Friday, December 20, 2002

It's Friday, and that means it's Eulàlia Solé day in the Vangua! Lali isn't off on an anti-American kick this time, well, only implicitly, and she doesn't mention anything about communism this time either, but her arrogant and paternalistic attitude, her belief that she knows what's best for everyone else, and her willingness to use force to make everyone do what she thinks appropriate shine brightly through.

In the first four paragraphs she states that a lot more than junk is available on TV, and points out that there are documentaries, cultural programs, serious debate shows, opera and theater, not to mention news from several different perspectives, available at all hours of the day and night on Spanish broadcast television. So far so good; pretty banal and obvious, but perfectly reasonable things to say; she even includes a documentary about Christopher Reeve and his efforts at recovery as an example of a program worth watching, so she doesn't hate absolutely everything American. Now for a header into the cesspool of the last three paragraphs.

It doesn't seem reasonable, therefore, to bash television as if it were a homogeneous medium. Now, does the fact that the majority of TV viewers often choose programs that deserve the epithet "trash TV" excuse those in charge of the networks? The answer must be strongly negative. There is no doubt that if programs that celebrate triviality and bad taste didn't exist, nobody could watch them. And let's hurry to squash the argument of freedom of expression, because there exists expression that is so antisocial (alienante--means "deranging, madness-causing" according to Larousse) that it is an assault on the free will of the individual.

No one would think of defending drug traffickers by alleging that they merely offer the possibility of consuming drugs, without forcing anyone to do anything. In the case of banal, tasteless, or violent television offerings, we are dealing with drugs that are not materially ingested but that brutalize the mind. As they pervert the capacity of appreciation, they undermine day by day the intellectual level of the citizenry. Let's imagine for a moment that the only programs on TV were those I mentioned earlier. Some people would find some other kind of entertainment, while others would discover excellent programs which they probably would enjoy and which would open up unknown horizons to them.

TV viewers and television form an amalgam in which, in the end, the medium exercises a tyranny which cannot be absolved of guilt.

A few words came to my mind while reading Lali's screed. Among them were: CENSORSHIP, NANNY-STATE, PURITANISM, TOTALITARIANISM, THOUGHT POLICE, SPEECH CODES, RESTRICTED FREEDOM, and TYPICAL ELITIST "REVOLUTIONARY VANGUARD" BULLSHIT. This, people, is what's wrong with the European Left. They think they know better than you yourself about what's good for you. And they'll force you to behave as they think you should if you give them the chance.

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