James Delingpole James Delingpole

Glimmer of hope

Glimmer of hope

To be honest, I haven’t been watching an awful lot of TV lately. It gets in the way of bedtime reading and an early night. You think you’re safe watching a programme at 9 p.m., which is when all the best ones are on, but that means you can’t start your pre-bed countdown (lights; cat; front and back doors; nocturnal slug-/snail-killing session; dishwasher; bath; teeth; floss; four-year-old-daughter-weeing; semi-supine-lying-down-exercise-because-your-back’s-knackered; lost-book-finding; herbal-sleeping-pill-taking, etc.) till 10 p.m. at the earliest, which means lights out not much before quarter to midnight. Which, if you’re planning on getting up for your 6.30 a.m. swim, isn’t ideal.

Or am I getting old? I feel old, certainly, when watching the sort of drivel they put on for yoof audiences. Like Celebrity Love Island, which I finally caught about 20 minutes of by accident the other day. It’s being touted as the worst programme ever, but, as Simon remarked last week, it’s actually not untypical of its genre, from Big Brother to that one whose name I forget where the girl had to guess which of the men were gay: brainless young people kept together in close conditions in the sure knowledge that they will say and do silly things and possibly have sex.

What upsets me most about these people is their poisonous shallowness. Maybe it’s the natural tendency of youth to live totally for sex, drink, drugs and the body beautiful, but at least when I went through that stage I had the good grace to be filled with self-doubt and self-loathing, not get nearly as many shags as I would have liked, and I read the odd book. This new generation of bronzed teens and twentysomethings, the blokes especially, don’t appear to have known a moment of introspection or cultural awareness in their lives. They’re really no better than apes.

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