Saturday, 29 August 2009
Reality Shows - Who's reality are they?
I was listening to the radio today, while sorting out what clothes I want to take on holiday. It was on Real Radio Northwest, although was only half listening as they were prattling on, as only dj's can, about the X Factor.
I don't watch reality programmes. Any reality programmes.
I feel there is something fundamentally wrong in finding the humiliation of others entertaining. Quite apart from the fact that half of the programmes are as boring as watching cheese mature. So my mind was more on my packing than on what they were saying.
That was until they phoned one of the contestants. As she spoke my attention was pulled more and more to what she was saying. From what the dj's said, she was very good and was going forward. I can't quote word for word, but roughly what she said was:
"The judges actively encourage the really awful singers, telling them they are really good, in order to talk them into coming back and singing in front of an audience, so that they can be laughed at".
I stared at the radio appalled at what I was hearing. I had cynically voiced my suspicion about this in the past but to hear it admitted by someone was a shock. I can't actually put into words how this makes me feel. The human race really hasn't evolved very far at all has it. From Victorian Freak Show to the present day, we still seem to think it is fine to laugh at others.
I voiced my concerns and someone came back questioning whether they were "all there" as surely people know if they can't sing. This raised two points in my mind..
1) Surely if they aren't "all there" as it was so daintily put.. isn't that even worse? We are back to the freak show mentality.
2) I think there are some people who don't realise what they sound like. I have known a few people who are completely tone deaf, singing along to music quite happily not realising they are hitting completely the wrong notes. They were intelligent people, definitely "all there".
I realise I have no hope of changing people's minds about these programmes. I think they perpetuate the freak show mentality. They give people, in effect, permission to laugh at those people that aren't perfect.
One day the human race might realise that this is very wrong.
Or one day, those that find it so funny and entertaining, might find themselves on the receiving end. I can only hope, because they really are a sorry excuse for humanity.