I’ve been sitting here pondering a few things. Last week saw the release of Frontier Defiant, the final installation in the Frontier Trilogy. Thank you to those of you who purchased both it, and the preceding two volumes!
Now I’m in the middle of writing a fantasy Trilogy and a Science Fiction story (sort of at the same time) along with tweaking a few more short stories and percolating an idea or two.
Having said that, I’m half watching the television as I write. Australian Survivor is currently on. I don’t usually bother with reality TV, because I hate all the strategising and other stupid stuff that goes on.
A few minutes ago, one of the contestants said “Now X has brought morality into it. It doesn’t belong here.” I found that a sad comment on the state of reality television, where greed often seems to win over morality and integrity. Perhaps that’s what makes it so popular.
Once upon a time, I used to read the Mamamia recaps of The Bachelor by Rosie Waterland, because they were hilarious. I didn’t bother watching the actual program. Having said that, I’ve even given up reading them, mainly because even Rosie herself seems fatigued by the ridiculous concept of some random bloke/woman trying to find true love on television while competing with a pile of other people.
I often wonder what we hope to see on this type of TV. Not pleasantness or integrity, because they’re usually sacrificed for alliances, backstabbing and broken promises. Certainly not portrayals of normal relationships, because they’re sacrificed on the altar of sensationalism and drama.
Why is it that we human beings like to see disaster and nastiness, played out by real people in real situations, no matter how manufactured those situations are, that may have a long term impact on those people?
Personally, I’d much rather watch a fictional program, where I can be completely involved in the plot, knowing it’s only make believe. Then I’m able to cheer on the hero/ine while despising the antagonist.
While a fictional program can move us to tears, anger and laughter, it is only make believe. Reality TV puts real people into artificial situations for entertainment purposes, and plays on their foibles and their drama, manipulating both them and the general public in order to make dollars for their television stations.
Of course I do understand that people deliberately go on such shows in order to make money, or gain notoriety, but it still sits awkwardly with me. Particularly when some of those shows shame them, deliberately set them up, or play on their fears and vulnerability.
Where is the morality in that? Where is the responsibility? And why do we, the viewing public, sit there and enjoy it all? What does that say about us?