Today’s topic is multi-faceted. As consumers, much of the programming we have to choose from seems to be reality based. But, is what we’re viewing really reality (except perhaps for a very small minority)? What type of image do these shows portray of America? What are the values being promoted on these programs? Are these programs perpetuating ethic, racial, gender, and economic stereotyping? Why do we support such programming?
Much of what the typical consumer views is for the purpose of distraction. Distraction from our everyday lives, from issues at work, from issues with family, and to take “trips” outside of familiar environments. Some of us like the dramatic, some like to be scared, some like to be taken places they have never been, and some enjoy a good murder mystery. On the positive, hopeful side, this programming is well crafted, well written, and well-acted. Consumers also are distracted by the “what if’s?” of the unknown, the gruesome, the criminal, and outright disgusting, weird, and strange. Are some of these “distractions” harmful to the general public? Have we lost our innocence so totally that anything goes, and programming has to become more and more bizarre to distract and “entertain” us? Yes, the right to free speech is an important tenet of the US. However, we also have the right to demand programming that is done in good taste, that doesn’t only reveal the darkest side of humanity, and promotes society as a place one wants to be a part of.
We have programs about couples or families that only seem to shop, worry about their looks, worry about being invited to the “right” events, and have the expectation that the entire world revolves around them. Some of them flaunt what they believe are their physical attributes. Their lives are filled with drama of the shallowest kind. They certainly are not “typical” of most people, economically, life-style wise, or work-wise. From outside the US, one would think no one in the US has to work to earn money. Then there are programs that pit teams against one another for monetary gain. Participants are encouraged to be devious, deceptive, underhanded, controlling, and mean. From outside the US, one would think it is every person for himself regardless of integrity, trust, or honesty. The end will always justify the means. And every idea that is proposed, has to go further than the previous “game.” We support these values with our viewership. Perhaps it is time to think about what we are really supporting. Who is really in control? The programming networks and their advertisers or ourselves? Please, take back control of the remote.
What do you think?