Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Perspective and reality

Tell the truth, after all, it can only get you fired, as former CNN TV news producer, Chez Pazienza, found out back in February. (Via: Blog Herald.)
I've wanted to comment on this for some time now (but life got in the way), because I can draw parallels with so much of what he says and, besides that someone who self-professes to be "an insufferable wise-ass " and an "occasional nuisance to authority figures", simply has to get my vote.

Part of the "offending" paragraph had me spluttering with laughter too:

"I wake up every morning baffled as to why America hasn't deported George Bush and Dick Cheney, Hollywood hasn't stopped trying to convince me that Sarah Jessica Parker is attractive [...]"

I hope nobody would ever agree to take these "deportees" and I wake up every morning wondering why the rest of the world hasn't wiped out George Bush yet, but then that would be stooping to his standards, wouldn't it?

But it does seem incredible to us that Bush tossed aside the US Constitution, broke more rules than he's ever made and, yet nobody does a bloody thing to stop him. It's like the entire US population is on Prozac. At times I've seriously suspected it's been added to the water supply.

They show Sex and the City (badly dubbed, like everything else) on Spanish TV and, I watched it a few times; gave it a fair chance, but ended up thinking what a pathetically sad, totally unreal, load of old tripe it was.

Now, I'm a girl, but it occurred to me that one of the reasons I could not bring myself to watch it was because Sarah Jessica Parker definitely isn't what I consider to be sexy or attractive. Maybe that's unkind. Maybe she is perfectly pleasant in real life, but the character is some kind of schoolgirls' own unreal bedroom fantasy and, I imagine, would be about as appealing to the average red-blooded male as being required to shag in a bed full of gonks, My Little Ponies and other cuddly toys, i.e. decidedly flaccidity inducing.

To have that confirmed, by someone better qualified than I, helps.

I mean that both flippantly and seriously.

The point here is what it all says about the crap we are fed as "reality."

If I'm reading this right and I'm sure I am, Carrie Bradshaw's character was never meant to appeal to men. She was meant to appeal to a certain type of rather "ordinary" (and, frankly, naively impressionable) single female, who is supposed to feel she will magically become sexy if she emulates the fictional character. Above all, if she will just spend copious amounts of money on all those pointless fashion items that the character shills.

Please, don't try to tell me it was by accident that the character works for Vogue and happened to "need" these "props" and then, out of the blue, the series makes these things "popular."

For a start, it's plainly obvious that most men couldn't care less what women wear, as evidenced by the overtly stereotypical, but none the less half true observation that the way to impress a man is to "Show up naked. Bring beer."

There's another irony here that most folk will probably not have caught:

One of the top brands associated with the series is, of course, Manolo Blahnik shoes. And all power to Mr. Blahnik if he can eek a meagre living out of peddling footwear, but here's the irony: if you've never lived on a Canary Island, you may not realize that his home, La Palma, is the steepest island in the world. Having spent 16 years on the next door island of Tenerife, I can tell you that even in the towns here, where pavement laying is much more of an art than a science, shoes like that would be worse than friggin useless.

In most areas of these mountainous islands, Timberland boots might be a bit "feminine" and not quite rugged enough for the terrain. That has nothing to do with the series, but I do think that irony sums up the great gaping gorge between reality and this fiction served up as though it were important.

Like we don't have enough celebs with pointless lives already.

Long, long ago, I said that the term "freedom of the press" (or any media) was an oxymoron, because even when it isn't deliberately biased in a sinister way, the editorial policies have to be beholden to the whims and tastes of the corporate advertisers, who ultimately pay the bills and the salaries.

Chez' requiem for his career, spells that out and confirms it too.

If news were a public service, however, it could be massaged by unscrupulous governments. Ironically, Britain's system, where there are both Government and commercial offerings should be able to give people the required balance.

Should, I said, but it doesn't, does it?

Unfortunately, that requires people to be smart enough to hear what all parties have to say and decide who is telling the nearest thing to the truth. Most people do not do that: they choose their favorite media, choose to lap it up wholesale and choose to adopt an attitude that excludes all comparisons and thinking.

Daily Mail readers seem to prove that theory best (or worst) of all.

What really needs to be done is for the emphasis and spending to be put back on real education: an education that actually taught people how to think things through in an intelligent and mature manner.

Somehow, I doubt this will ever happen in my lifetime, because we are being carefully brainwashed into believing that "people don't like to think", therefore, not thinking is the "right" and "acceptable" thing to do.

Why? Well, in my 'umble opinion, this is mostly because people who can think tend to be a more than "occasional nuisance to authority figures."

Then having also worked in the accounting profession - which should also be "above" corporate control - but who ultimately pay their bills too, I can also say that I have found myself out of jobs because I was too honest.

Ironically again, now that I'm unemployed (unemployable), I've been far less outspoken than I have ever been in my life before, but I'm working on it!

So I'm going to say bugger the employee handbooks.

Why be afraid? If everybody decided to defy all the silly rules at once, how could they possibly enforce them?

Truly, I applaud what Chez did. CNN deserve to be made an example of for their stupid actions, but they're not the real problem.

The real problem is the incessant celebrity and infotainment bullshit; and the failures of education systems worldwide that turns people loose who are so "desensitized" that they don't question it all.

Chez provided us with a golden opportunity to get some perspective and reality back, if only we are prepared to look beyond the surface of this.

We need to have news deal with news; you know, genuine issues.

We need to get back a way of discerning the truth from the crap; the fact from the fiction; the reality from the fantasy.

The middle ground, safe, politically correct way is not the right way.

Really, I'm not sure when it was, nor why, that people - everywhere, not just in the US - started just soaking up whatever junk they were fed and refusing to think or question anything, but it's like they abdicated all responsibility.

At the same time, it seems like everyone is burnt out stressed.

And that's a lot of people's excuse for just keeping their heads down. But, one of the biggest causes of stress is the feeling that one is not in control.
You know, maybe the only way we can feel that we are in control is to take control and, along with it responsibility, for our own thinking?

Aside: What does worry me though, being 50 odd, is Andrew's opener here: "Media companies love to appear as if they are embracing new media. However, comments are often moderated and edited, podcasts are one-way streets and YouTube sharing is always disabled. It's sorta like when your friend's mom, even though she's 50, is trying to be cool. The end result is always sad."
But then, I'm nobody's mother and, I've never tried to be cool.

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