Tuesday 26 February 2019
WE'RE ALL BECOMING TELEVISION ZOMBIES
A proud mum and dad were overjoyed this Christmas as they relaxed one evening while enjoying a few cans of bitter and smoking cheap booze cruise fags, when their eighteen month old son, Kyle, finally spoke his first word!
Faltering slightly as he scampered toward them clumsily with his little arms outstretched, Kyle hesitated then stared upwards into his parents' eyes that were by this time widened with anticipation, and with the TV remote control gripped tightly in his little hand, he goo gooed, then dribbled, before calling out “EASTENDERS!”
This scenario perhaps should not be mocked, because I presume without question that this is a common scene in households all over the country today.
One of a newborn baby’s first experiences in life is to be breastfed while the mother, no doubt, watches daytime television from her maternity bed.
Then, later in the crucial formative years, television becomes the full time babysitter conditioning the child for those prime years when he or she will spend twenty hours a week slumped passively in front of the box. Until finally, in old age, they find themselves residing in a nursing home dumped in front of a television screen for eighty hours a week, while they wait to die.
Ironically, if they manage to attain popularity of some worth, their funeral may even be shown on television in high definition.
In an age where ‘chewing gum for the eyes’ dominates so many peoples’ lives, I stopped impulsively calling in on friends without prior warning many years ago and in particular over the Christmas period, through fear of interrupting and spoiling their meticulously planned television schedules. Would my audacity, I wondered, ever be forgiven for presuming to receive a warm reception in the middle of a sizzling soap ratings winner?
T.S.Elliot warned us about television in the 50’s. Eminent psychologist Dr Eric Sigman wrote a bestselling book about it called Remotely Controlled and Pink Floyd’s Rodger Waters even composed a bestselling album maligning it and aptly naming it, Amused to Death. The album cover depicts a monkey sat in front of a television set - a cynical nod at modern man.
Despite arguments that TV has both good and bad influences on our culture, in my world it represents awfulness tantamount to attending a naturist’s picnic in a pollen field next to a free range bee farm.
Television is no longer a medium for entertainment. It has become an instrument solely for the purpose of advertising, with the spaces between filled by low budget toilet trash targeting the masses.
Commercials desensitise us as suspension of disbelief is spliced by a commercial for constipation replacing Di Nero or Johansson in the midst of an epic that took years to choreograph, cost tens of millions of dollars to film and resulting in some of the worlds most inspiring and artistic cinematography and film score ever produced.
It’s strange how people complain about occasional junk mail falling onto their doormat but allow high pressure advertisements in Dolby surround sound and moving coloured pictures into their living rooms all day long.
I remain puzzled therefore, why entire rooms are arranged around television sets. Kitchen cabinets have them built in, satellite subscriptions are often prioritized over more important financial demands and social events are structured around them.
Rodger Waters, when interviewed about his album said "And I had at one point this rather depressing image of some alien creature seeing the death of this planet and coming down in their spaceships and sniffing around and finding all our skeletons sitting around our TV sets and trying to work out why it was that our end came before its time, and they come to the conclusion that we amused ourselves to death."
Consequently, if my councillor friend’s desire for a new Radical Party comes to power, as his confidant, he’s pledged me the position of Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. And once there, I shall move to enforce strict unprecedented sanctions against all television companies including banning all soaps, reality shows and commercial breaks during all programmes. And should my authority be challenged I will petition for a complete period of prohibition.
Please therefore take this letter as a warning to all of you who continue to reduce the brain development of your children and have a TV free happy new year!
Express & Echo