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Thursday, 19 July 2007

Quizzed Shows

The BBC lied. Perhaps not shocking news, but it should be. Those three letters (two the same) once symbolised - along with wartime propaganda - a sense of integrity, a sense of British decency. No more. A few years back, the elegant, if somewhat worthy film Quiz Show told the story of how the Golden Age of American TV in the Eisenhower Era was exposed for the sham it was - about as honest as a two-bit carnival in Idaho - but the story seemed remote from contemporary experience - we all knew, or thought we knew, that the Wizard of Oz was trumped up quackery, and that grand illusions and narratives were the order of the day; unflappable, cynical, we took our daily doses of TV with grains of salt leavening the laudanum - in a blissful opium dream, unwilling to consider the truth, or consequences. Well. If institutions like the BBC fix their contests and call-ins, for better TV, what else is fixed, in British society? Dossiers for war? Reports on police culpability in the shooting of innocents? Dear me. Everything is broken, as Dylan once sang. Say it ain't so, Joe, as the other song goes. But why so much dishonesty at the Beeb? I'd suggest one of the signature styles of the times is a signal failing of integrity, especially among the competitive younger generations. You see it in the suits and ties and purple shirts of Estate Agents everywhere, beetling about town in their tiny clown cars, jumping out to lie like a snake-oil huckster in Montana and sell you a subsiding shed for a mansion. They lie to us, to make money, to get ahead. Blair lied (ho hum), the spin doctors lied (yawn), now Comic Relief seems to have been involved in sexed-up phone-ins. What's next? Don't tell me someone might start fixing poetry contests, rigging juries, and promoting mediocre talents simply for fame and fortune? Resist the temptations of the BBC!
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