Saturday, June 21, 2008

Is Gordon Ramsay Socially Inept?

As TV chef Gordon Ramsay sat in the spotlight of a Senate Committee, he attended a 'Good Food' magazine function at which he seemed to deliberately drop a "swear jar" presented to him by food writer Lyndey Milan. Perhaps the Aussie tradition of putting money in a "swear jar" upset him. He made no effort to clean up the broken glass; just swore, and walked away, leaving "someone else" to clean up after him.

The Senate Committee will look at changing broadcasting standards. Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi said that in one of Ramsey's episodes he used (the 'f-word') 80 times in 40 minutes. Ramsay "groupies": in TV, the hospitality (food) industry, and those part of his "in" crowd make light of the swearing, fearing that any criticism will affect their ability to bask in the synthetic glow around him.

Some things to note about swearing:
  • Most people swear sometimes: sudden surprises, sudden severe pain are some causes.
  • there are swear words in practically every language
  • some elements in some cultures use swearing routinely
  • swearing loses its impact when repeated often
  • swearing seems to be a linguistic way of expressing strong emotions
  • swearing might indicate a lack of thought about what is being said.

Psychology Today says that "Swearing is basically a way to relieve anger and frustration in a nonphysical way" . That might be true, but continual, or persistent, use of swearing might also indicate a person who:

  • cannot control anger
  • shows disrespect in a crude way
    (criticism need not involve a string of invective)
  • might be unsuited to managing/directing/training/reviewing other people
  • is a bully
  • socially inept at coping with their current circumstances.

Perhaps Gordon Ramsay would be better suited to a show where he reviews the work of cooks/chefs without being physically present; and where his criticisms can be refined before being broadcast.

You can say almost anything, to almost anybody, on almost any topic: how you say it is one measure of the quality of character.

I'm no wallflower, but I find his performances trashy. Ramsay's histrionics might make ratings, but they aren't good television. If you want quality, and class, look elsewhere.