvious train-wrecks waiting  to happen and looking to get to the edge of the cliff before something, or someone goes over?

Or in this case is the outrage foe? Which is our other pre-occupation these days. We care no more about a lot of stuff than we ever did, but we love a good whine, whinge, dose of upset, and session of finger pointing. Or is it we are embarrassed?

Jeremy Kyle is seen here. TVNZ says it's going to continue to show the programme, which I guess is at least an honest answer, as opposed to the hysteria currently gripping the British press and chattering classes.

But like so much of what we say we want to do, like changing the way social media works, the simple truth we don’t like to face, is things are the way they are because of us.

Kyle is into its 16th season. Very few programmes live that long, and when they do it's because there is demand, we love it.

Springer went for 27 seasons. 3891 episodes of people marrying cousins, sleeping with aliens, cheating on their wives, or brothers, or step mothers. We love the weirdness, we pretend we hate it, but then we lap it up and get all upset when it all goes awry.

If we are truly upset, why leave it till it's too late? If we are only upset because it's fashionable, at least lets see the hypocrisy for what it is. Either way neither approach is particularly impressive.

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