Louis Theroux: My Week In Media

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The Independent Online

Last week I read...

I've been following the Mel Gibson story in Entertainment Weekly. He's obviously got a drink problem and an anti-Semitism problem and he needs to go into rehab for both. It's a complicated one. He's apologised, but it wouldn't be such a big deal if there hadn't been a pattern of insensitive behaviour to Jews on his part.

It's hard not to take a little bit of pleasure when one of the aggressive tabloids like The Sun gets something badly wrong, like printing the old pictures of the princes. You feel as though their moral universe is so simplified, that it's a little bit of payback for them when they're caught out.

Last week I watched...

Flavor Flav has a show on VH1 that has just got the highest ratings in the network's history: 5.9 million viewers. It's called Flavor of Love and I watched a bit in America. He was the hype man for Public Enemy, the court jester in the realm of black militancy, and to see him in this programme just shows what a different universe we're in now. Young women contestants compete to be his lover, and it's hard to tell what they're getting out of it. But somehow it just works. At one point there's a strange smell, and it turns out one of the women had been needing to go to the loo. Rather than just excuse herself, she has done a shit on the floor of the mansion. That's a new benchmark for reality TV.

I make a point of watching University Challenge. It was odd this week as they had a mistake on that they didn't acknowledge. Paxo asked a question about Jimi Hendrix, to which the answer was "Voodoo Chile". The guy gave the right answer, but Paxman didn't realise it was idiomatic and said "No, it's Voodoo Chil-e," pronouncing it like the country. I can't believe they didn't correct it. I even Googled it last night to check. I watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on More4 most days.

Last week I surfed...

I read The New York Times online and the JonBenet Ramsey story is interesting. They picked up the suspect in Thailand and the reporting, to begin with, seemed to take him seriously as a culprit, but today the coverage suggests he's a fantasist. I often look at salon.com and every week I get mail-outs from the Southern Poverty Law Center (www.splcenter.org), based in Alabama, on hate groups, which tell me what various neo-Nazis and anti-immigration groups are doing.

Louis Theroux's 'The Call of the Weird' is published by Macmillan