Jon Gaunt: Oik

Jon Gaunt’s show this morning demonstrated how much respect has gone out of our society and how anti-intellectualism has come into fasion - perhaps not to the same extent as in the USA, but certainly people who don’t know what they are talking about feel qualified to be incredibly rude to people who do. The interesting thing is that Gaunt himself had a go at some teenagers in Camden Town who were filmed saying something like, “who do they [the police] think they are, telling us what to do, innit?” in response to the threat of a curfew being re-imposed. This grammatical oddity is part of the dialect among certain types of people in parts of London, but Gaunt suggested that their mouths be washed out. One caller said that he had to deal with these “oiks” every day.

Later on, we saw who was the real “oik”. A few days ago Christopher Studders, a mental patient, who had been detained for trying to push two women under a tube train while under the influence of paranoid schizophrenia, walked out of a hospital in Enfield in north London. Studders returned of his own accord yesterday, after 48 hours at large and a police warning that he might be dangerous and shouldn’t be approached. Gaunt interviewed a doctor who worked for that department, and was thoroughly rude and insolent to her.

The woman tried explaining that people who had been committed (though they don’t use this term) go through various phases of being able to go into the hospital grounds escorted, and then unescorted, and then temporary leave from the hospital. This isn’t a unit that deals with the Yorkshire Rippers and Wolf-men of this world, i.e. psychopaths and serial sex killers. This individual was a paranoid schizophrenic whose condition is being treated, with some success, with medication; his escape, though obviously a cause for concern, was not a disaster. Yet Gaunt showed absolutely no mercy, continually shouting over her attempts to defend her department’s policy.

Gaunt always mentions, when he reads out critical emails, that the person writing them keeps writing these emails calling his show rubbish, but keeps on listening. The problem is that people need to keep a watch on the media, in order to rebut the sensationalist nonsense peddled on talk radio (a medium particularly given to confusing gut feeling and “common sense” with sensibility. There’s also the fact that there are only two other talk-oriented stations - Radio 4 gets a bit boring sometimes, and LBC is pretty much more of the same. Still, Gaunt really shouldn’t be on the BBC. His show this morning was an absolute disgrace.

(For anyone just coming in, I have commented on his dismissal in this entry.)

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