Market forces have their place. Given a limited supply and a coupling with high demand, the price one pays for consumable pleasure goes up. Thankfully, our kids like mince and turn their noses up at rump steak; too chewy apparently.
For the consumer, one-way entertainment like TV doesn't conform to these market forces. Quite the opposite in fact. When TV is consumed at a high rate, its availability increases. Thus its cost, in terms of convenience, reduces.
Take soap operas for example. As we discussed the other evening, the UK public spoke clearly to Rupert Murdock when we told him that we like soap operas. Lots of them, and repeated regularly thankyouverymuch. So, we we're given it.
The net effect of this model unfortunately, is a homogenisation of output. Programming that pleases the majority within a standard deviation of the mean, gets priority. Programming that's slightly esoteric, cerebral and/or 'artistic' gets squeezed out.
That said, we do have our BBC, funded through a bastardised tax. Surely this venerable institution isn't subject to these ravages? It seems not. In an effort to retain market share, our broadcasting gem has bought in. After all, the easiest way to validate its mandate to the public is to demonstrate a high market share.
It should be said however, that my BBC has resisted this banal feedback loop with Radio 4. This remains, for me at least, the jewel in its stuffy crown.
Now, I've gone on quite enough for one night. So, to sum up the beginnings of my argument let me say this; I believe that human expression and artistic endeavour will ultimately liberate us from our existential plight.
I also believe that homogenisation stands in our way.
Matt over at Far Traveller asks us to play an interesting game; Think of yourself as an alien and ask questions of your earthly partner. I imagine my alien persona asking Louie, how the human race sees itself answering the "What now?" problem that follows our inevitable pointlessness epiphany.
I believe the answer rests in understanding beauty.
More on this another night.