Tuesday, 23 November 2010

It's a jungle out there - let's talk TV

Well, it is for some people, eh?

I know it may not seem relevant to my blog but I think it's important that I point out, without of course piling any more pressure on the lady, that the fall-down act on live TV was just that; I've never seen a faint so badly played out (in my professional opinion). As I said with the BBC's amazing 'Helicopter Heroes' filming of the resuscitation of a cardiac arrest that took place on camera - that it was a brilliant educational tool, I say the same about I'm a Celebrity, Get me out of here's Gillian McKeith and her fantastic display of on-the-edge anxiety neurosis pertaining to bugs, spiders, all food except the stuff she eats, cigarette smoke in the open air and... well, it would seem, everything! This is a grown woman with a 'PhD' whose job involves looking at other people's faeces in order to inform them about their bad dietary habits! She can't stand ants but she's okay with your poo?

The world has gone mad and the evidence is being played out on television as society tries to get to grips with real problems, like whole countries going bust. Her behaviour reminds me of the very worst people who call ambulances. They are not dying people - they have emotional, psychological and social problems that manifest as fears that go way beyond reasonable discussion or debate with any person other than those who pander to it, support it and sympathise with it, thus making their world much more tangible than ours. You simply cannot go through your entire life behaving like this every time a fly passes by or an accidental bit of ham gets caught in your salad.

People like this are running away from their responsibilities I think because they use these 'moments' to justify shutting down until everything they are being asked to face goes away - taken away I should add, by other people who do the 'bad' stuff for them. We have young men and women coming back in boxes from Afghanistan for Pete's sake; try not to make your life seem hard and pressured when they have paid that price for you to have the freedom to be able to be on programmes like this and to get yourself further ahead than everyone else by doing almost nothing to earn it.

And before you start getting all hot and bothered about my frankness here, I would ask why it is that the woman agreed to take part in a programme that (a) is filmed in a jungle, (b) is, by definition of (a), going to involve creepies and crawlies (and that's not the contestants) and (c) is famous for making people eat live things? It's like taking part in a climbing expedition to Everest with a fear of heights, only to disclose that fear when you are at the foothills.

My point? Well, unless we get a grip, we are going to be over-run by people who insist that their silly little fears and behaviours, such as fake-fainting to escape responsibility, are much more important than those bigger issues that we are tackling - starving kids, rising unemployment, whole countries having to beg and borrow to survive. I will be berated, once again, by the do-gooders out there and, yes, it's only TV but it is teaching our kids something; it is saying that it's okay to behave like that, even as a grown up because you will be able to get off with it and other people will love you and take care of you, so you don't need to face anything yourself.

Nobody respects that woman - you can see it on their faces on the programme. That's what happens when you live your life like this. People have genuine phobias and genuine reasons to faint. It's an insult to them for her to behave like this because true phobias can be controlled and dealt with and those with them avoid the triggers at all costs. They do not go into jungles with a fear of everything that has more than two legs.

Please, Gillian, behave yourself. If you are acting to win the show, then that's an even bigger disgrace. At least Nigel Havers had the decency to leave - he was honest about it all from the start. And sort out your accent. Are you Scottish, English or some kind of American? It's embarrassing to hear you speak.

Be safe.


Anonymous said...

Good post - but before we get wrapped up in the fact she has a 'PhD', the blog by Dr. Ben Goldacre, bad science, poo-pooed her qualifications by obtaining some of the same accreditation by post, for his cat.


coyote said...

Googled her; sounds like it might be a publicity stunt. The Wikipedia entry on her makes her sound pretty flaky anyway. Another one for the "reasons not to watch TV" file.

Wendy said...

Actually, she doesn't even have a Phd. She bought it mail order in the States.

Astarte said...

Big thumbs up for this one! I'm sure it's what we were all thinking - someone just needed the guts to say it! ;-)

Max said...

She doesn't have a PhD. She's just a weirdo who decided to extract money from the gullible by talking about poo. Ben Goldacre has some funny articles on his badscience.net site dealing with the peculiar Ms McKieth.

Anonymous said...

For more about McKeith's PhD, her nutritional advice and scientific credibility I suggest you look at her Wikipedia entry.


Anonymous said...

Frankly, as someone with a real phobia of needles, I have very little sympathy for those who, knowing that they're that afraid of something, expose themselves to it so they can react and get attention. I'm working my behind off to overcome my fear of needles (I've been working at it, at least fifteen hours a week for the past three years, and I've made huge progress in that time, but I still have a lot further to go), and I'm not at all unsympathetic to those who are suffering from phobias: Frankly, being exposed to your phobia, if your phobia is bad enough, is more traumatic than being in a near-death situation. I know because I've been in both types of situations (near-fatal asthma a few times as a child, and I was attacked by someone with a knife once), and when my phobia was at its worst, I would have preferred to be facing the psycho with a knife again over getting a needle - that's how irrational a phobia is. It might seem silly to those who don't deal with it, but a phobia does cause very real distress and emotional trauma.

That said, if you're stupid enough to knowingly go somewhere that has the source of your phobia without preparation, you get what comes. She's just dumb. And frankly, if she acted it out, she's even dumber. She needs a good smack upside the head, and maybe should be sent somewhere where people deal with issues that deserve to be on the news, and made to help out there for six months to a year so she can get some perspective on herself. There are more important things in life than one woman's neuroses.

And I say that as someone with a phobia of my own.

Anonymous said...

Hehe she also threatened to sue Ben Goldacre for outing her as a fraud...

Anonymous said...

What a post! Funnily enough I was wondering what your professional opinion would be on her faint at the time, and once again you have come up trumps. It would be excellent if you could break into some kind of journalistic commentary in the papers - do a few paramedic shifts on the bank to keep the anecdotes fresh, and fund a medical degree with the journalism money, ha! Keep up the good work,


Mjolinir said...

//anxiety neurosis pertaining to . . . well, it would seem, everything!//

I recall a number of 'cases' some years ago that mainly featured young(ish) ladies who had "20th Century disease" or 'total allergy syndrome'

A local Company made quite good maoney by 'testing for' and 'diagnosing', such conditions

Anonymous said...

What utterly feeble and childish behaviour by that attention seeking shrew of a woman. Thos eof us in the know (and many others who are lay-people) can see those "faints" for what they are. But what annoys me is the "medic" who rushes to her aid... with Oxygen... what possible use is that going to be. Since when does Oxygen make any difference to a simple faint, real or otherwise. I can't wait to see her "hyperventilating", that will be a classic.

ManchesterMedic said...

She didnt need oxygen, she needed a good old red airway ;-)

Eileen said...

I believe she's from Perth - Scotland, not any of the others. In case you didn't know. My daughter knows school-friends of hers. Sorry - acquaintances.

wv - reptie, relation of hers maybe?