The X-ploitation Factor……

27 Aug

If a circus came to your town with an exhibit billed as ‘The Freak Show’ which had “The Amazing Flipper Boy”, somebody with a birth defect whereby their upper limbs were not properly formed giving the appearance of flippers in place of arms, would you find it acceptable?  Given that curiosity would probably lead you inside, as it would me, would you then not reason that what you had just witnessed was the exploitation of an individual who, by chance and circumstances beyond their control, had the misfortune to be born that way?  You are now, quite correctly, thinking that this simply wouldn’t happen today and that such an antiquated practice was banished along with the stocks and ducking stools and, were such an inhumane display of insensitivity to happen now, it would be stopped immediately and the perpetrators held to account……

Unfortunately, I am sad to tell you that the exploitation of vulnerable people is alive and well.  In fact, you may well be playing a part in and, gleaning enjoyment from it, whilst at the same time lining the pockets of the ‘ring master’.  “Not me”, I hear you say.  “I have higher standards than that”.

Enter, Simon Cowell and the money making factory you’ll know as The X-Factor.  Have you ever wondered who decides what makes it to your screens on a Saturday night?  Why is it that you get to see some clearly very talented singers along side some who are obviously not so talented but hold varying degrees of entertaining character traits?

On the surface this may seem like a bit of harmless fun at the expense of the oddities displayed by the contestants but stop and think for a moment.  Some of the individuals chosen may have the mental health equivalent of boy with flippers.  The program makers are presenting us with a highly polished version of the Victorian freak show and have the potential to cause harm to vulnerable people……

Several mental health charities and support groups have approached the program makers to express their concerns and have been assured that “measures have been put in place” to make sure that the exploitation of vulnerable people doesn’t happen.  When I raised my concerns with Ofcom, they told me that “I could not make a complaint on behalf of a third party”.

There is only one winner of the X-Factor and that is Simon Cowell……

I hope you find the program amusing and there but for the grace of god……


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