Magazine article The Spectator

Grinning Idiot

Magazine article The Spectator

Grinning Idiot

Article excerpt

Easily the best thing that has happened to me recently was being called a warthog on TV by Charlie Brooker.

At least that's what I heard from people who'd seen Newswipe (BBC4 - http: //is. gd/ vztj). But it turned out I was just one of a number of hacks illustrating a point about opinion pieces written by people 'grinning like idiots, or looking constipated, or pulling embarrassing warthog scowls'.

I worship Brooker. You might not have heard of him because he writes for the Guardian, but he has been doing more TV of late - ScreenWipe, then Newswipe always worth catching, because it's so pungent with loathing for the medium.

It's a privilege granted very few of us to be able to crap on our professions from within.

No matter how free a spirit you are, there are certain rules you have to obey: headmasters can't do pills or go clubbing; policemen have to make out like it's nice and fun being asked directions by members of the public; TV people are obliged to act as if their careers are worthwhile and they still have standards.

Brooker doesn't play this game. Crunch time will come, I suppose, if ever he gets asked to appear in Comic Relief. I like to think he'd do what poor Jeremy Vine should have done when some lamebrain came up with the truly evil idea of having him present last year's Euro elections dressed up as a cowboy and talking in a Texan accent: reach for his flamethrower and torch everything in the vicinity, with luck including that bear with the patch over his eye.

Like all the best critics - e. g. , me - Brooker understands that TV is a medium now so debauched and debased, created by people of such vile cynicism, controlled by loons of such unutterable wrongheadedness that hatred and despair and bitter laughter are the only reasonable responses.

Take BBC2's recent The Speaker. …

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