I have to admit that I grew up on and with Television. My parents were among the first adopters of the habit of watching TV at night. I can’t imagine what evenings were like before “the Tube” dominated Europe and North America. Living in Toronto we had the luxury of three Canadian and one American channels in the mid-sixties. We could pick an choose what we watched and felt like the masters of our own entertainment world, even with the limited choice in programs.
As the technology advanced and even more programming was offered it often felt like an embarrassment of riches. There were so many channels, so many options, and we drank deeply from the entertainment cup, even consuming the the dregs at times. And, oh yes, there were some really, really bad programs, a trend which definitely continues today.
I have to admit that Television is still a big part of my evening’s entertainment. Lately, however, I have noticed that my level of tolerance for the dregs has become less and less. It’s not that the programs are any worse than what I remember from TVs early years. It’s more that I am more discriminating in my tastes and less willing to put up with badly produced or offensive content. Where once I would just let things ride, now I am more likely to change the channel or simply turn off the television and do something else.
What I’ve also noticed is that I’m not just more discriminating about bad programming (or what I think is bad…) but also the social message being spoken and the values being projected. That means that I have far less tolerance for programs that either promote or operate from a position of wealth and privilege. I am repelled by the shows “Ultimate Pools” and “Pool Kings” because they speak to an ostentatious display of wealth that is only achievable by a very few people. What’s more, in some places where water is scarce, it’s an absolutely obscene waste of a valuable precious resource.
I have also become much more sensitive to programs that are all “White” and do not represent the diversity of humans found in real life. Hallmark movies might be light, frothy entertainment but they are also very much colour-blind, in that they feature mostly white actors. There are a few folks of other ethnicities thrown in, but more often than not it seems like they’re there to meet diversity requirements and not as actual people. Another irksome thing for me is how beautiful and slim everyone is. As you might guess, I’m not a Hallmark fan.
I’m not a fan of a lot of other programs, either. As I become more aware of the #metoo or #blacklivesmatter movements, or learn about micro-aggressions and gaslighting I have become much more discriminating in my TV viewing habits. As a result, I opt for more quality time in front of the “Tube” even if it means less actual time watching it. In this case, discrimination is a good thing!