Over the past couple of days I've seen some truly interesting TV which is quite a novelty as rarely watch it.
The first was a documentary on John Peel. Many people felt he was a one off, he had a deep love of music that allowed him to listen to a broad range of music and appreciate it on it's own merits and to not be swayed by popular opinion. They talked about his honesty, his lack of ego and good mannered desire to not let people, whether they were listeners or musicians, down. And they talked again about how he was a one off. I'm not so sure. Certainly I have a lot of respect for John Peel, the way he behaved and what he did, but one off? It just didn't seem right somehow, and then it struck me, in the industry John Peel worked he probably was a one off. In the short time I've been alive I have met some pretty horrible people as well as those who were sometimes nice sometimes not so nice, I've also met some honest genuine people with firm ideals that they've stood by. In rightly mourning the passing of John Peel it seems the entertainment industry has admitted that it's heavily populated by the kind of people I wouldn't want to know.
Tonight on TV I saw Men Who Stare at Goats, a documentary by Jon Ronson who also did Them, both available as books. It seems that members of the US military believe that man can walk through walls, kill with a look and control the minds of other men. Like Louis Theroux (where are you Louis?) Ronson lets the subject talk and rarely undermines them, the theory presumably being to either get them to open up and talk more honestly rather than making them close up in the face of skepticism, it also gives them enough rope to hang themselves. Seeing as I have a slight interest in things unusual but no great belief in them I am reasonably open minded to the oddness that the people on documentary came out with. In the end what was so bizarre was that these strange ideas were coming from the minds of men who are seen to be incredibly rational by the general public. Because of the military mindset it seemed that these people, once they had accepted the possibility of supernatural powers, were intent on pursuing it with an astonishing lack of skepticism and sanity. I think I'll have to buy the book.
Not all was enjoyable in the land of popular entertainment. Last night my wife and I saw Bad Santa, and though I can recommend the film (hard viewing in places and rather upsetting, the inspired choice of director turned what could have been a schmaltzy corny 'gross out comedy' into a dark and surprisingly human bitter comedy) I was appalled by the trailer for 'taxi' due to it's reliance on stick thin women in very little clothing doing their best to look like low class prostitutes. It's not just women, men in the entertainment industry don't need much convincing to get undressed or to appeal to the more base aspects of the audience and frankly it's not only dull but it's not even arousing, let's face it there's nothing genuine about the cynical displays of flesh adorning the average 'lads' mag, music video or film. It's pathetic and I hate it.