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Worzels World - Throw away your telly



Contrary to the lyrical assertion of Simon and Garfunkel in the early 1970’s the words of the prophets are not written on the subway walls and tenement halls. Nor are they whispered in the sounds of silence.

Here in Kiwi land any sort of subway system is still a long way off and although tenement housing is on the rise, the graffiti found there is not prophetic nor for the most part even legible.

The words of today’s prophets, most of them false, are more usually found written in periodical publications read by blind people and portrayed on screens attended by the deaf and dumb.

Back in the days when such songs were written there was a propensity for pop songsters to write about love and peace. This trend has altered and, as befits our current age of hatred and war, today's songs mostly explore themes of sex, fear, loneliness and confusion.

After playing squash a few of us were relaxing over a beer in the club lounge. MTV was on. The videos were essentially pornography with clothes on, though not very many. This was set to music devoid of any discernible artistic merit. It served to make me recall an occasion in my life for which I remain truly grateful.

Like all momentous changes it was the result of a decision. The decision was not made after sober contemplation and the weighing of facts for and against. It was not made on the basis of expert advice or extensive consultation. It was a rash decision made in angry reaction to changes that did not suit me. That hasty decision has immeasurably enriched my life ever since.

It was not long after rugby had finally gone the same way as almost everything else. No longer would it be practised and played for love or honour. Our national game would henceforth be played for money. Professionalism had taken over, tainted by filthy lucre, the forthcoming test series would only be broadcast live on pay television. Rugby would no longer be recreation but had been devalued to employment and a job of work. In a fit of disgust I cast my 18-inch black and white onto the junk heap out the back. I turned on the wireless and opened a decent book. I did not know then that I had cast a devil from my home.

Yes folks, today I am giving my testimony from the church of throw-away-your-television. Once I too kept a chapel to that false god of the flickering screen. I have repented and saved myself from countless hours of mind numbing, debilitating mental chewing gum.

Television is by and large a tool used to brainwash those whose religious practice it is to sit before it and absorb its messages, no matter how banal, manipulative and evil these may be. Companies conspire with advertising agencies to create commercials designed specifically to make you buy stuff you don’t need with money you don’t have.

The programmes are a shameless balance between courting popularity to sell more advertising and keeping budgets low to make more money. It is all run in accordance with the corporate creed of producing a ’ bigger bottom line’.

And it doesn’t just end with the telly.

Popular culture today has reached such depths of depravity it hardly merit’s the name of culture at all. Art has become rubbish and rubbish is art. Celebrities are not famous for having any talent or actually contributing anything towards our intellectual, spiritual, or aesthetic enhancement. They are not highly trained and disciplined athletes who excel at some physical endeavour. No, they are usually only famous for living profligate, dissolute, vacuous lives and being brain dead vainglorious narcissists. If these are in any way role models for our young people is it any wonder that teen and young adult suicide rates, drug addiction and mental illness increase year by year?

Having been away from ‘the tube’ now for over a score of years, if I do catch some television when out and about the only programmes that seem to have any artistic integrity or intellectual merit were all produced decades ago. The quality of content has not improved with the passage of time but has deteriorated markedly. This trend seems prevalent across the media board. Mainstream newspapers report little of what we need to know but contain mainly puerile efforts to titillate and entertain. They then tell us that their ever-decreasing circulation is due to competition from digital media.

Talk-back radio, once a forum for occasional informed intellectual debate, is now more often than not simply self-righteous indulgence in ignorance and bigotry.

Over time I have eschewed all of these media habits and I feel much better for it. I am no less informed and have not morphed into either a gibbering idiot or a drooling moron. At least no more so than before. You too can enrich your life by ditching that devil that robs you of your time but gives so little in return. Pick up a book, plant a garden, write a letter, visit a friend, play a game. You can do this and more if you join the church of throw-away-your-telly.

n prof_worzel@hotmail.com

Yes folks, today I am giving my testimony from the church of throw-away-your-television. Once I too kept a chapel to that false god of the flickering screen. I have repented and saved myself…

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