David Baddiel: Social Media and Anger (BBC2)
ITV’s Strictly The Real Full Monty
David Bowie predicted it all.
Back when the rest of us were struggling to type ‘LOL’ and ‘OMG’ into text messages, the pop chameleon foresaw the nightmare of social media.
‘I think the potential of what the internet is going to do to society, both good and bad, is unimaginable,’ he told Jeremy Paxman in a 1999 Newsnight interview.
‘It’s an alien lifeform…it’s just landed here. ‘We’re on the cusp of something exhilarating and terrifying . . . The content is going to be so different from anything we can envisage.’
David Baddiel (comedian) discovered the prophecy. Social Media, Anger And Us (BBC2)His pacy and punchy analysis on how internet chat has fuelled Britain’s constant seething anger is titled “The Pacy Punctual Analysis of Online Chat”.
Baddiel started his documentary in Essex by going to Smithy (a builder) and his family. The couple became brief celebrities with several silly TikTok videos.
Sadly, he didn’t play the end of the clip, where Bowie revealed his contempt for the Prime Minister of the time, Tony Blair.
To collect a Brit award from Blair in 1996, Bowie had worn a dog collar and stiletto heels: ‘He didn’t notice.’
Labelling social media as an ‘alien lifeform’ is apt, because it constantly changes shape — and it casually destroys lives like a Martian with a ray gun.
Baddiel started his documentary visiting Smithy (a Essex-based builder) and his family. They became briefly famous with a series of short, silly videos on a social media app called TikTok — shots of family fun, bouncing on trampolines or splashing water about.
Those innocent images infuriated some viewers so much that, one night last July, two men firebombed Smithy’s car.
Their house was destroyed by the fire. The internet’s Vitriol is now spilling into their real lives.
Baddiel’s 20-year-old daughter Dolly, talking for the first time about her battle with anorexia, said the poison online surrounding the illness affected her badly.
‘Social media made it much more difficult for me to recover,’ she said.
Her father admits he’s addicted to Twitter. He cannot stop sending messages to his 787,000 Twitter followers. Even though he feels better, he is happier if he doesn’t use the site.
An MRI scan saw his brain light up with anxiety and paranoia as he was bombarded with Twitter abuse — real messages sent by strangers who despise him.
‘What exactly am I getting out of this,’ he wondered, ‘apart from lasting trauma?’
We’ve heard a lot about the threat social media presents through fake news. But what of the serious risks to an individual’s safety and mental health?
These are very dangerous. These sites can cause harm to people. Facebook, Instagram, the rest, are all electronic drugs that should be dealt with as such.
Social media can do good, too, but when it comes to public health campaigns — raising awareness of the signs of cancer, for instance — TV does it better.
Great fuss is made about how reluctant some celebrities on ITV’s Strictly The Real Full Monty are to bare their bits, but the truth is some just can’t wait.
Ashley Banjo is back in Strictly The Real Full Monty (ITV) Ten other celebs strip to inspire us to inspect our bodies.
Great fuss is made about how reluctant they are to bare their bits, but the truth is some just can’t wait. Duncan James of Blue, an ex-boy-bander was seen wearing a faux leopard skin thong just before the credits started rolling.
Many have survived cancer while others lost their loved ones due to it. All of these people were feeling very emotional.
It’s hard to hide how tacky the basic concept is. It boils down to a hen-night for a great cause.
If you don’t enjoy watching soap actors and Love Islanders dance like nightclub dancers then the majority of the program is not for you.
But anything that helps to save lives can’t be a bad thing.