Allan Takes Aim Blog

Fifteen: the new age of wisdom

Posted on: 20 October 2010

  First Published The Chronicle Canberra,Tuesday, 19 October

True or not, it seems to me the published starting times of TV programmes can only be taken as guides because, apart from the first programme starting on time, many of the programmes that follow never seem start when they’re supposed to. And according to Boadicea, the published times don’t guarantee that the programme will be broadcast.

This causes Boadicea great frustration because, at times, she can’t makeup her mind if she should carry on watching a programme or switch to the start of a programme on another channel. If she decides to change her frustration increases if the programme hasn’t started.

To some extent radio is following the same pattern. No longer can one rely on the start of radio programmes to put their watches and clocks right. This is particularly true with talk back radio many of whose presenters now seem to think listeners prefer them to babble on rather than have the news or next programme start on time. But credit where it’s due: the ABC is better than its commercial rivals. 

Unfortunately, however, even presenters on the national broadcaster seem to have caught the talk over bug to the extent that some presenters now sound like their commercial cousins. Indeed the weight of advertising the national broadcaster now carries for its programmes and products is so heavy that people might think they were listening to commercial radio.

This leads to the obvious question: is this a sign of things to come and are there hidden plans in place for commercialising the ABC? Not that commercialising the ABC would worry me. My worry is, that as the quest for political power becomes more intense and if one political party becomes entrenched in power, the possibility exists that the national broadcaster could be at risk of being used as the Government’s propaganda station. Can’t happen you say! Well if you believe that, take a look at recent world history. Not only did this happen in the last century, more ominously, it is still happening today.        

Other things that annoy me about TV are the promotional messages that intrude on programmes and the information that, increasingly, can be found crawling along the bottom of the TV screen. I don’t know about you but not only do these intrusive promotional messages disturb my entertainment, I find the information crawls along the bottom of the screen on news programmes distracting. Surely if the information on the crawl is vital it should be part of the broadcast? 

In fact these crawls annoy me so much I’m thinking of suggesting to scientists that they develop systems that will give humans two extra eyes, ears and an extra brain so that they can watch, listen and absorb two levels of information at the same time. Naturally, people should be able to close down the extra eyes, ears and brain independently.

But to write in more serious vein: other messages in composite that offer the following warnings: this programme contains violence, sex scenes, drug references, strong language and not suitable viewing for people under fifteen screened that are screened before programmes, also annoy me.  As most programmes these days (children’s excepted) seem to contain one or all of the foregoing I sometimes wonder if it wouldn’t be easier to create a simple message that said: this programme is suitable for viewers of every age. 

When I put this to the test with some young people some said I should get ‘with it’ not knowing that I’ve been ‘with it’ for a long time, even before my time forty years ago in Sydney when I managed a Kings Cross nightclub ‘The Other Place‘ which had both topless Go Go Girls and a clientele that included many people well known to the police.

That said, I think much adult only TV entertainment pornographic. However, I suspect it is probably too late to try and do anything about it for the simple reason that many people under fifteen today know more about pornography and get less excited about it than their elders.

Sadly and unfortunately I suspect these warnings tempt some vulnerable young people under fifteen to indulge in behaviour that could destroy their lives.

The Chronicle for Canberra’s best community news. Published every Tuesday


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