"Art is not a mirror with which to reflect the world; it is a hammer with which to shape it"

Friday, 21 September 2007

Feel Good Hit Of The Summer

Today, we’re doing, whisper it, drugs. Actually, we’re not but I thought I’d just blatantly pique your curiosity to get you hooked. Recently, yet another ‘supermodel’* has been caught out by yet another rag over alleged cocaine misuse. Fair enough you may say: naughty girl, been a bit stupid, got caught out. However, it was discussed on daytime television the other day, where a well-spoken ‘media commentator’ said something along the lines of ‘while it’s alright for models and media types to do some coke at dinner parties from time to time it’s totally different for people on council estates and housing projects…’

…now, maybe I missed something in his preamble or a measure of sarcasm but it was all too easy to believe he was being serious as this is not the first time I’ve heard various celebrities, media commentators and such like express such views in magazines and on TV.

I doubt I really have to expound why this annoyed me but I will anyway. At its heart, in each time this view is expressed, there is a tacit arrogance and elitism that harks back to an 18th or 19th Century of rakes and dandies. Surely, if it’s bad for people on council estates it’s bad for supermodels, actors and media commentators? What makes a girl whose only claim to fame is her looks so much better at handling narcotics than someone who lives on a council estate? Especially since that very model might have been plucked from that self-same council estate!

I’m not after debating the rights and wrongs of cocaine (or any other drug): I’ve not tried it and I’ve no desire to. (Anyway, I have chronic hayfever so I’d probably end up re-enacting that scene in Annie Hall!) However, do not such attitudes reinforce the perception that there is a ‘them and us’ situation; an elitism where certain elements believe themselves better than or above and detached from the wider public, exempt from the rules and laws that might be enforced on the ‘lower orders’ as was?

Chris Morris’ work has increasingly become less funny but as a chronicler of and commentator on modern mores and morals he has been perceptive. Every time I hear such views on drugs as above I always think of his dialogue from Brasseye:

“Luckily the amount of heroin I use is harmless; I inject about once a month on a purely recreational basis, fine, but what about other people: less stable, less educated, less middle class than me: builders or blacks, for example. If you’re one of those my advice to you is leave well alone.”

Here endeth today’s lesson...

*What Superpowers do these people have? Can they fly? Do they have X-ray vision? Enormous strength? All in all as Superheroes go they’re quite a disappointment really!


Annie Rhiannon said...

"While it’s alright for models and media types to do some coke at dinner parties from time to time it’s totally different for people on council estates and housing projects…"

I can't believe that was anything but sarcasm. God, maybe it was.

Jon Peacey said...

I hoped it was sarcasm but, in a context where I've heard similar remarks made in all seriousness, it's all too easy to believe it wasn't.