There’s been quite a bit of moral outrage recently at the Jeremy Kyle show and that it should be removed from television permanently. I haven’t really paid attention to what has happened, as I understand it someone died and the show has been stopped from broadcasting for a while. Newspapers and social media have been very loud about how the show should be pulled completely.
Why does it take something bad to happen for people to be open about what they think is right and wrong? All of this moral outrage wasn’t there two weeks ago when the Kyle show was still on television. There wasn’t anyone loudly calling for it to be stopped. It took the death of someone for the media to declare that they thought it was a bit shit all the time. They did fuck all for many years.
This is strange. This effect that it takes a large news cycle for the media and opinion makers to declare something as bad even though it’s been around for years. What sort of behaviour is this? Where was all the complaining before something terrible happened? I’ll tell you what, it wasn’t bad enough for the media t give a shit, but that someone died before they spoke was terrible.
I have, in the past, watched a lot of Jeremy Kyle. I used to think it did some good. I thought that it helped people to talk to each other in a safe space when the rest of the world didn’t give a shit. It allowed the chance for people to communicate. I was probably wrong to think this. We shouldn’t forget that Kyle is a television show. It’s there to entertain and make money at a basic level and it probably did little to help its stars.
My biggest problem with the Kyle show was the use of a lie detector. Here was have a television show with a purported “helping people” theme and they relied on the utter bullshit that is a lie detector. The polygraph doesn’t work. It’s incredibly difficult to tell when people are lying. The TV show used the lie detector to try and solve family issues, people’s future relationships relied on the results of a flawed piece of equipment. Families will have been broken up because of the reliance on the polygraph and its results.
The idea that the show declared the truth or lies as fact was an appalling use of a bullshit piece of theatre – the polygraph. It doesn’t work. I guess the show tried to disclaimer the use of the detector with an on-screen caption saying that “it doesn’t work but some people believe it”. That’s what religion does. It’s horrific the hurt and separation using this device caused.
Do you know why polygraph results aren’t permitted in UK courts? It’s because they don’t work. It’s incredibly difficult for humans to tell when other humans are lying. I’ll let you into my reasoning.
Humans learn from toddler age that lying works. The individual will receive rewards for lying, as long as they can keep that lie going. Humans have spent their entire lives lying at times. This behaviour is learnt and used almost constantly. Little lies are easy. Larger lies are more difficult but they get easier with time. It’s amazingly easy to convince yourself that something happened when it didn’t. Human memory is terrible. Eye witnesses shouldn’t be allowed in courts but that is for another time.
I’ll give you an anecdote, which isn’t evidence, but it personalises the story and allows you to connect rather than just concentrate on the plain facts.
Years ago I ran over a pothole on a bend in the road near my village. The weather had been incredibly poor and there were potholes all over the place. The sudden compression on my left front suspension broke the spring and by the time I got to work the other spring had broken through excessive weight on it.
I tried to make a claim through the local council for the damage, claiming that the road was in poor condition. However, I didn’t want to take photographs in the road where the pothole was, it would not be safe to take measurements on that corner. So, I took photographs of a pothole just inside the village, it was of a similar size and depth and along a route that I drive. To ensure that, if questioned, I referred to the nearer pothole I kept going over the story in my head. I also visualised my driving the car over that pothole over and over. I talked through the story while walking the dog and basically formed a memory of me breaking the car by driving over the pothole near the village.
Even now, after more than ten years, if asked I would immediately respond that the pothole was in the village. I would then question myself and remember what had actually happened. With just a little understanding of human memory it is easy to adjust what we “know”. Memory is fascinating and terrible. Humans are terrible.