Author Topic: Brass Eye Revisited  (Read 5880 times)

Brass Eye Revisited
« on: May 26, 2021, 07:30:22 AM »
Very few comedies still seem cutting edge nearly 25 years after they first appear. Brass Eye is one of the few examples of this. A bit of a cliche to say, "I can't imagine it being commissioned today,"
But I can't imagine it being commissioned today.

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Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2021, 05:17:29 PM »
It would be interesting to have a rewatch (especially the BES) and see how it holds up. There's certainly a couple of bits in the BES that I felt went too far (the bit with having to communicate through someone disguised as a troll* just feels like sniggering at the victims rather than exposing media hypocrisy, for one). The last time I watched it I didn't know much about Sidney Cooke, since then I watched a documentary on him and his vile crew. I think the bit about Cooke isn't tasteless as it is all about how ridiculous the scenario is. Probably upsetting for his victims but then I doubt many of them would watch such a show in the first place.


*have I remembered this correctly?

Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2021, 05:57:10 PM »
(the bit with having to communicate through someone disguised as a troll* just feels like sniggering at the victims rather than exposing media hypocrisy, for one)
*have I remembered this correctly?

Although interesting you should mention that bit as I remember at the time when all the complaints were happening, a woman who had been a victim of abuse as a child said that was the part that made her laugh the most. Can't find the exact quote/article but I'm sure it must be floating around somewhere.

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Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2021, 07:44:37 PM »
I was abused as a child (as I've mentioned here before) and I've always been fine with that part, mostly because I think the air of that part of the show makes it clear this is Brass Eye, the in-universe programme, speaking for her and controlling what's going on moreso than the reality of things. The part about her being "inexcusably disturbed" pays it off IMO.

I don't speak for all victims, obviously, but PAEDOGEDDON! remains a solid episode for me because it really does take down the idea of the victims' voices not mattering and the media terror being all that matters.

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Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2021, 07:54:19 PM »
The BES was partly about the media's overreaction to paedophila but it's weird watching it post-Savile because it appears the corruption and depravity was far worse than they and we ever imagined.

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Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2021, 10:21:23 PM »
It literally never gets old. I must have watched each episode more than a dozen times each, and each time I get something new out of it I didn't expect to.

The Paedophile Special is the most dated episode, by comparison with the more perennial themes of the original series (Sex, Drugs, Decline etc.), but it's dated in the best way: becoming a cultural touchstone for the paranoid national mood that came after the British public at large really began to speak out and listen to the voices of victims of pedophilia... a good thing in itself, but still entailing a lot of distasteful rubbernecking from the media and vigilantism from the people at the time.

So it was primarily mocking the media, and - as in the original series - the bravado of the media (imagining itself up to the challenge of fighting a war on pedophilia)... but I think it was also - in the manner of Morris's next project, Jam - creating comedy out of horror. It was a creative challenge for Morris to take the stuff of nightmares and make jokes out of it.


Bloody good ones too:

"THIS was THE one THING we DIDN'T want TO happen"

Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2021, 11:22:54 PM »
The BES was partly about the media's overreaction to paedophila but it's weird watching it post-Savile because it appears the corruption and depravity was far worse than they and we ever imagined.
Yes, the media coverage of the issue at the time might have been hysterical and sensationalist, but from the perspective of 2020 it looks like that hysteria was itself a symptom of the fact that attitudes were changing and that people were starting to realise just how common abuse was. If anything, I'd say the outrage/moral panic about the issue around that time, while maybe not that constructive in itself, was probably a necessary step towards the greater understanding of the issue we have now.

Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2021, 11:25:09 PM »
"THIS was THE one THING we DIDN'T want TO happen"
My favourite line of all seven episodes.

Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2021, 11:25:40 PM »
The brass balls on Morris :-)

Who would dare match BE, and indeed Morris himself, now?

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Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2021, 11:41:11 PM »
I'd like to give the special another go to see how I feel about it now. It was definitely a solid episode but I think I felt more discomfort than laughter on first viewing (I've never really rewatched the entire episode either, only a few clips online).

Probably preaching to the choir here, but I saw this YouTube video essay a couple of weeks ago and thought it made some interesting points:

The Brass Eye Special - a Misunderstood work of Genius
« Last Edit: May 27, 2021, 01:36:11 AM by Midas »

Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2021, 01:10:25 AM »
It really holds a special place for me as I discovered it at the age of 12 with the 2001 repeat run, and thought it was the greatest fucking thing I'd ever seen. Crying with laughter trying desperately not to wake up my parents as I was awake far later than allowed watching this 'secret' show that no one else I thought knew about. It was an era of British comedy that just seemed to be getting more and more outrageous and edgy each year, with no signs of it taking a back step and fizzling out into cuddly mainstream dross afraid of offending or lampooning anyone.

When it got added on demand a few years later I fooled at least three members of the family by quietly putting on the Clive Anderson newsflash in the middle of another programme, genuinely shocking them for a few seconds until either the words "Noel Edmonds" or "prevented by machine gun fire" were said.

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Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2021, 01:15:38 AM »
"Why can we no longer think of the British Isles without the word "Paedoph" in front of them?"  Excellent.

"... quadraspazzed on a life glug." Terrible.

Definitely the most variable BE episode in quality.

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Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2021, 01:29:02 AM »
Fuck i looked at the circle now paddy macaloon gets to punch me

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Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2021, 02:08:39 AM »
The only parts that don't hold up are the parts in which celebs are paid to say stupid shit. Some of the things they're given to say are amusing and it's always fun to see Noel Edmonds get fucked over, but "you can pay celebrities to say literally anything you put in front of them" is an obvious point that doesn't really need to be made. Even less so nowadays in the era of the internet and stuff like Farage's cameo account.

Favourite part of the whole series is the prison.

"WHY didn't you polish it? Bury the beds."
"They will have to dig these up and sleep in them tonight - all earthy."

and

"The inmates' sleep is frequently interrupted."
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA"

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Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2021, 02:17:01 AM »
"THIS is THE one THING we DIDN'T want TO happen"

TitOTWDWtH features in my internal monologue more often than I’d like.

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Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2021, 08:04:30 AM »
I'd like to give the special another go to see how I feel about it now. It was definitely a solid episode but I think I felt more discomfort than laughter on first viewing (I've never really rewatched the entire episode either, only a few clips online).

Probably preaching to the choir here, but I saw this YouTube video essay a couple of weeks ago and thought it made some interesting points:

The Brass Eye Special - a Misunderstood work of Genius

That was great! It articulated what I was trying to say yesterday: "at that time, the media presentation of pedophiles caricatured the paedophile as a creature that didn't even seem real - a terrifying concept from our nightmares".

The most trenchant criticism of this by Morris was in the original series - the "Sex" episode. A young, attractive victim is given adoring - incredibly creepy - attention by Morris, where the victim as an adult - who suffered at the hand of her own father, over a prolonged period - is passed over for time. Pedophilia primarily takes place within the family, and the question of why it happens and how false normality is built up in the mind of the victim via grooming is impossibly difficult to convey via the highly edited format of TV news / issues shows: much better to have a victim like Maddy, who was the victim of the perfectly evil opportunist[1], and can therefore be held up as the perfect victim (cf. that amazing line about "good AIDS" from the same show - best Brass Eye episode ever?).

That Morris saw this, and was willing to portray himself as a pedophile in order to put that across... AND be so funny with it ("so it's not happened a lot recently, then?") ....that's why he's one of the very greatest.

edit: at the time I first saw it, I thought that the Eminem parody was pure provocation, and not very funny. I'd have to watch it again to see if it makes me laugh, but regarding cases like Saville and Ian Watkins from Steps, it was ahead of its time again in showing that paedophiles are not the stereotypical Sidney Cooke monsters we like to imagine we can see a mile off, but could well be people we admire and look up to. Not only that, but it parodies the pedophiles themselves: "I'm only doing to others what was done to me" (cf. "it's just another form of racism").
 1. despite what some CaBers might tell you

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Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2021, 10:16:13 AM »
Probably preaching to the choir here, but I saw this YouTube video essay a couple of weeks ago and thought it made some interesting points:

The Brass Eye Special - a Misunderstood work of Genius

Apparently narrated by Matthew Holness.

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Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2021, 10:18:48 AM »
I think I read that the bloke interviewed who used the "another form of racism" line was a real nonce and not an actor.

Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #18 on: May 27, 2021, 10:39:59 AM »
Favourite part of the whole series is the prison.

"WHY didn't you polish it? Bury the beds."
"They will have to dig these up and sleep in them tonight - all earthy."

and

"The inmates' sleep is frequently interrupted."
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA"

Yeah, that whole segment is just perfect. Morris' governor visibly getting off on what he's doing, Kevin Eldon's screaming, "Change their spots? (these leopards)", the canoe. Beautiful.

Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2021, 11:19:26 AM »
I think I read that the bloke interviewed who used the "another form of racism" line was a real nonce and not an actor.

Yeah, he's the real deal, according to the Lucian Randall Morris biog. Think he was on a few Dispatches-esque programs around the same time. The details surrounding his initial meeting with Morris and Talkback, is pure desolation.

Quote
The self confessed paedophile Morris interviewed never seemed genuine, though coaxing "Peter" onto the show had been time consuming and stressful for the crew, who had to appear sympathetic to hearing his views. He was accompanied to meetings by an adult friend, who remained silent until a discussion on the damage done to children. "I've been having sex with him since I was six", he said without prompting, "and it's never done me any harm".

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Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2021, 11:35:49 AM »
I think I read that the bloke interviewed who used the "another form of racism" line was a real nonce and not an actor.

I read that on these forums. I hope that it's true, because it would show that the special was indeed in no way trying to portray pedophiles as victims of the media - they really do actively justify and intellectualize their behavior as a natural state of being that Western society has recently turned against[1].

edit: I didn't see BJBMK2's post. Thanks for the confirmation - you are a gentleman and scholar. But what does "never seemed genuine" imply? That he was a fraud? or just that the footage came across as fake? The latter seems accurate, since most people came away with the impression he was just another Morris character.
 1. an argument popularized by Michel Foucault, who was himself a pedophile. I recommend the documentary "Chicken Hawk" about NAMbLA at the height of its popularity, available on DailyMotion: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/xgii60
« Last Edit: May 27, 2021, 11:59:32 AM by Retinend »

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Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #21 on: May 27, 2021, 11:50:41 AM »
These days, it appears to be the relatively minor or rarely mentioned moments that pop into my head, i.e. "they just eat it, don't they?", "I don't know what Clarky Cat means" usually in situations where stifling a LOL is most awkward

edit: I didn't see BJBMK2's post. Thanks for the confirmation - you are a gentleman and scholar. But what does "never seemed genuine" imply? That he was a fraud? or just that the footage came across as fake? The latter seems accurate, since most people came away with the impression he was just another Morris character.

I always assumed he was real.  Doesn't he even react a little to "The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown"?

Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #22 on: May 27, 2021, 01:02:04 PM »
"They will have to dig these up and sleep in them tonight - all earthy."

For some reason this is probably the line that sticks in my head the most over all the episodes. Great intonation.

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Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #23 on: May 27, 2021, 01:03:59 PM »
at the time I first saw it, I thought that the Eminem parody was pure provocation, and not very funny.

It's more than mere provocation as it highlights the uncomfortable tension between what young fans sometimes imagine they want -"Wouldn't you object if tried to kiss you?" "NO!" - vs the disturbing reality of stars being predatory towards those same fans.

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Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #24 on: May 27, 2021, 01:11:29 PM »
True! I didn't know what to make of that line when I first saw it, so it just seemed flippant, but you're right that there's a serious point behind that uncomfortable line.

Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #25 on: May 27, 2021, 01:14:39 PM »
Yeah, there's a load of tweets from women saying they shaved their private parts when they were 13-14 before going to One Direction concerts, thinking they might get invited backstage (hopefully none of them did).

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Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #26 on: May 27, 2021, 01:16:44 PM »
"THIS was THE one THING we DIDN'T want TO happen"

A line I end up quoting frequently. Lose the housekeys because you decided to put them in a 'safe place' that you've since forgotten? This is the one thing we didn't want to happen.

One moment that still retains the power to shock, for me, is this line from the (brilliantly executed) song of love to Myra Hindley:

Quote
And I don't think even you
could've given me more
murder

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Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #27 on: May 27, 2021, 01:42:27 PM »
an argument popularized by Michel Foucault, who was himself a pedophile

there's been no evidence of that i'm afraid.

Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #28 on: May 27, 2021, 02:08:14 PM »
there's been no evidence of that i'm afraid.

I have some bad news.

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Re: Brass Eye Revisited
« Reply #29 on: May 27, 2021, 02:12:46 PM »
I have some bad news.

really? i must have mised something

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