Brass Eye and PC's Personality


Dear all:

This Brass Eye debate is splitting me into halves.  The rational part of me exclaims:  "How could you make that dumb mistake, Phil!"  The emotional part of me shouts back: "How dare they do this to our Phil!"  This is driving me schizo!

I haven't seen Brass Eye so I am not really qualified to judge, but from what I've read on this list, it looks like the producer of this show aims for social satire with an edge.  I don't have an objection against people who try to push the envelope a little bit in journalism (or fake journalism).  In fact, it does seem like Phil did not put much thought into the charity he was supporting since he did not bother to verify its authenticity.  However, I think we should not jump to conclusions.  The fact that Phil gave money to a charity without much thought may not necessarily mean that he wanted to manipulate the media to gain publicity, at least not intentionally.  The interesting aspect in all of this is that he is almost supporting causes on impulse, or out of a reflex.  This certainly reveals something about Phil's personality.  Now I don't claim to know everything about Phil, in fact I haven't even read his "definitive biography", but from the various interviews he has given and other press items I have read I am fairly certain that he has an obsessive-compulsive personality.  People with this personality trait tends to be perfectionists or workaholics due to their high "reward-dependency".  This means that gaining other people's approval is of utmost importance to them.  There are many indications that Phil cares a great deal about how other people perceive him.  He has said on many occasions that those criticisms from the music journalists bother him a lot and he wishes he could be more respected like Peter Gabriel.  This need for him to please others may help explain why he gives to various charities almost on impulse.  He may not even realize this, but I think part of his subconscious wants the public to perceive him as a generous and giving person.  When you think about it this way, it isn't hard to see why he is so "uncool" in many people's eyes (and in brass eyes?).  Someone is considered "cool" when he doesn't care about what others might think and march to his own drum.  However, the fact that Phil cares so much about his public image may also have been formed partly as a reaction against the great amount of criticism he has received over the years.  It's akin to the scenario in which a kid who has been rejected many times often grows up to become someone very eager to please.

Interestingly, this character flaw of Phil Collins that I have just identified does not make me like him less.  I guess it is because I find that I share some of these same traits.  Part of it is vanity I suppose, but I would do almost anything to make parents, teachers or friends like me.  However, one thing I think Phil needs to do is to be less naive and less trusting.  In many ways I feel that he has never matured, partly because he was so involved in the "rock band" thing since early on, which was not exactly the same thing as "the real world".  Although worldliness is not a very desirable trait to me, some of it is necessary for a celebrity to stay afloat.  I remember in an interview Phil was asked why he still talked to journalists when his own words had been turned against him so many times before, to which he answered: "Because I like to."  This shows that he hasn't learned anything from the many times he was burnt in the press.  I think he needs to think a little harder before he deals with the media next time.  Just like how a surgeon would teach his residents to repeat the phrase "the pancreas is not your friend" over and over, so should someone teach Phil to repeat the phrase "THE PRESS IS NOT YOUR FRIEND" over and over again!



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