Reality Bites

Big Brother
Big Brother

I stumbled upon this article a few days ago which revealed that reality TV ‘star’ Joey Essex is reportedly making more money than the Prime Minister of Britain.

While I’m no fan of Cameron, it’s hard to imagine how a television personality, famous for his lack of intelligence, can be hawked around the various TV channels on shows like ‘TOWIE‘ (‘The Only Way is Essex’ for those who don’t speak Acronym), ‘Splash‘, ‘I’m a Celebrity…’ and make huge profit from it.

I personally can’t stand reality TV shows. I confess to watching Big Brother back in the early 2000’s because the format was original, compelling and the social dynamics and psychology fascinated me. Cheap to produce, stellar ratings and high viewing figures meant broadcasters captialised on our whet appetite and have been shovelling reality and talent shows onto our plate with increasing regularity ever since.

I can’t watch TV at all anymore – opting instead to watch the shows and documentaries I want to see on-line whenever I want. TV was the seventh member of our family when I grew up especially evident at dinnertime every single day. Instead of enjoying a family meal and discussing school/work or other matters, my family would eat in silence, glued to the glass tit in the corner of the room.

I’m not against all TV. It’s just the mindless bilge that we’re continuously served up, like a steaming turn on a silver platter which we chow down on in our absent minded haste, not once taking the time to question the stink.

It’s been years since I’ve bought a newspaper. Bored sometimes, I flick over to the Daily Mail website and instantly regret it. The latest Kardashian-Jenner updates (of which there appears to be at least three new items daily) make me instantly regret my choice as I mentally scold myself for clicking through albeit in morbid fascination.

All of it a mass distraction. What passes for news today is truly frightening. The dumbing down of the masses. Spoon feeding the latest news around whether Caitlyn Jenner prefers men or women, or which footballer is sleeping with which supermodel  might appear on the surface titillating and salacious but my God, surely there are better things we could be doing with our time?

We’ve become a nation of voyeurs, living our lives through our favourite TV Star or Celeb. Instead of connecting with one another, we’re connecting with our heroes on Instagram or Twitter, another noisy platform that encourages this egotistical, antisocial behaviour.

Instead of exercising and reclaiming our physical fitness, we’re watching others do it on the box, criticising our beloved football team from the comfort of our own settee as we prop a beer on our extended bellies.

Instead of making love with our partners or for singletons, finding that special someone, we’re watching other people have sex online. Dont even get me started on the Dating App Scene and the ‘Swipe if you Like’ superficial mindset attached to that.

Einstein, Nightingale, Tolstoy and Socrates
Einstein, Nightingale, Tolstoy and Socrates

We’re living in a world where we’re observing other people have all the fun and we’re giving our energy and time to these vampiric entities that really do nothing for us. Time is the most precious commodity we have on this Earth and our time here is finite.

What has anyone ever learnt from watching Eastenders for the past decade? ‘Oh but it’s entertaining….’ Really? I suggest you get out more, and THAT’S THE POINT!

I’m reminded of a quote by Groucho Marx, Comedian and (ironically) TV Star.

I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.

I’m a single man with no children but have young nephews and a niece that I adore. For me, one of the greatest pleasures life has given me are those opportunities where I can sit down to play or read a story to the kids. Unfortunately, TV has become a babysitter for many households and it was certainly the case for my own – and its role has become so entrenched in family life today.

Societies adoration for short-term satisfaction is so great and tied to so many media and tech outlets that a real conscious, sustainable effort needs to be exerted especially for those who have misspent their teenage years being brought up on such garbage as Geordie Shore, or other idiotic shows that encourage and reward the wrong kind of behaviour and position poor role models for encouragable teenagers.

Smart phones connected to our hip like an umbilical cord, social media and Apps vying for our attention every minute of the day, not to mention a hundred different ways to keep in touch and broadcast your own ‘unique’ views to the world shorten our time and attention spans further. Welcome to the MTV Generation.

Our own creative expression has been tempered, and in it’s place we’re become unquestioning, apathetic voyeurs subservient to our Masters who continue to placate us with more of the same bile.

Instead of lauding Scientists, Novel Prize Winners and Honouring Writers of Outstanding Literature as in yesteryear, our society endorses and regales the latest boy-band (which looked a lot like the last boy-band 5-10-15…years ago) or the latest sex scandal,fall from grace starlet who just happens to have a new TV Show and book in the pipeline.


The world’s gone mad!

9 thoughts on “Reality Bites

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