It’s not often that the BBC would give an hour of prime time to the dark subject of self harm, but thanks to Meera Syal, the documentary ‘A World Of Pain’ did just that. Whilst obviously the actress was instrumental in getting the programme made, she was also the weakest link for reasons we will discuss.
Firstly Syal has no direct link with self harm. She has never done it, her kids don’t do it, her friends don’t do it, nothing. The onlyreason she knows anything about it is that she researched it for one of her books. Now that’s not to say she cant form a valid opinion and co,e up with good points, but instead she decided (though whether she realised she was doing it is debatable) to patronise at every opportunity, sometimes even coming across as offensive. After hearing the harrowing story of one sufferer, all she follows up with is telling the story of when she was at school and noone did it. Then going back to her old university, “Look at me! Look at me!”, get back to the subject in hand, Meera for goodness sake.
Her shock at seeing pictures of wounds on youtube is ruined when she stupidly proclaims “She’s written on her arm in blood!” – NO, she has bladed the letters into her arm and the blood has risen through the wounds spelling out the words ‘I’m Fine’. Those are two very different things. She also falls into the trap of dismissing famous people who self harm as if their pain is less – showing Blake Fielder-Civil’s marks and Amy Winehouse’s lacerations, she exclaims that people are more open such as “Amy Winehouse’s apparent self harm” APPARENT? How much more real do you want it to be?
Basically she seems to treat those in the film in a very patronising fashion, the surprise at how one explains her action being impressive “For one so young” and being surprised that one girl goes to a group meeting ‘that even includes a few boys’. Stop the press, men do it too, which she could have researched more if she hadn’t spent a great deal of time bleating on about the Asian community, changing the whole focus and flow of the documentary. What was more annoying was her questioning all the studies that have been done into it, because she didn’t do it and her friends don’t, so how can the figures be true? That helps noone, does it? She should be celebrating that the research is being done.
Oh well, they did wait 35 minutes before playing The Smiths and didn’t at any point blame Marilyn Manson or Slipknot which made a nice change…