Friday, March 18, 2005

BBC2's Castrato Academy - "Child Abuse" says UNICEF

castrato academy 3
Extreme marketing to capture the 'yoof' demographic

The BBC is facing increased pressure from the child concern organisation, UNICEF to cancel the new series of its controversial arts show ‘Castrato Academy’.

The BBC claims that Castrato Academy is a serious attempt to repopulate the Opera Houses of Europe with these iconic and unique singers.

The Castrato is a male singer with an artificially created soprano or alto voice. This is the result of castration in boyhood.

The combination of the larynx of a youth and the chest and lungs of a man produces a powerful voice of great range and unique sound, or as pop music, Svengali Peter Waterman described it, “a sound that can make a grown man cum in his chinos.”

Castrati were especially popular in churches and opera houses in Europe during the 17th and 18th century. The past 50 years has seen a dramatic decline in the popularity of the Castrati resulting in their officially listing as an endangered species since 1991.

The worlds most celebrated castratos are Carlo Broschi Farinelli (1705-82) and Rick Astley (1963 – 1998).

Astley: Never gonna give you up, buthappily gave them up.

The most disturbing aspect of Castrato Academy, according to UNICEF is the fact that parents happily hand their children over to the Academy often despite their child’s objection.

Castrato producer Helen Dakins defended the show this morning at a press conference held at the Royal Albert Hall, the setting for the shows finale in 10 weeks time,

“This is not just some tawdry game show,” Dakins told the amassed reporters, “this is about preserving an essential part of our world culture. If a few boys have to lose their knackers for it, that’s a really small price to pay.”

When asked how the parents could so readily hand their children over to the Academy, Datkins said, “Well, the fact is they know that their children will become famous and lead extraordinary lives. Plus, and this is always a major factor, the parents tend to make a ton of cash off them”.

A spokesperson for UNICEF described Castrato Academy as, “horrifically sick, debasing and morally vile.”

Ironically, the Head of Entertainment at BBC2, Mark Markinson, used exactly the same words when promoting the show at this morning’s press conference.

Markinson went on to add, “Not only do we get to see these boys learn to sing and perform to the best of their abilities, we also get to see them having their bollocks lobbed off. That’s true entertainment right there.”

castrato academy
BBC marketing focused on the 'no balls' gimmick

The BBC is currently pressing on with plans to air the first broadcast from the Castrato Academy as soon as April 2nd.

Nazis: Best dressers, says Vogue Magazine

vogue cover
VOGUE: Jack boot literature for the modern woman.

Controversial, US based fashion magazine, Vogue, has once again found itself at the centre of a row concerning its latest issue.

‘Nazi Wow’, as the magazine describes its March issue, has been condemned by Jewish communities around the globe as being, ‘hatefully insensitive’.

In particular the Holocaust Survivor group and the Jewish Defence League have taken most offence at an article entitled ‘Nazi uniforms worth queuing at the showers for’, written by lead columnist and part-time actor Jennifer Lopez.

The article describes how the 1940s German Nazi Party and in particular the SS, were ‘snappy’ dressers, and despite the horrific wave of genocide they inflicted across Europe, targeting Jews, Blacks, Gipsies and Homosexuals, the article claims, “who could not be impressed by their threads”.

Lopez suggests that their horrific level of murder was only possible because they were so fashionably focused, and that the allies, whom Lopez describes as, ‘typically scruffy, sack cloth lovers’ could really have done with an ‘SS’ eye for lines, fabrics and colours.

This is the second time this year Vogue has found itself at the centre of a moral outrage regarding its ‘extreme’ fashion ethic. Its January cover declared the magazine to be a self proclaimed ‘Lover of Child Skin’, the new fashion trend of buying the ‘back skin’ from the children of a socially deprived immigrant worker.

The skin is removed from the child and then is dyed and twisted. The procedure inevitably leads to the death of the child. The wearer wraps the ‘Child Skin’ around the neck like a scarf.

‘Child Skin’ has become all the rage with the social elite in the US, with celebrities including Sarah Jessica Parker and Paris Hilton spotted as recently as Monday, wearing ‘Child skin’ at the premier of the new Robin Williams comedy, ‘Hotel Rwanda’.

In a related story, the computer game publishing giant, Activision, faces mounting pressure to remove it’s new management simulation game: Death Camp Commandant, from game store shelves around the country.

death camp
Run your own concentration camp, for fun.

Death Camp Commandant, a so-called ‘God game’ is similar in playing style to recent blockbuster management games, ‘Al Qaeda Cell Master’, and 'Israel Suicide Bomber’.

Death Camp Commandant gives players an entire ‘Auschwitz’ size concentration camp to run as efficiently as possible, with the ultimate goal being the eradication of what the game describes as the, ‘Jewish question’.

Rob Thomas, Head of PR at Activision, defended the companies game by claiming this was part of the natural evolution of the holocaust into mainstream entertainment. “If you are going to point the finger at Activision, I suggest you point it at Spielberg first. It was Spielberg that proved the genocide can sell in a big way, and at the same time can be educational."

Thomas went onto add that Spielberg’s 1993 smash hit drama, Schindler’s List, “legitimised the holocaust and thus paved the way for Death Camp Commandant”.

Whether Activisions argument holds water or not, it is certainly true that the depiction of the death of ten million people during the Second World War at the hands of the Nazi Party has increasingly become a staple of what we find acceptable as entertainment. Nothing, it appears, is too horrific to keep us entertained for a couple of hours, whether it be the well meaning Schindler’s List or the Robin William movie, Jakob the Liar.

If this is the case then Vogue and Activision are surely just reflecting our culture, not defining it.

Dowling gutted like a haddock: LIVE

cec Dowling2
"Thank God" says Norton.

As Peter Weller of the famed 80’s pop group The Jam (and star of the 1985 movie Robocop) once sang, “The people get what the people want”, what the people wanted this evening was for the death of Brian Dowling, former star of Big Brother.

Securing only 4% of the overall vote meant that Dowling (34) became the second of 10 contestants from the BBC One surprise smash reality TV game show, Celebrity Euthanasia Challenge, to die live on TV.

Unlike last week’s loser, Sebastian Coe, Dowling refused to take his own life, dramatically declaring, “But the public love me, there’s always room for one more camp Irishman on TV.”

Sadly, this just was not the case and in line with the legally binding contract Dowling signed before entering the CEC house, his life became forfeit once he lost the public vote.

Dowling shot to fame only 10 months ago when he became the first ‘gay’ to win Big Brother 3. Since then, he has routinely appeared as a ‘pretend’ TV presenter on such diverse shows as ‘I’m Irish and gay, a bit like Graham Norton’, ‘How gay is your boyfriend?’ and the Montreal TV award winning, ‘More than just gay’.

During a recent interview Dowling was quoted as saying, "I’m sick of just being known by my sexuality, there’s so much more to me than that". When pressed to say exactly what more there was to him he simply replied, “I’m Irish as well.”

Unfortunately, neither his Irishness nor homosexuality could save him from the ‘death by a thousand cuts’ as decided by the production company behind CEC, Mutilated Child.

Show producer Lance Hewitt said of the shows live ‘execution’ which eventually took 45 minutes of continuous knife wounds to end Dowling’s life, “We’d have obviously preferred it if Brian had had the balls enough to top himself, but at the end of the day I guess he was just a total Gaylord”.

Hewitt quickly added, “And by that I mean a coward, obviously his sexuality has nothing to do with it, or anything. I’m totally right on with poofters and that.”

"Dowling: Straight as fuck, TPT: Dyke as hell", says FIVE

Ironically, Dowling was due to be ‘outed’ as being fake gay straight by Channel FIVE in its controversial show ‘Celebrity Outing: LIVE’, later this month. Five have yet to make a statement as to whether the Dowling episode will still air.

Coe blows his brains out: LIVE

cec Coe1
COE: First to go.

Sebastian Coe (61), former Olympic darts champion and conservative MP, became the first of ten celebrities to die live on air, following a public vote this evening, which decided his fate.

Celebrity Euthanasia Challenge, now in it’s second week has already seen the attempted suicide by TV presenter John Leslie. During a tear-shed confession, Leslie (52) tried to cut his wrists with a 20cm shatter resistant ruler whilst he talked openly of an addiction to ‘readers wives’ type pornography and a predilection for dirty underwear which he admitted he would habitually steal from his local laundrette.

He only stopped the attempt when it became apparent that the ruler was not so much cutting his wrist as just making it sore.

It was Coe however, that failed to gain enough public votes to secure his position in the CEC house for an additional week.

In line with the BBC’s extreme reality game show rules, the celebrity with the least votes faces euthanasia. In a concession to European legislation, the celebrity in question can decide to take their life in a style of their own choosing.

In a nail biting finale to this evening broadcast, Coe elected to play a round of ‘Russian roulette’, a game made famous by Christopher Walken in the 1982 Michael Winner movie The Deer Hunter.

CEC production team, Mutilated Child handed Coe a revolver gun containing five blank rounds and one live. The objective of the game is to spin the chamber and pull the trigger with the gun pointed at your head.

As Coe himself said shortly before starting the game, “At least this will delay things…well that is until my luck eventually runs out.”

Describing the ‘Kobayashi Maru’, or no win situation, as it is better known, Producer Lance Hewitt said,

“Coe was a real sport, and a dedicated showman to the very end, we couldn’t think of a more exciting conclusion to our first public vote.”

He said before adding, “it’s just a shame it was the very first pull of the trigger that had the live round in it. I’d admit that it brought proceedings to a premature ending, but then Coe always was known for being fast out of the blocks”

Coe achieved only 4% of the public vote, with media analyst suggesting that his role as a Tory MP worked against him.

“You only need to look at (Johnny) Vaughan who got the biggest slice of the votes to realise that the public would rather back an ex-con child killer than a Tory” believes Jill Hanson of the independent consultancy, Media Now! “We also noticed this week that (Gareth) Gates has gone back to using his stutter as a means to garner sympathy with the viewers, it worked in pop idol, and it seems to be working here also”

A memorial service for Coe will be held later this week. In the meantime there is a second chance to see his suicide on Thursday evenings highlight show or at the Celebrity Euthanasia Challenge official website.