Is it just me or has anyone else noticed the rapid progression of the dumbing down of our society? I don’t have free to air television so I have Foxtel (Australian cable). The line up consists of reruns of old British comedy, most of which really hasn’t stood the test of time, reruns of MASH, which has stood the test of time and many cooking & renovation programs. That is, at least to me, the only stuff that is watchable. I pay for the privilege of watching programs that went to air while I was still in my teens.
The stuff that ISN’T worth watching, in my opinion, is the trash that is sold to us as reality tv. Now I don’t mind a little bit of trash but when it’s purpose is to (a) cut down on production costs and (b) make the world a more stupid place, I do object strongly. If I don’t want to watch reruns or home improvement programs, I get a choice of things like; Keeping up with the Kardashians, Dance Moms, 19 Kids and Counting, Housewives of Beverly Hills, Pawn Stars, Honey BooBoo and an endless supply of other shows of the same ilk, providing the same mindless claptrap to the masses.
I hear the cry of “oh it’s just a bit of fun” but is it really? We watch some absolute madwoman screaming obscenities at children who dare to dream enough to want to be dancers and we call that entertainment? It’s child abuse. When you watch it, think about what you would do if she screamed at or belittled your beautiful child in that way. How would you react? If your reaction was anything less than wanting to destroy her for attacking your offspring like that, maybe you should rethink your role as a parent. Harsh? I don’t think so! Does it do anything to build a world where children are free to dream without being ridiculed or to make mistakes without being disparaged?
We watch rich, spoiled, privileged women who have had so much plastic surgery that the dimple in the chin is possibly their navel, all fighting and screaming at each other and we call that amusing? It’s playing into the chauvinistic idea that all women should look perfect at all times and should have bitch fights over men. Who perpetrated that idea? Do you think it was one of our sisters from years ago who went through hell to fight for the privileges we have today as women? I don’t think so! Does it do anything to support equality for all women or to encourage our future generations of girls to believe they are more than just the sum of the way they look? Does it send a message to young women that tells them it’s okay to be strong, smart and single?
We watch poor people going in to stores to sell goods that may or may not belong to them, for much less than it is worth, because they either need the money or want their 2 minutes of fame. They are then abused by very dubious characters, dripping in gold, who prey on the sadness of poverty. Does it do anything to support the families who are living beneath the poverty line, usually through no fault of their own? Does it put a roof over the head of, or feed the homeless? Does it offer education in budgeting and self sufficiency for the people who need it the most?
Do these “reality” shows actually do anything to educate, inform, improve or better the world we live in? Not everything needs to but when that is the bulk of what’s on offer for our viewing pleasure (and I use the word pleasure very loosely) I think the world is becoming a much sadder place.
You may say that the home improvement shows are also reality tv and I watch them. Yes I do. But those shows do offer a way of improving your own little piece of the world if you so choose to. They do offer tips on how to better your home and in doing so, your self esteem. They aren’t designed to dumb us down. The other shows actually are.
They are created by people who don’t want us, as a society, to think about the bigger issues. Distracting us with visions of people behaving badly just serves to make us feel a bit superior without having to put any effort into improving ourselves. Is that what we want?
Do we want our daughters growing up to believe they have to be beautiful and bitchy to “land” a wealthy husband and that is all they are good for? Do we want our sons growing up to believe that women are only there for their pleasure? Do we want a world where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer? If you think that’s an over exaggeration, look at cultures that don’t provide education. That’s exactly what happens. It’s knowledge and education and kindness that will take us into a new and improved version of our world. A world where everyone knows that they have a chance to live their dream if they want it bad enough and work for it. A world where class is word that describes lessons in school and not a division of the have’s and have not’s.
I honestly believe that, collectively, we want that world. We won’t achieve it by remaining happy to be treated as idiots by those who have the responsibility of educating and entertaining us. Entertainment does not have to be nasty or full of hostility to be entertaining. It can be educational and funny and informative and nice. Somewhere along the line we’ve adopted the opinion that nice is boring. We need to change that opinion.
I don’t accept that 19 year olds are dumb and don’t want to be informed of the goings on in their world. It’s just that it’s what they’re being sold as the norm. It saddens me to think that we, as a society, are watching this sort of abusive bullshit and laughing at it but then being outraged by the amount of bullying, hatred and war that is happening around us. If a whole generation grows up watching this sort of nonsense, they will think it’s normal and let’s face it, it isn’t.
Let’s start to get smart. Let’s start to demand high quality programming that not only entertains but also educates, informs and helps raise our expectations. Let’s stop making sociopaths into celebrities and stop making light of the real issues that make our world a poorer place. It’s only because we’ve come to accept the drivel they are now offering us, that they keep making it..
I’m not saying everything has to be serious, but let’s start to expect smart. If we expect good quality, informative, entertaining programming, guess what? We’ll get it. We are the consumer. We set the trend. Let’s set a smart one!
Happy Viewing…. Livvy :)