"But how can you live and have no story to tell?" Fyodor Dostoevsky
"A spectacle is worthy of being seen; "I'm a Celebrity" is a gimmick of a spectacle, generated to titillate and shock simultaneously."
Nigel Farage's bottom appeared on TV with some fanfare thanks to "I'm a Celebrity - Get me out of here". I now predict he will take over the Conservative Party or run for PM with the Reform Party. Either way, he's engaged in a rebranding exercise akin to the ancient walk of penance.
Jane Shore, a mistress of King Edward IV, did her penance in 1483. A bit of a slut by several accounts, she'd also conspired against Richard III, and he wanted her shamed. Hence, wearing only her undergarments and barefoot, she walked through the streets of London.
The laws of 14th-century France mandated public shaming for adultery - although the punishment was often for the woman alone. Of course, the most notable fictional portrayal is Cersei Lannister's naked walk in Games of Thrones.
How times have changed. These days, exposing oneself to ridicule is more redemptive entertainment than punishment. Thus, celebrities and politicians with a black mark against them or seeking to shape a more favourable image head to the 'faux jungle'. Once there, humiliation awaits by dining on animal penises and insects.
I say 'faux jungle' because if the cameras panned around, they'd soon pick up the high-rise buildings of Australia's Gold Coast. Civilisation isn't too far away as the public gets served a Disneyfication of the jungle. There is no real risk or threat.
A spectacle is worthy of being seen; "I'm a Celebrity" is a gimmick of a spectacle, generated to titillate and shock simultaneously. Of course, the whole scripted exercise comes filtered, edited and swerved up with the immediacy of a hyperreal confection.
It's no coincidence that Farage is out there with a Brexit-hating French bloke. To add further spice, he's paired up with a young black female social media influencer, Nella Rose. Surely, this diversity hire isn't there to trigger a race row with Farage. It's all so obvious.
Still, many have gone through the soul cleansing of "I'm a Celebrity". But it doesn't always work. Last year, the lamentable Matt Hancock, a politician of no fixed ability, was desperate seeking a rebrand. As if killing thousands with his Covid policies wasn't enough, he got caught groping his assistant in the office.
Forgotten now are the spurious claims that the Chinese were to blame for Hancock's demise because the CCTV that filmed him came from there. Did Beijing also coax married man Hancock into snogging and fondling his lover's buttocks? Those crafty Chinese!
The public labelled Hancock a twat before he went into the jungle and they then kept him there for the duration as punishment — the public can vote contestants out. Alas, in the end, poor Hancock emerged as a prize twat.
I'm disappointed that Farage has lowered himself to this puerile level. Whether you agree with him or not, we must recognise that he is influential. I had measured him as serious-minded individual because without being an MP, almost single-handed, he's managed to keep the Conservative Party on the defensive.
Opting to enter the jungle has destroyed any sense that Farage has a dignified standing, affirming he's another shameless publicity seeker. But with a reported £1.5 million ($15M-HK) on the table, who can blame him for accepting? That's a load of cash for showing a wrinkled bottom.
Am I getting this all wrong? Perhaps Farage recognises that what some call ‘politainment' - the merging of entertainment and politics - will give the keys to Nos 10. After all, the antics of Boris Johnson led the way. And as we know, that turned out well. Anyway, the relentless slippage of Britain into full-blown silly-country status continues as politicians now cross-dress as celebrities.
Excited speculation is that Putin may join next year's "I'm a Celebrity" with accused sex pest Russel Brand to chow down on Kangaroo penis. For Brand, this is an odd reversal of role - he usually forces others to nibble on his knob (allegedly).
Walter De Havilland was one of the last of the colonial coppers. He served 35 years in the Royal Hong Kong Police and Hong Kong Police Force. He's long retired.