Are you watching ‘Love Island’? ITV2’s hit reality TV series. It’s not a problem if you are. I won’t tell. I’m sure we can concoct some vaguely convincing excuse – you were watching if for sociological research or you lost the remote or something. However you should be concerned because, according to New Statesman writer Anoosh Chakelian you’re being subjected to conservative propaganda. Strap in whilst I try and explain this one.
Anoosh initiates her argument by describing the island as ‘a creepy conservative paradise of uniformly straight couples’ in which the contestants are ‘mouthpieces of the old-school Conservative Party before David Cameron wafted in with his breadmaker and fruity ideas about equality’.
The primary problem seems to be the wooing. Apparently it’s too traditional. One male contestant told a female counterpart that he understood what’s ‘going on in that little head’. She responded by describing him as ‘interesting’ which is apparently the ‘sort of half-hearted response women in Georgian England had to give to bad-breathed vicars praising their aptitude at the pianoforte’. Worst still a contestant called Kem publically asked the girl he’d been dating for several weeks if she’d be his girlfriend – which Anoosh criticises for being absurdly old fashioned.
More generally Anoosh claims the show has an ‘obsession with coupling up and locking your partner down’ which amounts to a ‘pro-marriage broadcast’. Apparently this is a ‘display of right-wing moral panic’ about ‘hook-up culture’. Anoosh closes cleverly, this being aimed at a New Statesman audience, with a Brexit analogy. She claims that ‘Love Island is Brexit Britain’, more specifically ‘a lonely little island taking up back to a time when conservative ideals reigned’.
So continue watching Love Island if you must. But know that within weeks you could be quoting Milton Friedman and raising concerns about trade union pay claims. Of course none of this applies to me, I was only watching it as I’d lost the remote.