Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The Dumbing Down of Society

I don't want to sound like an intellectual snob (which I'm well aware I do sound like that sometimes), but has anyone ever noticed how the content in mainstream and popular media is just so freaking stupid? You only need to turn to TV on in prime time to see the most recent garbage reality show or walk past a magazine rack and notice that the Kardashians are doing something (who knows what they actually do) or the exclusive photos of the latest footballer's wedding. Vomit.

It seems that because TV ratings and selling papers and magazines is all that really matters, it means that journalists/producers need to provide content to appeal to the broadest possible audience. Basically, if you create an artwork that doesn't pull in millions of viewers or sell millions of papers, then it barely sees the light of day. Because what's the point if it's not making money?

A good example of this is the short-lived but excellent comedy sitcom, Arrested Development. It was complex, very witty and had clever little story lines to follow through each episode. It was pushed around to stupidly late time slots and at irregular times throughout the week. This meant that people lost interest and it became the funniest show that nobody watched. Unfortunately, this has made way for other shows to infiltrate the prime time slot. Like Two and a Half Men, which has desensitised everyone into laughing at blatant sexism and alcohol abuse. "Ha ha ha, soooo funny!" No, it's not.

Fashion/gossip magazines are a disgrace all on their own. Guaranteed to cover the latest celebrity bitch fight or weight gain, they barely have a shred of dignity. The magazine cover below shows a severely photoshopped image of Jessica Simpson claiming she is on a 'revenge diet', whatever the hell that means. I can't imagine wasting my money or time on this utter bile.

And then there are current affair shows that act as the trashy magazine of TV. Shows like this spend their time informing viewers about the dangers of bruised apples at supermarkets, the annoyance of young people, the plight of hard-done-by pensioners and the disease that is dodgy contractors. Perfect viewing for anyone who has switched their brain off for the evening.

The media has incredible power to influence what we think. It's a propaganda machine that tells you what to eat, what to wear, how to look, who to vote for, who to like and who to hate. And while there is civil unrest in Syria, car bombings in Iraq, ever increasing control from banks and breakthroughs in science, everyone is sitting back watching Grant Denyer read the weather and talking cross-promotions while paragliding.

But, there is a glimmer of hope with the ever-increasing internet use for news outlets and journalism blogs. Instead of sitting through an hour of the news on TV, I can pull up a news website and click on the stories I want to read, filtering out all the other rubbish. I can easily search for topics that I'm interested in and read other people's opinions on blogs and not just rely on the one or two biased media giants that own all publications. The internet is freedom and I, for one, am very thankful for it.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed. Very well written article.

    Kind of makes you wonder "why don't we hit the roof when we go down in an elevator?"