So many people appear to enjoy bullying that it appears that it will never stop. Of course it’s the bullies and the spectators who enjoy it but even so do some victims it would appear – given that it gains them some time on TV. Bullying has become a popular aspect of some TV programmes, Strictly Come Dancing, X Factor and Weakest link to name but three. In ‘Strictly’ and the X Factor the judges appear to take delight in harshly criticising the contestants for any errors they may make and it would seem the harsher the better – for the viewing figures that is. The judges appear to relish infamy as much as fame. Those starry-eyed but lacking in real talent entrants to X Factor make excellent targets for ridicule and harsh criticism for their ineptitudes – some having been chosen for the very role of the butt of criticism that they are innocently performing. Anne Robinson takes great delight in criticising contestants in The Weakest Link whether it’s for their appearance, dress, occupation, belief or whatever. The sad thing is the contestants gladly take part so that they can get close to, and possibly share some ‘banter’, with the programmes dominatrix. They just love being ridiculed.
Some may say that ‘it’s just harmless fun’. But is it? Is it alright for individuals to put themselves in the position of ‘victim’ of TV celebrities? Is it just ‘a bit of fun’? Is it just ‘friendly banter’ which is of no significance or consequence? It may not end when the programme ends either. It could be that the jibes and torments continue when the luckless victims go home to their families or get back to work.
There would appear to be no real ‘victims’ as these victims have volunteered. These contestants haven’t been forced to enter – they’ve volunteered! Perhaps it is an indication of the ignominy some are prepared to suffer for the sake of their fifteen minutes of fame. However, perhaps there are those within the audience and viewers who are adversely affected. What message is given to the bullies who watch the programmes? Does it imply that bullying is OK? Is it possible that some viewers may be unable to differentiate between ‘banter’ and cruel comment? Where is the line drawn between the two? Is it the same for everyone? Do such programmes do anything to enhance the way members of a society view and/or respect each other? What message(s) do such programmes offer young and immature viewers? Is it just ‘good fun’ or is it bullying?