TV (was Re: trash vs literature)

minnow at minnow at
Wed Jan 19 16:07:39 EST 2005

Dorian wrote:

>Sometimes I think I ought to watch more TV, in fact!  Because there are
>often interesting programmes on the documentary channels, and ballet on the
>Performance channel, and films that I'd like to see on the movie
>channels...but the book is always easier. :-)

Several times I have been cozened into watching documentaries about things
I am interested in -- usually by friends who Meant Well -- and my
experience has been that either [a] the directors/producers/whoever it is
in charge spent a lot of time showing me pictures of people's feet usually
on stairs, bubbling retorts in labs, views through a glass darkly, or
helicopter shots of countryside a long way down, but nothing like enough
actually dealing with the advertised subject, and then just as someone
started to get interesting about it they ran out of time, or [b] they gave
me the stuff that is in all the most basic books on the subject, nothing I
wouldn't already know if I had any interest in the subject at all, and at
least three factual inaccuracies or very dubious conclusions from
incomplete data during the course of the programme.

The "fly-on-the-wall" documentary series that I was reluctantly involved in
was a farce: it failed so completely to convey the flavour of the venue
that it was quite stunning.

This leads me to be extremely suspicious of any documentary about current
affairs, because going by the form, chances are these aren't going to be
accurate either.

The honourable exceptions are nature programmes, because the presenters can
witter all they like, the pictures of turtles labouriously making their way
across country to their mating-ground or gannets in their native habitat or
whatever are usually good enough to make up for the yappity-yap.  Those I
may make an effort to watch, if I happen to be near a TV at the right time
and not doing anything else in particular.

What I mostly feel about TV on the whole is that it's such a waste of what
could be a wonderful thing.


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