Television is many things. It can be used to inform, teach and educate.
However, let us not fool ourselves. It is primarily a business and profit is its’ ultimate goal. Those profits can be found in Televisions primary mission; to entertain.
Throughout broadcast history, T.V networks have provided a vast selection of different categories to entertain the viewing public. Sit-coms, police and detective dramas, science fiction and soap operas etc. are examples of fictional or scripted shows. News shows such as 60 minutes, 20/20, Dateline etc. are examples of non-fiction informative programming. These can entertain, while at the same time providing useful and desired news and information.
In recent decades, “Reality T.V.” shows such as “Survivor” and “Big Brother” have entered the mainstream. Focusing on a confrontational content that features supposed non-actors in contrived situations, it is generally a benign low-brow form of entertainment. However, a new and disturbing form of reality television has sprung up. Its’ popularity is a reflection on the dark nature that permeates today's society. I call it “Humiliation Television.”
To illustrate, let me ask the following questions;
- When did subjecting oneself to insults and degradation publicly, and on camera, become a desired career path?
- Why is the need for some modicum of fame cause some people to lose any sense of self-esteem and dignity?
- Why would anyone take seriously a show that claims to be unrehearsed, spontaneous and true to life, when it is obviously staged? Dialogue and actions done on camera are pre-determined by the producers to create an illusion of authenticity.
In following articles I will examine different types of these shows that make-up Humiliation Television.
(See PT. 2 in a future post.)