Scratching my own funny bone for shits and giggles. Lampooning books, music and being a single woman over 40. Recording observations with an almost Seinfeldian obsession for the minutiae of life. Things can get sweary around here. You understand.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

CAUTIONARY TALES

After reading Flinthart's post tonight about warning labels I felt compelled to post this old rant of mine...About six months ago I imposed a ban on commercial television in our house because I’d had enough of the sub-standard programming, the inane and patronising advertising and the dire state of news reporting. It was desperate attempt to restore some peace to the household. I know I joke a lot about being the number one candidate for the funny farm, but this was serious. I realized that I’d developed this maddening co-dependent relationship with the largest inanimate object in the house; to a point where I had to keep a spray bottle of window cleaner and the paper towels by the screen. This habit of verbally abusing the television had not only become invisible to me but was starting to scare the family. Even the TV thought I was a jerk. It all started when programmers decided that cautionary tales and other vague predictions of doom and gloom should be considered the highest form of entertainment. Let’s have a look at a typical week of news and current affairs. On Monday we have dire warnings of obesity underscoring random shots of headless fat people minding their own business in the Queen Street Mall. Tuesday it’s prostates and breasts being squeezed into imaging machines. Wednesday is ode to skin cancer day. Thursday it’s more useless analysis of the road toll followed by the dangers of compulsive gambling and passive smoking; and you can bet your bottom dollar Friday will be a party-themed discussion about binge drinking and driving under the influence. I really don’t know how we managed to survive before all this. At least back then the news had some bloody news in it. If there is one thing of which I am certain; this culture of dispensing advice and rampant fear mongering is turning the nation into candidates for the mental hospital. How on earth did we manage to survive before TV? Who was there to tell us to exercise more, to swim between the flags and to avoid walking into oncoming traffic? You had your Mum for that and rightly so. It’s hard to imagine how the Australian Army managed to recruit enough troops for Iraq considering all of the reports about the inherent dangers of war: things like 'shell-induced deafness' and 'grenade-throwing repetitive strain injuries'...“Yes the situation is looking terribly grim. I’m dug in on the north face with a chain-smoker, an obsessive-compulsive with ADD and Smith has been laid out with a bloody awful case of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. We’re also down to our last tube of sun-factor 15. I really don’t know how much longer we can hold out.” Don’t you reckon it’s time for TV to get real? Just for once I’d like to hear some straight talking the next time the news decides to dedicate half an hour to the dangers of crossing train tracks. I want to hear the spokesman from Queensland Rail say, “Yep those kids are farking A-grade jerk-offs. Even my five year old has enough brains not to do that” I happy to report, that thanks to Foxtel, the TV and I are almost back on civilised speaking terms. Fewer commercials, a decent slice of Australian programming and re-runs of your favourite show from the 70s. This new and improved relationship with media got me thinking. George Orwell really was onto something when he wrote 1984 but little did he realize that whilst some people would tune into Big Brother, the rest of us would be watching re-runs of the Goodies…and loving every minute of it.

14 comments:

bangarrr said...

Commercial TV appeals to the lowest common denominator, and that is very low indeed. I found the off switch a long time ago (that long ago I was buying VHS tapes of the shows I wanted to watch).

beeso said...

I'm breathlessly waiting for when torrents and downloadable content kills off dance/fat/singing shows and makes the networks find a bit of time for the arrested developement and mad men of the world.

Kimmywoo said...

Sam de-B-what's-his-face has a similar rant in the Sun Herald this morning. Your's is obviously the better article.

Kimmywoo said...

Hmmm. Yours not your's?

brian said...

Yoohew! Now that's what I call a dummy spit.
You forgot the 23 hours of crime shows every week.(seems light on to me, I count more than that)

Tim said...

Nat, you're spot on! I absolutely abhor regular TV. Why, just this morning I was trying to find something decent, something entertaining on TV, but all I could find were infomercials and news shows about every which way there is to die and what I need to do to avoid it and live longer.

May the Angels forgive me, but I got so disgusted that I hurled several nasty profane words at my TV and shut the darn thing off!

I seem to recall some time as a younger man when I could watch television and enjoy it. I could happily watch shows like Happy Days, Batman, The Munsters, Gilligans Island or even, The Waltons. All, mind you, in between, beer, hard liquor, cigarette and sun tanning oil commercials. Ah, those were the good old days! :)

Flinthart said...

Oh, I'd give anything if the media would just talk straight.... or give me the option. Mmmm. Tasty.

LERMONTOV said...

I couldn't agree more with you. But, I suppose we make the rod for our own backs. Whenever anyone does some stright talking, which by its very nature offends someone, we all howl about how insensitive/oppresive/racist it is.

So I guess we're fucked!

Steve said...

Fx (a Fox division) is producing some of our best TV these days.....Rescue Me with Denis Leary, The Riches with Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver (playing a family of American Gypsies), etc. TNT, a Turner company, also has some excellent stuff. Their newest program, Leverage (with Timothy Hutton) is a great show. Much better than what network TV is producing right now.

NATALIA THE RUSSIAN SPY said...

BEESO: Yeah buddy...things are grim. I can't wait for a dancing version of the biggest loser...can you imagine all that wobbling during the cha-cha? Network killer!

BANG: I flick over to commercial TV on occasion to see if anything's changed...nup...Brooke and Ridge are still professing undying love 'no matter what' on B&B...sighs.

STEVE: Yeah it's a shame though when cable shows get picked up by the commercial networks and gag the new series being shown until they've done with it....hurts even more when cable would play a show nightly and they do it weekly. GRRRRRR

LERM: Of course it will piss people off...I live for that!

FLINT: You been eating Thai Beef Salad in front of the Russian news on SBS again?

KIMMY: Sam de Brito...TOOL!

BRIAN: Yeah those crime shows do my head in. Whenever someone says they want to get into forensics my eyes glaze over.

TIM: Ah...the good old days...I used to love the Marlboro ads!

Steve said...

The Marlboro ads kind of lost touch when the cowboys with the 70's porn mustaches started dying of cancer.

NATALIA THE RUSSIAN SPY said...

They still live long and hard in my dreams baby!

Steve said...

Also, what really confused me about Marlboro's... where I grew up in New Jersey, there was a town called Marlboro 2 towns over. I truly thought that's where they were made. But alas, the only thing that ever came out of that Marlboro was escaped inmates from the state insane asylum.

Seriously...security there was shit, they walked out of their weekly.

Steve said...

And Tom Selleck would likely make a good substitute. All the mo' of the Marlboro Man, none of the lung cancer.

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