OK. This is enough reason to have Pay TV. But only just.

Over the years, those so-obliging and ever-so-clever clever cable people have gradually got me to add more and more channels to my box, until now I have a vast incoming feed of every possible type of TV programme imaginable.

I have been talked into every money-saving pack on offer. My monthly Foxtel subscription now rivals the Greek debt.

I can now watch re-runs of Iron Chef America on three different channels. (Bobby Flay, if you make that chipotle sauce one more time I have you taken out, I swear. And what the fuck is chipotle anyway?)

I have seen every episode of “Extreme Fishing”  at least three times. (Admittedly Robson Green does make me laugh a lot.)

And watching early episodes of Midsomer Murders before John Nettles’ face became so rigidly, brilliantly expressive that he could convey the guts of an entire scene with just the tweak of one facial muscle and an exhalation of a long-held breath does give one an interesting insight into the growth of an actor’s craft.

But in general, what is served up is total crap. Last night, at 10.03 pm, I had to concede that there wasn’t a single programme on I wanted to watch, on any channel. Furtively, my eyes even travelled across the room to the bookshelf. I couldn’t, could I?

This is the bread and circuses of today. Mindless, brain numbing, threatening to drag one down into a morass, a pit, an abyss, filled with mental confetti and candy floss, drizzled with sticky engine oil, in which we become stuck, never to escape. Cloying, suffocating, deadly.

You can almost hear the executives and politicians chanting their mantra quietly as they watch us sitting in traffic jams on the freeway, gazing affectionately at us from their gleaming glass and steel eyries. Work hard, spend up big, go home, switch your brain off. Work hard, spend up big, go home, switch your brain off.

You know why they don’t need troops on the barricades to keep us quiet any more. They have pay TV.

Emilia Clarke as the Khaleesi in Game of Thrones

Turn it off. Go outside. You know it makes sense.

And its not even good crap. For every Game of Thrones (“Oh! Khaleesi! Be still my beating heart!”) we have to endure a “Restoration Nightmare”, “Vanished”, “Jersey Shore”, “Teen Mom”, “16 and Pregnant”, even some unbelievable pap called “Entertainment Tonight” – surely that show should be done under the Trades Descriptions Act?

And, of course, those fucking Kardashians – a cipher for our modern age if ever there was one – in any one of 17 universally brain numbing, over-made-up but subtly different incarnations. ” Where are we doing this series, Hun? I know, let’s do Paris!”

Anyway. (Deep breath.) So when I saw the artwork below, I am afraid I could not resist reproducing it.

Feel free to do the same, on WordPress, Facebook, wherever. And well done to whoever is behind Ryotiras.com, who dreamed it up, I guess. One image can make all the difference.

Who knows, we could start a small revolution. Or a big one. I am even going to positively discriminate against advertisers who allow their ads to be run – ad nauseam, as if that helps – in the middle of TV shows with no redeeeming social, artistic, news or dramatic content, merely because the shows “deliver” an audience. The fact that the audience is half-sitting, half-lying, in a catatonic near-brain-dead state incapable of taking in information because their alpha and beta waves have been driven inexorably downwards to a negligible level is all the more reason to boycott those who support such nonsense.

Yes, I know it’s all a matter of opinion. But you know what? I’ve spent a lifetime honing my opinions, and they count.

A scientific survey will not be required. I will make my own mind up. If millions of us switched brands because we resent advertisers wasting their margin (which is passed onto us as consumers as increased prices, of course) by advertising in the middle of shows that merely pollute our lives then sooner or later they’d actually look at the schedules provided by their media buying agencies and express an opinion. Starved of funds, the worst shows would struggle. And eventually close.

Every act of resistance has meaning. This is mine. Join me?

You know it.

  1. You don’t much like TV, do you? So why spend so much expletive-ridden energy lambasting it? Doesn’t make much sense to me. Why don’t you just turn it off! Better still, don’t turn it on. You might be less inclined to swear.


  2. Never a truer word. I no longer have Austar (too expensive), but free to air TV is unquestionably (to misquote Karl Marx) the replacement “opiate of the masses.” Looking at program guides, I have to wonder why anyone would bother to spend any time watching. Wednesday & Thursday nights, unless I want to watch a DVD, the TV stays OFF!


  3. No misunderstanding on my part, mate. You’re just being selective. And foul-mouthed. If you really are so concerned to find out what “we poor benighted consumers” can do about “crap tv”, why don’t you come up with some gold-plated ideas and see if you can get them commissioned. You seem to have a highly developed sense of what’s bad, so you ought to be able to translate that into something that other people might think is good.


    • Well, I am sorry you’re offended by my swearing. I have never found the outer reaches of the English language offensive. And your assumption that I have never had any gold-played ideas, or seen them commissioned, is fascinating. Have a nice day.


  4. Neal Browne says:

    The under-appreciated series of yesteryear, Max Headroom, was prophetic. That’s probably why it went down early. Picture a burned-out civilization addicted to blip-vert programming that kept some form of artificial sanity alive to control society at the hands of the Moguls. We haven’t reached that yet. So far we are more “sophisticated.” But in the bigger picture, too many of the elements are there, waiting in the wings. Unless we rebel as you suggested, as the saying goes, “they’ve got us right where they want us.”


  5. There are a few I am fully enamored of. I can watch them time and again, but what I have found, rather than trying to figure out when they are on, I just buy the season and watch whenever. Of course that was before I found channels where they play whole seasons in marathons, that also made me happy!

    Criminal Minds – makes me happy
    Law and Order – also makes me happy
    True Blood – sometimes makes me happy, but I will always love the books better
    Game of Thrones – makes me happy, but I still love the books better
    Daily Show – makes me ecstatic
    Rachael Maddow – makes me very happy all the time
    Most of the Discovery Channel makes me happy
    Most of the Travel Channel makes me happy

    I have never ever ever watched any of the reality shows, with one exception. I once watched one episode of Housewives of Beverly Hills because a friend of mine is best friends with Taylor and he was going to be on that episode. Afterwards I made the mistake of saying two things –

    How could you be friends with her she is more plastic than my tupperware.
    How could you agree to be on that show, you are now exposed.

    He wasn’t very happy with my observations. He also lost his job over the exposure. He has since been on the show quite often and has a completely different ‘hollywood’ life. Oh well.


  6. underwriiter505 says:

    I’ve never had cable; never felt I needed it. Where I live, I can get 28 channels by antenna, which is 27 more than I need. American Public Broadcasting gives me all I want to watch and more. I watch a few shows regularly, but really, if I just got the Metropolitan in HD reruns, that would suffice for me.


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