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Splenic Genius - with a Purpose
on 29 January 2010
If you know anything of Charlie Brooker, you'll be aware of his many, many angry but incredibly funny rants at targets on TV but also increasingly examples of dumbness in the non-TV (real) world. There are few writers and broadcasters who can produce such insane levels of bile and hatred so often in such a skilled and drop-dead funny way. This is probably why he's co-written with the ultimate pitch-black dark comedy genius, Chris Morris.
What's less obvious to the casual reader or viewer is that Charlie Brooker writes with equal humour but infectious enthusiasm about the really good stuff on TV and elsewhere. Here's the end of a piece from "The Hell Of It All" on the BBC's "Life In Cold Blood":
"This is likely to be Attenborough's last major series: the final chapter in an extraordinary legacy. To change the way millions of people see the world is no mean feat, and he's done it with quiet assurance, humour and respect. TV can be many things. Nowt wrong with a bit of mindless entertainment now and then. But when someone with purpose seizes and commands it, it can also do this. Incredible."
That's why this collection of Brooker's writing works: light to go with the dark. The extreme bile directed against the latest twerp-fest of a Big Brother or Celebrity X Factor comes from a sense that TV can do so much better, it's not hatred for the sake of it, it's a hatred of lazy low standards when so much better is possible. This is hilarious savagery with a purpose.