Cruelty, or at least the contrived discomfort of others, has always been exploited by some of those who would entertain us.
It’s almost two millennia since Rome’s Colosseum was built to host the most brutal spectacles, everything from the torture of animals to the massacre of Christians and captive enemies, so the idea has a long, sad, and bloody history.
Today, we all have our own colosseum — one kind of a screen or other. It is a conduit to whatever entertainment that attracts us, some of it harmless, some less so.
Reality television is all too often one of the most exploitative form of this baseness.
The format is built on pushing participants far outside their comfort zone, whether that be through a promises to transform a participant’s health or invest in a half-cocked business idea.
The death of a guest a week after he appeared on The Jeremy Kyle Show confirms this. The decision by ITV to axe the show was inevitable but deeply hypocritical.
It, after all, was financier and patron-in-chief of the spectacle which would have been pointless without an audience.