I wish to thank Elias Verghitsis from Go Culture for translating my post on Greek TV and for posting it at http://www.goculture.gr/story.aspx?s_id=1381
When television and its leading figures adopt populism
I don’t watch TV. I don’t say this out of snobbery but I believe this is my way to defend a minimum sense of good taste and fine judgment. But inevitably as a professional, I have to be informed on matters of massive television consumption in order to see where things go. Unfortunately, it is not surprising that television and its leading figures make everything they can to finally adopt populism and a this-is-what-people-want kind of pseudo-axioms.
But this is not what people want, this is simply what they cook for them and if you’re hungry and there’s nothing else available, you’ll end up eating junk, tinned food or anything that is easy to find at once. This easiness is neither a viewpoint nor an involvement from their side; it is just something you consume simply and effortlessly and I am against anything related to thoughtless consumption of things that caress my ears.
There has been an open debate lately –in blogs too- about this year’s phenomenon of TV shows that always rank high in television rating charts. I’m interested in talking about anything that does not score high because this is where you find the core and the counter-arguments of the matter. Unfortunately, this way or the other, when you really score high –if they allow you to do so- you pay a service to the established system, its ethics and sense of taste (this is what keeps us entertained these days on prime time TV and newspaper leading articles that sell like crazy), which means that both you and the system invent new ways to co-exist one next to the other.
This is exactly what I see as an issue of moral and aesthetic value and this is where I lay my objections to this kind of sensational shows and celebrities who present them. Regrettably, what I describe is not an individual case and this explains why my own TV set at home is treated as a piece of furniture to put things on and clean of the dust from time to time, or serves as a grey mirror that makes me and my boyfriend joke about when we see our funny reflections on it.
This happens only when we sit on the couch, thus we prefer to take short trips to the countryside. This is where we find clean air, different colors and another kind of truth. A truth that television is afraid to present οn its prime time shows because it will most likely contradict the argument that this is the kind of bubble-gum the viewers love to chew.
Every year at the Rhodes festival that I run, the people’s award is the event’s most enterprising and pioneering prize and it is really teaching a lesson to juries that operate in a self-censored way, just like frontline entertainers on TV. What people want –at least those who have the guts to leave their couch- is clean air, oxygen, an open horizon and beauty. Sadly, these are things you do not find in prestigious TV shows because they are simply trapped and in effect not at all prestigious.
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