Saturday, March 22, 2008

Ramsay's Foul Mouth and Parliament's Trivial Pursuits

The first time I glanced at on of Gordon Ramsay’s TV shows (Hells Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares), I didn’t respond very warmly to him. He seemed so abrasive; how could anyone stand working under such a loud mouth? In fact, it reminded me of tyrannical chefs when I worked in kitchens as a student. On closer inspection; I found Gordon’s shows to be rather addictive viewing. He may be a loud mouth, foul-mouthed bully, but he has high standards for cuisine, and berating under performing staff is his way of provoking a more satisfactory performance from them. Moreover, most of the people he berates are so misguided, apathetic or just plain stupid it’s hard to feel any sympathy for them. Watching them get blasted with the bleeding obvious is actually quite entertaining; I mean, lamb bones covered in chocolate? Powdered mashed potatoes? Frozen food as part of a ‘unique concept’ in menu design? These idiots deserve all the abuse Gordon dishes up to them, and the portions are ample.

What is perhaps even more entertaining is that the Australian Senate has decided to :

“hold an inquiry into swearing on television and what more could be done about it. The motion to hold the inquiry was moved by the South Australian Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi after a recent episode of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares in which the abrasive gastronome dropped the F-bomb 80 times. That episode screened at 8.30pm on Channel Nine. Another that offended the senator, in which Ramsay used the C-word twice, screened at 9.30. Labor and the minor parties voted with the Coalition yesterday to establish the inquiry, which would concentrate on free-to-air TV. Senator Bernardi promised it would be brief.”

Source: Sydney Morning Herald, Chef's foul specialty sparks swearing inquiry, Phillip Coorey Chief Political Correspondent, March 21, 2008

Sure, swearing may be offensive to some people. It is of course possible for them (as has been pointed out numerous times in the past) TO CHANGE THE CHANNEL, or perform the even more extreme act of TURNING OFF THE TV. If this is to be an inquiry on “what the community is prepared to accept”, isn’t it already blatantly obvious that the community does accept such things, and has for a very long time? The offending words in question have, after all, very old origins as most ‘swear words’ do. (They have Anglo-Saxon roots as far as I know). Who can say that they don’t use such words at least from time to time. Such words are not always used to cause offence; it’s quite possible to use them in an affectionate way. As usual, it’s about context and language being used in an appropriate situation. However, is the language used on television by Gordon Ramsay, Big Brother, The Sopranos, Sex And The City really among the great social issues of our time? Does the Australian Parliament really have nothing better to occupy its time? Perhaps not…


Anonymous said...

We love Gordon too! Only problem is after every show I start swearing ncessantly.

David M

Liam said...

I'm determined not to have that problem; I definitely don't want to end up sounding like Gordon; no matter how entertaining he might be.

I've been finding 'Hell's Kitchen' much less entertaining. Yet another reality TV show with people voting each other off and backroom intrigue? It's getting to be a really tired formula. I thought Mr Ramsay would have more self respect.