Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Schopenhauer's Ennui

Monday nights on UK Terrestrial TV are bleak. If so minded, you can muffle your brain with back to back soap operas from 6:30 right through till 9:00. If one ventures into the multi-channel digital kingdom, you can enjoy these melodramatic effusions 24/7.

There was a time when this wasn't so. Back in the dark ages, when we had only three channels to choose from, scheduling was more balanced. The nation would tune in to Coronation Street at 7:30 one evening a week. It was an occasion, you could say.

Then along came Murdock with his Sky empire. He liberated us from our desperate, parochial lives. Now, we chose what to watch and when to watch it. The customer was in control.

Yet, to get our passes to this wonderland, we had to make a Faustian pact. In return for limitless choice, we attached our magic digi-boxes to the Sky mothership. Each night, as we slept soundly in our beds, the magic boxes phoned home and shared our viewing with Murdock and his minions.

Murdock listened well, and what he heard pleased him. He found that we prefer not to think. Given the choice, the majority of us opt to consume programming that's easy on the brain. Programming like reality TV, sitcoms and soap operas.

So, he gave us more of it, and we watched more of it. So he showed us it again, and we watched it again, and again, and again. He'd hit upon a magic formula;

1) Buy cheap & easy TV, repeat it ad-nauseum
2) The masses consume it, along with the bundled advertising
3) Profit
4) Rinse & Repeat

More on this later...

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