Love Islands

BY LDH POWELL

So, an article by Matt Kilcoyne in The Telegraph came out in favour of ‘Love Island’, decrying the intellectual “snobbery” of quite possibly (and most likely) its own readers, and the “Twitter storm” surrounding this latest hyped-up TV offering. The premise being that ‘Love Island’ contestant applications were higher than that of applications for Oxbridge.  What’s that I hear?  carefully manicured and gaudily painted nails digging a tunnel miles below the Earth’s crust beneath the bloated barrel of facile and narcissistic laze-fest?

To use the tired cliché of parliamentary news-speak – “let’s be clear…” – pandering to the wanton scramble for the fatty bone of mediocre talent exposure through simply being bronzed and a bit “buff”, this youth must be able to flog SOMETHING.  Is this the message the ‘intellectual snobs’ should rally around as we look set to enter yet another decade of this puerile cultural disease of ‘reality TV’?  If this is reality, then it is one very selectively realised for its bodily aesthetic soft porn and it’s diametrically opposed soft brains.  The contestants sell their souls and their bodies for £200 a week for the chance of scraping up £50,000, plus scraping out whatever they pick up along the way before commanding however many hundreds of thousands in ‘earnings’ from advertising anything a person with no integrity can push onto their slobbering fans, plus whatever.

When did intellect become a dirty word?  At what point did we return to gladiatorial Rome; the bread and circuses distraction that favoured the aesthete? At least they fought to the death with deft skill and for the chance of freedom. What we have are useful tools battling it out for personal gain and fame without any discernible talent or spark of creation behind dim lit eyes.  Not, of course, that everyone applying is intellectually void; it’s a shrewd and canny strategy if you play it right.  However, are we to continue down this path of glorifying personal gain through acts of titillating the motivationally challenged?  Are we now so debased that we allow this pernicious ‘entertainment’ to infect more minds? Tempting them to to stray into ever more unrealistic ideas of self-image, of anti-intellectualism, of forever seeking validity through stupidity? Is it intellectual snobbery not to want to expose generation after generation of young adults into ever decreasing notions of what it is to work hard and be successful?  Are we to celebrate the replacement of science, engineering and entrepreneurship as career options by the promotion of instant aggrandisement, where the body and sex are the replacement for ambition of mind and spirit?

Not everyone applying for ‘Love Island’ are likely Oxbridge candidates, or indeed candidates for any university, but yet, so many could be if their minds weren’t so utterly corrupted by the manipulators of our culture.  When is the tipping point where people of intellect realise they can make more money through instant reward – by getting their kit off –  rather than studying to help enable a better world through achievements in medicine, law and other academic fields that could have meaningful impact.

I’m not saying we are losing a cure for cancer to ‘Love Island’ but how long before the allure draws in the otherwise brilliant mind?  This has nothing to do with intellectual snobbery and everything to do with anti-intellectual carrot-waving that lowers the bar for the less well-off who could so easily reach Oxbridge if they applied themselves. It’s morally bankrupt TV and the argument for such shows is, in contrast to Matt Kilcoyne’s trite conviction, to KEEP people in their place.

It’s not a “pursuit of happiness”, it’s a pursuit of low self-expectation.

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