TUMBY BAY - I’ve hit a bit of a log jam with the current book I’m writing and I thought it best to leave it alone for a week while it sorts itself out in the backwaters of my mind.
Unfortunately it’s been hot outside so I haven’t been able to work in my vegie garden or go for a long walk. Anyway, the beach here is currently lousy with out-of-towners frolicking around in the water and making a terrible noise.
Not much I wanted to read either, so I thought I’d have a squizz at daytime television and see what’s currently occupying the synapses of the great unwashed out there in television land.
Understand, this is not something I ordinarily do. Though my wife has a few favourite programs, so there must be some sort of attraction.
She gave me a queer look when I sat down beside her. Normally I just shuffle past making snide comments about inanity.
Anyway, I stuck it out for about 2½ hours. After that, heat or no heat, I headed for the beach.
What I can report is that television confirms my deepest suspicions. Commercial TV during the day is utter crap. Even worse than the garbage they churn out at night.
In the couple of hours before I cracked, I saw a collection of past quiz kings on a chat show discussing their momentous contributions to mankind. I didn’t recognise any of them.
I couldn’t hear them either - the unrecognisable old crocks were too busy talking at once and laughing at each other. The stuff I did hear went entirely over my head anyway.
In between this profusion of irrelevance were inserted segments that may or may not have been advertisements urging me to buy all sorts of rubbish.
Potions and unguents that will make me look 100 years younger, health insurance for my cat, this week’s Easter specials at the supermarkets, Tim Tam-flavoured Coca-Cola and other indigestible garbage that some people apparently live on.
Then some sanctimonious clot called Dr Phil (no relation) showed up to dissect the love lives of a bunch of pathetic individuals who had been instructed to cry on cue.
Next a nasty little lady called Judge Judy verbally eviscerated another collection of fawning supplicants hell bent on sueing the bejesus out of each other.
These last two gems were imports from America. The victims seemed to be mainly what were once called White Trash, Latinos and Blacks – maybe they still are, it’s America after all.
It’s what’s making America great again, I understand.
Even so, I couldn’t help wondering what drove these poor buggers to demean and humiliate themselves in such a way. Money, presumably.
I’ve been depressing myself writing about politicians lately, describing how they sit around watching the world go to hell in a handbasket because of climate change and other man-made ills.
Let me tell you, the politicians are pillars of sanity and integrity compared to commercial daytime television.
If this is what ordinary people watch, day in and day out, we are truly doomed.
Forget about opium for the masses. This stuff is toxic sludge for the masses. Anyone who watched it for a week would emerge brain dead. No doubt about it.
Yet my good wife seems to survive. She watches Dr Phil and Nazi Judy and can carry on a sane conversation afterwards. Maybe it’s a female thing, they do put up with men after all.
I was thinking this when I realised that it’s not only the Yanks who export this stuff. Australia does it too.
I remember sitting in a donga in Mendi once, watching some Aussie culture while waiting for our chopper to be serviced. I also recall seeing it in hotel rooms in Moresby.
It seems that, for a while, one of the Australian commercial stations had the government contract to broadcast into the Asia-Pacific region.
I think it was John Howard’s doing. He replaced all the news, documentary and current affairs with some dickhead called Kochie on a program called Sunrise, a soapie called Neighbours, a bunch of masochists on Big Brother and whining teenagers on a palpable lie entitled Australia’s Got Talent.
There must be many thousands of people in the Asia-Pacific who saw this rubbish and think this is what Australians are like.
You know what I think? After banging on about the end of mankind through climate change, insane national leaders and meteor strikes, I wonder whether humanity is worth saving.
If climate change means the end of Dr Phil, Nazi Judy and Dickhead Kochie, then bring it on.