November 21, 2003 | Peter

Reality TV Revisited.

The first thing to say about ‘reality TV’ is that most of the time it could hardly be further from ‘reality’. If you stick a camera there, most people behave very differently (even on Jerry Springer!).
As I argue in my next OLO essay, I think western culture, let alone OZ culture, is in deep trouble, and so are we all because of it. RTV is just an extension of a very specific approach to culture, which is like a McCulture. Work out the lowest common denominator (to maximise audience) by minimising any content that requires concentration, and just play with the formula. Thus, when radio began in the US in the 1920s, this formula quickly emerged to maximise advertising impact. The same approach was then transferred to TV in the 1950s. Ever since the remnant quality has been giving way to simpler exploitation of audience hopes/fears. I mean, how many more serial killer shows can we watch?
In the UK another model of public entertainment through quality material was adopted under government authority, carried out by the BBC.
Like much else, Oz got something in between the two models.
The hard fact is, people will eat fast food everyday because it is made to respond to core hunger stimuli i.e. hot fat, salt, suger, etc. But a staple diet of fast food is bad for you. So people have to be educated to refine their tastes. This leads to healthy, well-rounded human beings. Fast food is OK now and then, but not all the time.

Posted by Peter at 4:49 pm | Comments Off on Reality TV Revisited. |
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