john davies
notes from a small curate

updated regularly
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK




    Personal Qualities

    Blue Coat School 26/06/2002

    Todayıs theme is PERSONAL QUALITIES. And nowhere in public life are peopleıs personal qualities under more scrutiny than on Big Brother. On Big Brother, if your PERSONAL QUALITIES donıt fit the standards of the other contestants and the voting public, you are out.

    Last weekıs evictee Spencer was a favourite in the show, despite his housemates disclosing that he smelled, rarely washed and had athlete's foot. But Jonny nominated Spencer for eviction because he said heıd accused him of cheating. Sophie voted for him as she felt he didn't mix well with the group and was "quite lazy". And Adele nominated him because she found him very "shallow".

    This weekıs nominees Jonny and Sophie were chosen because others felt they were 'false'. "Jonny performs to the cameras 24 hours a day," one of them said.

    Big Brother may on the surface seem to be an addictive documentary about glamourous young people locked up together in a luxury apartment. But when it comes to the voting, more searching themes emerge. Those who are voted off seem to walk because they lack honesty, they donıt contribute positively to the life of the house, or because they canıt relate to the others in any deep sort of way.

    The point I want to make about PERSONAL QUALITIES is that while they are about us as individuals, they are about us as individuals in relationship to other people.

    You canıt be honest in isolation; honesty is about your attitude towards other people and their property. You canıt be kind or compassionate in isolation: these qualities only show as you relate to others.

    Maybe this is the point which is missed by those Big Brother evictees who are criticised for being obsessed just with themselves and their own image: our PERSONAL QUALITIES are never about us alone. They are never for us alone. Their strength and meaning is tied up with what we bring to a community.

    For any house to be a happy house the occupants must pool their personal qualities and work positively together, as the Big Brother contestants seem to sense when they vote.

    For any player to be a successful captain they must put their personal obsessions aside and offer their positive qualities to the support the team, as Roy Keane must now be very aware.

    And for any fellowship to flourish - school, interest group, workplace - the same must apply.

    Imagine how different relationships would be in the Big Brother house if, rather than focussing on each otherıs bad qualities and so deciding who to evict, they spent the week focussing on each otherıs good qualities and so deciding who to keep.

    Each of us has qualities worth celebrating; letıs vote ourselves in, happy to share them with those around us, and vote them in too, however different their own qualities may be to ours.