...a blog by Richard Flowers

Friday, June 09, 2006

Day 1982: Hip Hop; Flip Flop


It's all been such good news for Mr Balloon recently that he must be rather upset that suddenly he's having a bit of a time.

It is probably to do with things coming to a head about his ONLY PROMISE – you remember, the one to his Conservatory gang that he would pull their MEPs out of the European People's Party because they were too SOFT. He has to come up with a DECISION about whether to BREAK his promise or to go ahead even though the MEPs don't want to go.

It's a tricky one isn't it, especially if you're not good at decisions.

So he has sent Mr Vague off to Europe to go and take the blame take the decision take a message of warm happiness to them for him.

In the meantime, Mr Balloon has MUCH more important things to do than KEEP HIS WORD.

He has put his thinking cap on and come up with a brand new wheeze about the subject of violent crime and decided to lay all the blame squarely on… Radio 1.

Mr Balloon says that this is an example of his courage(!):

"the courage to speak up when you see something that is wrong" despite the fact that "you will get a lot of bricks thrown at you".

Other examples of Mr Balloon's bravery:

"I put a glass tumbler over that spider in the bathroom, despite the fact it was quite big and hairy."


"I'm not afraid to eat the last sticky bun, despite the fact that it IS my wife's birthday."

Mind you, if he WAS being BRAVE, you would have thought that he might have MENTIONED something to them when he was ACTUALLY ON Radio 1 at the start of this year.

It's all a bit of an about face since the early days when he was SUCH a "hip and with it" young thing.

Is it possible that Mr Balloon is not as "down with the kids" as he appeared to be when appearing on Live FM and telling them:

"This is a great project, this is a great community, keep backing it, keep it real."

In those days Mr Balloon LOVED the "youf culture" and even had a little bit of "dangerous rock-n-roll" on desert island i-pod.

Ah, well, if you're on a desert island you're going to need flip flops.

But IS claiming that SCARY SONGS cause VIOLENT CRIME really so very brave? Even if you ARE being confronted by the editor of GOOD HOUSEKEEPING?

And this may come as a shock to Mr Balloon, but the idea that music or films or television are somehow to blame for violence in society is NOT, in fact, very ORIGINAL.

Almost since the first caveman started banging the rocks together, a Mary Whitehouse was there to say that this new-fangled rock-banging would lead to the end of cave-civilisation.

Politicians love to bang on about it being the fault of the DREADFUL things that young people listen to / watch / play. The trouble is, it seems that evidence to prove this is elusively hard to find.

Here is an interesting address on the subject, to the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association in 1999 by Stuart Fischoff, Ph.D. (GREAT NAME, by the way!)

Doctor Fischoff says in particular:

"How many of you here are familiar with the research by Stanley Milgram, William McGuire, Ron Milavsky, Jonathan Freedman, Dolf Zillmann, Jennings Bryant, and dozens of others whose research doesn’t support the media-violence connection?"


"The only study of which I’m aware which purportedly dealt with real violent crime was the Huesmann and Eron study on cumulative effects of TV watching and real-world criminality. In their study, however, watching violent TV did not correlate with real-world violence or criminality when measured concurrently at ages 8 and 30. No, it correlated with violence watching at eight and criminal behavior at 30. "

Blaming "the media" for violence is really NOT very brave after all. It turns out that it is a bit of a LAZY CLICHÉ and not one that is very well supported by real PROOF.

(How VERY unlike Mr Balloon that must sound!)

Mr Balloon isn't REALLY going to get bricks thrown at him for saying this: it is more like he's joining the crowd throwing the stones!

I do hope he does not live in a glass house!

Or as my Daddy Alex might say:

"Kids Today, eh!" snorts posh young fogey…

Not exactly "Man bites Dog", is it?

1 comment:

Paul Gregory said...

Ah, but he appeared on R1 on a weekday. It is the niche ghetto of Saturday night R1 that he has concerns about. I rather suspect that he expected Radio 1 to be some homogenous entity - singing from the same playlist at all times.

However, this could be the solution to his flip-flopping! Have different policies for the drive-time slot than the graveyard shift! It's Tuesday, it must be higher taxes!