Remote Control - Saturday 21 September 2013

Midwest Blizzard
Midwest Blizzard
Share this article

From drunk tanks to junked Yanks...

This week art pre-imitated life.

Various loons queued up to back calls for drunk tanks – or ‘welfare centres’ as those backing plans to pay private firms to offer boozers a skip to sleep off the ale - prefer to call them.

Aside from the debate on the creeping privatisation of the force, the head of chief police officers says this will do away with the inconvenience of checking them every 15 to 30 minutes.

Presumably all that checking to see if the incarcerated are still alive is a bit of a bind and PCs should, er, play cribbage rather than watch over criminals in their cells.

The drunks are billed for their stay late; there was no word on whether earlier booking ensure savings or loyalty cards exist.

The debate was made all the more bonkers by the fact I’d seen the whole malarky on Onion News Network on Sky Arts earlier this week.

Building on the innovative The Day Today – a surreal parody of current affairs programmes back in 1994 created by Iannucci and Chris Morris – it had a spoof report on ‘Justice Sheds’.

ONN is sharp. You can easily imagine right wing idiots watching it and nodding all the way through in aggreement.

It started as a webcast through the Onion website and was flawless from the off on TV.

Its timelessness comes from its targets – redneck hick tendencies, and fears over immigration, terrorism and the over-reaching state, Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan.

One particularly fearful harridan had the answer to the immigration problem: Justice Sheds in the back garden.

Shelby Cross: “The police are bogged down with things like finding evidence to prove someone is guilty . When I see someone I don’t trust I don’t have time for that Red Tape, I just call up my neighbours Frank and Kerry and get out there with baseball bats and fishing nets. We knock the suspect out and throw them in the Justice Shed. That’s democracy, people”.

News spoofs have been done before – crazily the template for the visual madness on Sky Sports News was essentially invented by TDT.

And Morris then brought us Brass Eye in 1997 and that was equally ludicrous – 
although not apparently fictitious enough for the stupid MPS who unwittingly spoke out against the “made up drug” drug cake.

But ONN swats away any claims that American culture is merely the lowest common denominator, where explosions and car chases are more cross cultural than quirky local dialects and characteristics.

Take ONN’s “devastating cyber attack of a cute little piglet wearing boots.”

Anchorwoman Brooke Alvaraz told the 9 billion viewers in 811 countries via 407 channels – station slogan “Telling you what we want you to know” – that the forwarding and downloading of what was admittedly a cute pig was crippling 
servers, but crucially not her Twitter feed.

We learned from homeland security experts that the piglet was believed to have been photoshopped in the Afghan mountains.

They added: “Satelite photos of al Qaida camps show they have been stockpiling kittens, babies, Star Wars costumes, even pandas.”

It’s all in the straight-faced delivery.

Brooke then went on her soapbox for In Her Sights: “Get the immigrants to write the Immigration Reform Bill as it is taking up to 100s of manhours which is why I believe we should simply hire some illegal immigrants to write this Reform Bill for us.

“Taxpayers are paying for Senators or Congressmen when we could get a couple of guys from Equador, or whereever, to bang out the Bill for six bucks an hour”.


The only problems are it’s on at 2.05am on Thursday on Sky Arts and these are merely repeats – the show was ended after two series and 20 episodes. Catch up if you missed out.

Alan Burrows