The sob story. It is a modern phenomenon. Honestly, ask anyone over the age of forty five and they’ll tell you that no-one did as much bellyaching in the good old days as they do now. The British, of course, were famous for their stiff upper lip and keep calm, carry on attitude. Back in wartime, a strong cup of tea and a hot bath was known to cure almost anything. It seems however, that this is no longer the case. If we’re not moaning on about our dodgy internet connection or dwindling bank balances, we’re complaining about the slow service in restaurants or the price of milk. Of course, no-one remembers rationing.
And then there’s the crying. Public displays of emotion can now been seen everywhere. ‘Reality’ (ahem) shows are the worst culprits. If I’m not seeing a grown man bawl his eyes out after a spot of ballroom dancing, I’m subjected to the tears of a brainless woman on a cookery show whose macaroons have failed. X Factor is of course, the guiltiest of them all. There isn’t a weekend that goes by that isn’t filled with the tears of hopeful contestants droning on and on about their ‘dream’, accompanied by an obligatory Adele song in the background. A prime example is that of Soldier boy Jonjo, otherwise known as ‘that bloke with a hat.’ The guy is emotional gold for the X Factor team! Fought in Afghanistan? Check. The father of small children? Check. Singing a tear-inducing version of a Stereophonics song? Check. Except, whilst the frankly disturbing image of him wailing into his trilby won him a place in the live shows with Louis, the general public couldn’t be fooled. Moaning of the false nature of the show, they became wise once again to the power of the sob story and booted him from X Factor last Sunday.
It isn’t just reality television shows, either. Things became ridiculous when just the other week, I watched daytime favourite This Morning, only to be greeted with Holly Willougby blubbing through an interview with Sesame Street’s Elmo. Get a grip woman, I longed to scream! It’s a bloody puppet! Others noticed the newly overemotional Holly, too. I logged into my Facebook page, faced with a status update from a friend: “I know Holly Willoughby has just had a baby, but she needs to man-up and stop crying.” Ashamedly, I swiftly clicked the ‘like’ button.
Whilst we British have become those that wallow in misery, we also realise that the sentiment presented to us by the media is very often a false one. I, like many others like to have a quick browse through the Tragic Lives section in WHSmith. Books, stacked on top of one another with generic title such as ‘Please Daddy, not again!’ and ‘Special.’ Enlightening stuff. Whether it’s the shock factor or the blatent morbid thrill, these books are selling as fast as they can be written. Need I say more?