For that's what the media in India are calling Celebrity Big Brother, after Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty, (pictured, right) faced off with Jade Goody and the goons (2bit pop star, Jo O'Meara, and WAG, Danielle Lloyd). The only excuse for not knowing anything about the race row caused by Celebrity Big Brother is that you're stuck on Mars without internet, radio or tv signal. More than 20,000 complaints have been lodged with Channel 4 and Ofcom, most newspapers lead on it today, the issue was raised at Prime Minister's Questions, effigies of Channel 4 producers were burnt in India (quite how they know what C4 execs look like, I don't know), Gordon Brown has had his economic growth trip to India overshadowed by questions about Jade Goody's exemplary manners. It's been extraordinary.
I was always reluctant to get into this debate for the simple reason that charges of racism are difficult to prove. There's a very thin line between outright rudeness, hatred and racism; but quite often they are two sides to the same coin. It never seems as if feeling racially victimised is enough to cry racism, I tend to need something overt. "Black bastard", "nig-nog", these are blatantly racist, and you'd be applauded for headbutting anyone who addressed you in those terms. But we live in different times where that kind of racism isn't acceptable anymore.
Basically, the feelings of racism remain, but the methods of expressing the racist feelings change. Instead of "black bastard", you just say "bitch", with the same vitriol and intention of wanting to say "black bastard". Like I said, I wasn't sure what to make of it, whether it was racism. However watch the footage or read the transcript, and you're left in little doubt that racism is indeed an element.
Do you know what many people are saying? That what's happening in the Big Brother House just shows Britain what we've always known - that racism is alive and well in Britain. The subplot, though, is probably a class thing. Germaine Greer tried to make that point in the Guardian earlier this week. Class is definitely still an issue in Britain, throw in race into the mix, and you have a powder keg ready to go off.
Something worse than Jade Goody's braying, however, is the reaction of C4's chairman, Luke Johnson. Listen to him being questioned on the Today programme.