19 June 2008

Gordon Ramsay

Poor old Gordon Ramsay has run afoul of an Australian Senate Committee looking at swearing on television. It seems that Mr. Ramsay used the word "fuck" 80 times in a 40-minute program that he makes called "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares".

Now using the word 80 times in 40 minutes is probably not a record (make a note to check the Guinness Book of Records). However, on TV it might be a record for a food program. But most people already know that if they are going to watch Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen it is going to be a full onslaught of coarse language. If you can't handle the heat in the kitchen then get out of the kitchen. Simply, don't watch the show.

The end result here will be things like parental controls being installed on all new digital televisions. A review of ratings classifications and more detail with respect to what phrases like "occasional coarse language' actually mean. In terms of "occasional coarse language" I have never really been able to work out whether that was 10 fucks, shits, dicks, and piss-offs in 40 minutes or was it 20 or 30 or 40. I would reckon 80 fucks in 40 minutes is "frequent coarse language".

The television viewing public need to take a little more responsibility for themselves rather than rely on the government to regulate what we watch. If you do not like Gordon Ramsay or his style then vote by not watching. When his ratings fall the investors will scamper off and Gordon Ramsay will not longer invade our television screens.


David said...

call me a prude, but I can't work out why people feel the need to use any expletive in any context. To me it signifies laziness and lack of imagination, particularly when used in writing, comedy and personal opinion. As soon as I see such language on blogs, in stand-up comedy, or whatever, my 'intelligence and imagination meter' for that person takes a sudden dive.

One example is the Melbourne Comedy Festival. Of about 15 or so 'comedians' I watched a couple of years back only one managed to avoid the 'f' word or similar, managed to avoid topics such as sex and drunkenness (the women comedians were by far the worst in this respect) and yet, he was the funniest and way most imaginative comedian by far.
In a context such as Hell's Kitchen, I know of a few people who manage to get their way through stressful situations (in real life, not concocted for the TV screen) without having to resort to expletives.

Rob Baiton said...


Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

Nothing to do with prude.

Personally, I am not offended by the language used and I see no need to use things like "the f-word" or "f*&k" or the like. But that is just me!

I disagree that it signifies laziness or lack of imagination. However, to each their own in this regard.

I know plenty of people who deal with stress and other situations without using expletives too! I think no more of them because of it. Similarly, I think no less of people who swear. I do not consider myself to be a member of the morality police tasked with the job of educating swearers to a better way of expressing themselves.

Once again, that is just me. I must admit to having heard much worse and of having used much worse myself.

"As soon as I see such language on blogs, in stand-up comedy, or whatever, my 'intelligence and imagination meter' for that person takes a sudden dive." I guess this means I am not metering well on your scale then?

Cheers and enjoy the rest of the day and the coming weekend :D

David said...

"I guess this means I am not metering well on your scale then?"

Sorry Rob, I'm being a bit harsh there. That comment was directed to those who try to demonstrate wit or comedy through the use of such language. Some of my students do it and I tell them that there are other more imaginative ways to express oneself, if only they'd take the time to think about how. I lost a lot of respect for Robin Williams after watching one of his live shows on a DVD, a full hour of sexual innuendo (and in-your-face) and swearing. I thought he was more creative than that (I'll drop the intelligence remark - that's unfair; I'll stick to 'creativity' and 'imagination').

I'm not sure my position is a morality-police thing or not. I prefer to see it as encouraging people to think outside the box a bit when it comes to self expression. A little restraint and thought in even the most trivial of utterances can be of great benefit to how we present ourselves to others.

Like smoking, which I once enjoyed, I realised that the reason I should give it up was that there were others who were offended by my habit.

Cheers, and enjoy your day too. I'm enjoying your daily offerings.

GJ said...

I can't stand F*ckwits that have to F8cking swear every 3rd F*cking word................OOPS :~)

Polar Bear said...

In terms of comedy, the issue is what makes us laugh. Laughter is a release of tension. Often after traumatic moments (eg our life in danger) we burst out laughing. Similarly, when we are shocked by statements or events, we also laugh. The painful game shows beloved by the Japanese make us laugh because we are shocked. This is the reason why comedians use profanities in their acts.

In Ramseys case he is just trying to be controversial – rather like the hosts of “XXX Idol” insult the competitors to enhance the ratings. I daresay he isn’t a particularly good cook, and his management style is dreadful, but it’s trying to be a cooking show with a difference.

What would be funny would be a chat show that was as abusive. I would love to see politicians and other leaders getting a touch of the Ramsey….

Rob Baiton said...


Comedy is all about what makes us laugh. For me it is not only about the language used but the relevenance of the humor to me and the response it triggers.

Yep. I think that he is not a bad chef but what makes a good cook / chef is a matter of personal taste in many ways. Yet, Ramsay is all about being different and for him that is being rude and abusive.

Rob Baiton said...


Your students use this kind of language in school?

Wow, where do you teach?

I have had students use this language in primary schools in Australia but I was volunteering at the time teaching literacy and numeracy to kids who were born into and growing up in tough situations and tough neighbourhoods...

So, in some ways it was expected that I would hear the odd one or two.

I do agree that your language choices need to consider that there are different strokes for different folks.

I encourage people to choose wisely. My other profession has been in the criminal law and as a result I have been exposed to some interesting language.