Saturday, August 06, 2011

Telly brainwashing

George Monbiot in the Guardian castigates the integrity of the BBC and its programme, "Top Gear".

"Top Gear has a political agenda. It's a mouthpiece for an extreme form of libertarianism and individualism. It derides attempts to protect the environment, and promotes the kind of driving that threatens other people's peace and other people's lives. It often creates the impression that the rules and restraints which seek to protect us from each other are there to be broken...So how does it get away with it? It's simple. It makes the BBC a fortune."

Television everywhere since its invention and spread has been an instrument of ruling class propaganda and subtle conditioning. TV's influence has been huge. As it has expanded as a medium it has helped magnify the inanities of a decadent society. Flick the TV on... is it soap, a documentary, the news, an ad...who knows?

Television is the passive entertainment par excellence - the second-handedness of almost everything. Despite those reality TV shows, the viewer is as wholly non-participant as is possible to be. That is only the least part of it, however. The awful mimicry has to be seen to be believed: unending imitations of imitations, until imitation is an end in itself. The acceptance of stereotypes for practically everything. What matters much more is the man wearing other people's looks, copying other people's tricks, living by other people's judgements, and thinking other people's thoughts. TV encourages us to perpetually look youthful – and makes us feel inadequate if we don’t. Television over the years has become the most noticeable expression (and exponent) of the dumbing-down of society. Short, half-hour programmes that are trivial and humourous are much favoured by advertisers.

If we spend too much time viewing, then our expectations, morals and fears are more likely to be influenced by what we see on-screen than what we experience in real life. For example, television has conditioned us to be frightened of dark city streets because this is the setting for so much televised violence. News present bellicose, belligerent and biased war reporting (every channel, every year).

The good thing they say about modern TV is that there is more choice. Or at least there appears to be more choice. The problem is there is nothing to choose between them— they are all essentially the same. The appearance of more choice is just that—an appearance, or even an apparition.

Lambasting television is easy. Television, whatever they say about it, is part of modern social life. Obviously that does not justify its banality. It is quite true that most television programmes are stupid, noisy, mediocre and pointless. But why single out television? Bad as television may be, it has only followed every other form of mass entertainment.

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