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television & society


Yesterday we were talking with Dylan about how strange things seem these days. On one hand, the world seems to be going to hell in a handbasket: wars, rumors of wars, disease, poverty, you name it. There is a vast divide between poor and rich, and it's growing. Already, what Bono said in 'God Part II' is not just true, it's a given: "The rich stay healthy, and the sick stay poor".

Cue in television (and the media in general): There the world seems to be a landscape of celebrities and their amazing lives. The masses are enthralled by it. Celebrities are being created out of thin air, some people become celebrities appearing in shows designed to create celebrities (and then control their cash flow), other people were celebrities and now appear in shows that are appealing because you can see people that used to be celebrities in 'everyday life'... turning them into celebrities again (think: The Osbournes'). TV in particular seems to be obsessed with stupid, inconsequential bullshit.

Mmm, I feel a Fight Club moment coming...

Yesterday, for example, I turned on the TV for a moment during a break in work and there is Britney Spears in concert. I was watching it with no sound to try to understand the coreography (I couldn't) and then I noticed that the giant screen that is supposed to give people in the back of the stadium a better view was blasting images at high speed, zooming in and out every 1/2 a second and moving like crazy, which of course made it impossible to see anything. This is not new, there is a TV channel that has literally pioneering this kind of television: MTV. So now there the concerts for the "post-MTV generation" are done in a way so that they look like television. Reality becomes irrelevant, a live show is nothing more than a souped up video. Yikes.

But that's not all. The song ends. The image cuts from the concert arena to a sentence "The million dollar smile". I think "WTF?". I turn on the sound.

The sentence changes to an image of a building, and zooms in until you can see a plaque on the outside. It's a dentist's office.

Cut to the face of a woman, saying: "Yes, that's what I do. I design smiles. I designed Britney Spears smile, which is literally a million-dollar smile. But she's the most famous example of what we do here everyday."

Let's ignore the fact that a dentist is not "famous" because she can drill holes in your mouth or apply a whitening solution.

I mean design smiles??? That is just messed. And this is the kind of "entertainment" that is provided 24/7, along with other kinds of "entertainment" like news coverage on wars, famine, corruption....

What's the endgame for all this? Nuclear war? Nah. More likely, just further sinking into a pile of inconsequential garbage. Like TS Eliot said: "This is how the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper".

Categories: personal
Posted by diego on January 12 2003 at 2:08 PM

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