Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Creating Losers to Feed Jackals.

There’s a new programme started on the BBC in which four identical bedrooms in an apartment block are given over to four interior designers who are charged with revamping them. At the end of the show each designer's work is judged and one of the four is eliminated, leaving the other three to move onto a more demanding project. The process is repeated until one designer is left, and that person is declared the winner.

Isn’t this a bit cruel and so typical of the modern approach to everything? Over the course of the series, three of those people will suffer the public ignominy of being told ‘You’re a loser. Go.’

When did we become so obsessed with holding people up as losers, instead of celebrating the different skills, tastes and values each one brings to a project? And why has so august an institution as the BBC fallen into the trap of this nasty little trend? If we have to be competitive about a creative endeavour – which always struck me as both pointless and stupid – why not let all the designers work on all the projects, and then allocate marks for each one and only announce the winner. Wouldn’t that be more humane, more reasonable, and all the more enjoyable for so being?

(The jackals of the title, by the way, refer to those people who get pleasure from seeing other people lose and be humiliated, a type to which a programme like this seems designed to appeal.)

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