When did television turn from a dream machine into a weapon?
by Landra Whitehouse
Because it has. Do you remember when television meant sitting down to watch a show that would life your spirits, either through its cleverness or through its escapism qualities? It was an easy way of reading a book. I always escape when I read a book. I enter into another world and for a little while lose sight of all the things in my life I don’t want to think about.
Well there was a time when television did that. It helped you escape from the mundane things in your life you wished to forget for a little bit of your time. It was pure relaxation to watch the television.
Now what have we got? 24 hour news channels where you can see the outpouring of peoples grief first hand; bereaved people from all over the world being shown in their moments of grief. Then you have soaps which, let’s be honest, have turned into nightmares with no one doing anything decent anymore. No longer is your soap a snapshot of someone else’s life, like Undermilkwood and Dylan Thomas but it is a horror story with murders, intrigue and cheating at every turn.
We are taken into the bloody world of accidents and operating theatres, of the ambulance service and the police chase. We watch border patrols catch criminals (Is this supposed to make us think we are safe?) and huge Lorries get the Xmas turkeys through to the supermarkets so you can go and buy them and not suffer through a shortage of turkey. Then we watch people with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) clean peoples filthy homes who are proud of spending £16 a week on bleach to pour down their toilets and destroy the planet. What if they had to spend that £16 on food or starve, I ask myself; is OCD only an illness of those who can afford it?
So what is that dream machine of old telling us now, is it telling us we should hide in our homes or all those ills will befall us; then when we are hiding in our homes watching our TV they can replay the floods and the terrible weather that battered Britain to you over and over again. However those poor people are still trying to get their lives back after the floods and they are now old news. But still we watch the dawn of the floods, the sheer power of nature over and over again.
Turn over the channel and you can watch the trial of Oscar Pretorius live. Who in heavens name wants to watch the trial of a man from South Africa whose poor girlfriend lies dead and gone through his hand, be it a mistake or not. But who wanted to watch the funeral of Margaret Thatcher for weeks and weeks after her demise and who wanted to watch the funeral of Nelson Mandela for weeks and weeks. Pay your television license and watch the dream box.
Only for me and I suspect for millions of others this is no longer a dream box but a tool to manipulate people, a weapon of the rich and powerful who they use to protect their own wealthy world.
I want the dream box back.
The internet promised it for a while but once again that has been hijacked by Facebook and Twitter and once again used as a weapon against those people who thought this new technology was going to bring a brave new age. Such a pity it is at such a cost.
Oh well back to my books!