NBC’s decision to to skip a 9/11 tribute and go instead with a Kardashian interview deserves a 2 minutes silence in itself. The seemingly unstoppable invasion of the vacuous, untalented and self-obsessed in the genre of entertainment programming is tragic enough, but for it to encroach into the News and Current affairs arena is simply deplorable.
This morning I happened upon a programme screening on the E Channel entitled ‘Mel B, It’s a scary world’, and indeed it was. A series dedicated to an incredibly needy woman who spends her entire life time getting made-up to go out to events where she can position herself front and centre. In one interminable scene we see Mel ‘shopping’, something that for most of us involves parting with money, however for the woman who has made millions from her pop career the idea that she should pay for anything is quite offensive.
She believes that people should feel privileged to simply give her their product in some mistaken belief that her endorsement will somehow pay their rent. We endure scenes with Mel, her new husband and her therapist , in one, when told she must go for 3 hours on her birthday to appear at a corporate function for which she will be incredibly well remunerated she whines about the length of time she will have to attend and that she will have to return the ‘loan’ jewelry, “what’s that all about ?” she quips. Like everything else in the programme, it’s about nothing.
Mel surrounds herself with equally needy and dysfunctional psychophants, who constantly re-assure her how incredible she is, looks or performs. However when singing acapella in her dressing room before yet another 5 minute appearance she shows that she struggles to hold a note. She declares at the end of the programme that she has a wonderful life, I beg to disagree.
So why do I care and why should anyone be concerned ? After all I could just switch channels or turn the TV off. Well yes I could, but it is the devastating demise of a medium, that I happen to believe is incredibly valuable, that upsets me the most.
I’m concerned that according to viewing statistics, we are told that a significant number of those watching believe that they care about the life of Mel B and others in similar programmes. I realise it isn’t my job or the role of television to tell the populous they can or can’t, should or shouldn’t, enjoy. However surely we should be asking the question why or how anyone gain anything meaningful from such inane drivel, other than to perhaps draw the inevitable conclusion, that with all the opportunity given to the somewhat sad Mel B, one would hope that if we were to be given the same advantages we would turn out to be a rather more contributory member of society.
Personally I think that the demise of Television content over the past couple of decades has been the fault of those commissioning programmes and predicting trends and of course they are often, but not always, under the control of the owners of the stations for which these programmes are made.
The de-regulation of broadcasting worldwide has meant that TV became far more of a product than a medium. Over the last 3 decades those who realised the power and value of the small screen for informative, entertaining and educative programmes have been frozen out, being replaced by a new breed who realise that the undoubted power that I mentioned, could in fact simply be perverted into being used for wholesale profit.
They realised that by disrespecting the audience, an audience whose taste they could manipulate, the diet of programming on offer could be changed. They understood that rather like a chronic over eater, if the audience were only fed a diet of mind-numbing crap they would finally simply accept it and enjoy. Others might of course prefer the analogy of a drug pusher and junkie.
The only part of the theory that those driving this type of TV didn’t factor in, was that in the final analysis if you feed the viewers an unhealthy diet they might eventually die.