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Are you a Susan Boyle-loving barbarian?

Has TV made us bad? TV's Paxman thinks so...

Published on June 3rd 2009.


Are you a Susan Boyle-loving barbarian?
Yes: - 79%
No: - 21%

Good old Jezzer Paxman has described the British public as ‘barbarians’ who are too busy working to find time to appreciate art.

This is because of the baleful box in the corner of the room.

That bloody TV. The one he, er, works for.

At Hay Festival of Literature during a talk on Victorian art he’s reported as saying: "Watching TV is the most popular leisure activity in this country now. I find this very depressing. Very depressing, indeed. I think that is a real problem.While people apparently have leisure time in greater quantities and book leisure time to go on holiday and so on, they have less time just to drop into an art gallery or museum.

At work people are expected to be at the beck and call of employers all the time. You have BlackBerries and other things, and they just don't leave you alone. I think that the basic problem is that we are all a bunch of barbarians really."

Our £1m-earning BBC bod, famous for his bolshy attitude to guests on Newsnight, appears to be gnawing at the hand that feeds him on this one. His life-style and his freedom to say what he thinks is subsidised by TV.

Nor does it help his case that he uttered his barbarian slur whilst promoting his latest book on Victorian art. A book which has been televised to good audiences on BBC2 that were as high as those, or higher, than most screenings of the last Big Brother.

Paxman’s also not done his sums. More people visit art galleries now then have ever done. More importantly, more people from all backgrounds use galleries than ever: audiences are no longer just a narrow-profile of the middle-class.

Fact: we have just about the highest museum and art gallery attendance in the European Union.

Then again you can’t help having some sympathy: especially with the drivel on ITV1 at present, and the endless channels throwing up endless forgettable fare. But who among us didn't enjoy watching Britain's Got Talent, just once, last week and end up talking about it at work the next day?

Did Paxman get it wrong on this occasion?

What you do think? Vote on the homepage.

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Professor ChallengerJune 1st 2009.

If more people are visiting art galleries and museums it will be because they have been "dummed down" to become free "interactive" play centres for cheapskate parents to take their children. If the noise made by the rampaging children aren't enough to drive you out of the place, the over-loud whining of middle-class parents at little Josh, Archie or Max will be. Last time I went into the supposedly improved Liverpool Museum (now with old-fashioned eighties-style atrium that has claimed at least two lives) I encountered a group of teenagers in a darkened gallery who were just sitting on the floor treating the place like any other place that ne'er-do-wells congregate. No guides or invigilators were around to move them on, thay had no interest in the Museum or its exhibits. At least they weren't skateboarding I suppose. I find it very sad that the last thing you can do in a museum these days is 'muse'.

Rick TellerJune 1st 2009.

Whats the point of musems anyway?ONly posh snobs go their or opera it is for posh snobs with to much money. real people like soaps and talent shows with real people and not posh university snobs.simon cowll is my hero he is not educated but has lots of money and is not a posh snob.

Truth TellerJune 1st 2009.

He'sa right wing Tory from a well-off back ground who's making millions out of mugs like you.

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