I really enjoy Jeremy Paxman particularly on ‘News Night’ and find his cynicism together with his razor sharp mind and hang dog expression absolutely enthralling. His ability to cut through politicians spin or at the least show the spin up for what it is, is legendary. His fairly recent series on Victorian Art was both informative and entertaining. Whether all that makes him worth around £1million a year is another matter.
Speaking at the Hay Literature Festival he stated that Britons were ‘barbarians’ who spent their leisure time watching tv and rarely, if ever visited an art gallery. He admitted that employment and electronic gadgets posed something of a problem but was depressed that the vast majority of the population never went out to a gallery. He went on to liken travelling art in the Victorian era to modern day pop stars touring the country, with their arrival announced by men walking the high streets carrying sandwich boards.
Sadly I think Jeremy has drifted into the same rarified atmosphere as the politicians that he interviews. I doubt that the men with the sandwich boards went into the gallery after their shift, they were too bloody knackered and so too are most of our current workers. Many of us in fact work longer hours than in the Victorian years and the stresses of debt and job insecurity hardly make for going out at all, except for provisions to keep us working even harder, an attractive proposition. It is surely not surprising that most escape into the fantasy world of television.