No wonder we prefer reality TV to real life these days
I'm trying not to mention reality TV. But it's really hard not to.
The X Factor. Strictly. And now, I'm A Celebrity ...
In the bars, on the buses, in the workplace, these are the subjects that engage people.
The hapless Chandlers have been freed from the pirates of Somalia.
But we are slightly more concerned about how we're getting Gillian McKeith out of the jungle. (The woman says she's got an insect phobia. What the hell's she doing in the jungle?)
The Republic's economy is in the red. But it's the red of Cheryl's hair that really excites comment.
And what passes for moral debate these days is not the question of George Bush and his belief that water-boarding was justifiable.
It's the question of whether Ann Widdecombe staying on in a dance contest is justifiable.
Maybe it's a reaction to all that bleakery in the headlines about cuts and recession and what-have-you.
Or then again maybe it's just that people now believe they relate more to the celebrity constituency than to the rest of what's out there.
Interestingly, two former politicos (Widdy and Lembit Opik) are among the current crop of reality stars. Politicians tend to spot the way the wind is blowing.
Gerry, I notice, is heading south to Louth.
And if that goes pear-shaped?
I suppose there's always the Bushtucker option ...