06 Jan 2005

That magic button

I’m wondering if you guys can help me with something? You see, my TV, and all the TVs I see have buttons on them where you can not only change the channel, but even turn it off and not watch it all. Also, it doesn’t come fitted with a strange artifical gravity device that forces you to remain in the room (and, indeed, pulls people in from outside the room) and watch whatever it, rather than you, choose.

But, it seems that some people don’t have these features on their TVs - maybe mines broken or obsolete, but theirs seem to force them to watch programs they otherwise wouldn’t choose to, cannot be turned off or turned to another channel when something they don’t like is on, and won’t even let them leave the room to avoid watching it. That, after all, must explain why the morons at Mediawatch have decided that they must stop the BBC broadcasting Jerry Springer: The Opera this coming Saturday night. After all, when I know that a program that I don’t watch is going to be on a certain channel at a certain time, I find that it’s very easy to avoid watching it by not watching that channel at that time (I know that’s rather obvious, but it seems some people are so stupid they need that spelled out for them). Tim Ireland has all the details, including the Sun revealing how it’s not at home to Mister Irony:

But of course this show (which comes to bury Jerry, not to praise him) cannot be described as an important work of art because it contains swear words. The girl with her tits out said so.

Counting Dave as one, BBC Two’s now got at least two more viewers on Saturday night. And if I enjoy it, I may even write to them to commend them on showing it, just to do my bit to offset the effects of the charge of the moron brigade who, probably thanks to the power of their invisible friend, know that something will be offensive to them even before they’ve managed to avoid watching it.

Nick got away with this at 3:05 pm


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  1. Ah, more targets for my War On Stupidity (tentative slogan: It’s the stupidity, stupid!).

    I think maybe Mary Whitehouse was some kind of Hydra … cut off her head and a thousand will replace it.

    Comment by itchyfidget — 06 Jan 2005 @ 3:14 pm

  2. I went to show and must say I was a little bored. But that might be my lack of attention span.

    Interestingly I’m sure most of the papers that are now in apoplexy gave it a good review when it came out. To be a little fair to the Sun it’s editorial is a bit more generous than you might expect.

    Comment by Matthew — 06 Jan 2005 @ 3:58 pm

  3. […] this
    Categories: Television and radio LOL_MATE!!!!

    Nick Barlow writes about that magic button - the one named OFF. This all reminds me of the Brass Eye special a few years ba […]

    Pingback by doctorvee » Somebody ought to do soemthing about this — 06 Jan 2005 @ 5:14 pm

  4. If this post is meant sincerely (that is, you’re not purposely misunderstanding the argument), then you’re basically confused about the difference between a subjective and an objective claim. When someone advocates censorship (as we all do of some things eg. kiddie porn) they aren’t simply saying they personally find it wrong and offensive: they are making a general claim about what standards of viewing should be set for everybody. So it isn’t any sort of answer to say they should turn off their TV. This post is literally no more sensible than someone calling you a moron for opposing the Iraq War because you’re obviously so stupid you need it spelled out for you that you don’t have to fight in it yourself.

    Comment by Peter — 07 Jan 2005 @ 2:49 am

  5. When someone advocates censorship (as we all do of some things eg. kiddie porn)

    I always find the “kiddie porn” argument to be deeply disingenuous, since it’s (rightly) subject to censorship for reasons other than personal distaste - genuine child porn is essentially recorded evidence of an actual criminal act and therefore open to altogether different and more stringent legal processes.

    they are making a general claim about what standards of viewing should be set for everybody. So it isn’t any sort of answer to say they should turn off their TV.

    It’s certainly an answer, though I agree it’s largely ineffective when dealing with the mentality of people who feel that merely complaining about something isn’t enough, and that it should be banned as well - as though they feel they have the right to impose their own narrow-minded view of what constitutes suitable public entertainment onto the rest of us (exacerbated by the undoubted fact that on countless previous occasions their loudly-expressed opinions usually turn out to present a completely distorted impression of the work in question).

    Complain after the event by all means - that’s what the Broadcasting Standards Council is for (wisely, it only adjudicates on post-transmission complaints) - but stirring up this level of fuss beforehand achieves nothing except a cast-iron guarantee that vastly more people will watch the programme, usually for the most prurient of reasons.

    In any case, the stage version of Jerry Springer: The Operawas a highly unusual beast, being both a commercial and critical smash hit. More to the point, it came out of the subsidised theatre, and so there’s a powerful argument for the BBC showing it on that score alone. Personally, I’m grateful that there might be something halfway watchable on Saturday night for once, as it’s traditionally a TV wasteland.

    Comment by Michael — 07 Jan 2005 @ 11:30 am

  6. Whoops - when I wrote ‘Broadcasting Standards Council’, I should of course have written ‘Ofcom’, though my point otherwise remains the same.

    Comment by Michael — 07 Jan 2005 @ 12:03 pm

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