Oct 20

Fresh from a nice bit of twisting the knife about a young man’s death, the Daily Mail has seen fit to write an article about how the X-Factor is…now, you might want to sit down for this one, take a deep breath and prepare to be shocked…staged. Faked. Not actually a talent competition, but a polished, edited, made-up-in-advance product. I know, I know. When you’ve stopped crying and your ears have stopped ringing from the sound of your world collapsing around you, here’s the article itself. Be strong.

Thermians from Galaxy Quest

Above: What the Daily Mail thinks TV viewers look like.

Was there ever, in the entire history of human civilization, an article that needed to be written less than this one? Are we really so stunted, so stupid, so unable to see the plain facts in front of our noses that we need some journo from a sixth-rate rag to tell us that the X-Factor is fake? So you’re telling me that Leonard Nimoy has normal ears? What about that spherical robot on Terrahawks, did he steal Windsor Davies’ voicebox or not? Is Salma Hayek a vampire? It’s a world gone mad. Who knows what is real and what isn’t? Here’s a hint – generally, what you see on TV isn’t. It’s edited. It’s perfected. Usually, it’s scripted in advance so they have some idea of what they’re going to be broadcasting (I don’t think “Surprise TV” is going to be the next big thing – will it be an episode of Casualty, or someone reading Heat magazine for an hour?).

Honest to god, it annoys me that people can be so dumb. This is why we have adverts that have to stress that parts of what we are seeing IN AN ADVERT might be made up to make the product look good. Anyone who’s not a blithering halfwit knows that when you open a jar of face cream a cloud of particles don’t come flying out like hyperactive nanobots to be smoothly absorbed into your cheeks. You just get a slight smell of face cream that reminds you of your gran. In the adverts, though, we need to be told that bits have been dramatized, enhanced in post-production etc. Oh, really. Thanks.

While it annoys me that some people can be so dumb as to fall for this tripe, what really gets to me is the manufactured outrage when they do, and the pandering that’s done to avoid it happening again. Do I think the X-Factor is a genuine talent competition? No. I think it’s a very heavily edited show that’s about as realistic as an episode of Mork and Mindy. It’s entertaining, don’t get me wrong, but if you think it’s about talent then you’re…well, wrong is about the most diplomatic thing I can think to say. I also don’t think that women phone one another up and say “Hut?” once they’ve dropped the kids off at school, that Cheryl Cole’s hair is really worth it or that fitting a ninth blade to the Gilette Slashatron 2000 will give me a better shave than the razor I have now. Why is that? Because when you take into account all the autonomic functions my body needs to stay alive, I have at least one brain cell left over for thinking duties.