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“Grunt, urggh, Susan Boyle,” says UK resident

Has TV made us barbarians – Paxman thinks so?

Published on June 1st 2009.


“Grunt, urggh, Susan Boyle,” says UK resident
Yes: - 80%
No: - 20%

Good old Jezzer Paxman has described the British public as ‘barbarians’ who are too busy working to find time to appreciate art.

This is because of the baleful box in the corner of the room.

That bloody TV.

At Hay Festival of Literature during a talk on Victorian art he’s reported as saying: "Watching TV is the most popular leisure activity in this country now. I find this very depressing. Very depressing, indeed. I think that is a real problem.While people apparently have leisure time in greater quantities and book leisure time to go on holiday and so on, they have less time just to drop into an art gallery or museum. At work people are expected to be at the beck and call of employers all the time. You have Blackberries and other things, and they just don't leave you alone. I think that the basic problem is that we are all a bunch of barbarians really."

Funny man our £1m-earning BBC bod. We love his bolshy attitude to guests on Newsnight but he appears to be gnawing at the hand that feeds him on this one. His life-style and his freedom to say what he thinks is subsidised by TV.

Nor does it help his case that he uttered his barbarian slur whilst promoting his latest (and very good) book on Victorian art. A book which has been televised to good audiences on BBC2 that were as high as those, or higher, than most screenings of the latest Big Brother.

Some Britons rush for the next auditions of Britain’s Got Talent

Paxman’s also not done his sums. More people use galleries now then have ever done. More importantly more people from all backgrounds use galleries than ever: audiences are not just a narrow-profile of the middle-class.

Fact: we have just about the highest museum and art gallery attendance in the European Union.

Then again you can’t help having some sympathy: especially with the drivel on ITV1 at present, and the endless reality TV shows. Most of it is mindless pap. But we don’t have to watch do we?

For many reasons Confidential thinks Paxman got it badly wrong on this occasion.

What you do think? Vote on the homepage.

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9 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Bill Hicks got it rightJune 1st 2009.

Go back to bed America, your government is in control. Here, here's American Gladiators. Watch this, shut up, go back to bed America, here is American Gladiators, here is 56 channels of it! Watch these pituitary retards bang their ****ing skulls together and congratulate you on the living in the land of freedom. Here you go America - you are free to do what well tell you! You are free to do what we tell you!

jackJune 1st 2009.

He's right though isn't he...Big brother dominates he media agenda and all the tabloids and still gets less viewers than naturewatch- the longer we measure our lives in terms of the tabloids the longer we are ****ed...

BenJune 1st 2009.

In my opinion its not the television thats the problem, it's the people who allow themselves to become mindless drones to it in the first place! We all have the ability to pick and choose what we watch and when we watch it, it doesn't take much brainpower to switch a channel! And if your argument is that rubbish dominates most of the channels - put on a ruddy dvd for christs sake or get out and enjoy the great outdoors!

A Level Media StudiesJune 1st 2009.

Check out Marie Winn's excellent "Plug-in Drug". 20+ years on and it still rings true.

lucky-chrisJune 1st 2009.

"Stop watching so much television" says television presenter Jeremy Paxman....

BenJune 1st 2009.

Yes there is a certain irony. Perhaps he's planning a career move?

BoredofitallJune 1st 2009.

I love Paxman. Fact.

Michelangelo BuonarottiJune 1st 2009.

Agree with you Jezza, a mob of at least 19 million Philistines in this country now. I wouldn't mind betting it is a similar figure that reads the red tops. Tall poppy syndrome is alive and well too, imported from Australia. Those 19mill will all have children. What cultural hope for them? How low will this country sink in the future? How far will the TV stations have to "dumb down" their programmes. It is very frightening.

AnonymousJune 1st 2009.

And now science believes that TV causes a learning lag in children: www.livescience.com/…/1-infants-television.html…

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