They Shoot Horses Don't They is a 1969 film about the Great Depression and the way that human anxieties are pulped and processed into mass entertainment. The setting is Santa Monica and the event is a dance marathon with the chances of the winners being lifted out of grinding poverty. But the prize is bogus and the contenders suffer the most awful humiliations. Does this sound a bit familiar?
Like many of you, I've been watching X Factor, transfixed by the clod-hoppery of the Jedward boys. Their survival every week has seemed like a mocking rebuke on the pop process and the machinations of Simon Cowell. The problems is that the twins have reached the level that they are merely poor as opposed to terrible. Simon is no longer aghast and so the drama has abated. It's business as usual, with the teeth, the vibrato, the hair and the crushing Queen covers. Our only consolation is the Beelzebub must have a particular devil set aside for Cowell.