Rantings About Television in South Africa

2015-07-12 20:13

Turn It Down!

I am sure you have experienced the loud noise television adverts make across all television channels in South Africa. The makers of television adverts produce them in extremely high decibels aimed at shaking you off your slumber so you pay attention to their sales pitch with annoyingly catchy tunes accompanying these adverts.

In South Africa there is yet to be a law or policy that prohibits this direct invasion of our private spaces by sales men via sophisticated adverts messaging. This sophistication is aimed at getting you totally focussed through lighting, colors, pretty people and sexuality, they add noise to it.

Generally adverts do not contain the level of sound the show carrying them has, adverts have multiple decibels and we are forced to keep our remotes on hand to keep turning the sound up or down to adjust it. If u have a sleeping baby in the house, forget it, just after a good period of properly leveled sound, adverts will BANG! Not just adverts even interval jingles in between shows has matched the violence to our ears.

What annoys most are not just the arguments within family or neighbors about loud noise but the fact that the design is deliberate, they aim to get your full attention whether you like it or not.

In America, Obama signed a law in 2010 that compels channels to turn it down!

ICASA must get them to turn it down!

The South African Idols Ha Ha Ha!

The first episodes of Idols are always fun because they are funny. We love laughing as South Africans which is a good thing. But are we right to laugh at fellow humans and ridicule them? Does it matter how these people we laugh at feel from the day of the audition to the day of the telecast? Do we pause to consider the emotional abuse these they go through for us to laugh.

Idols judges often launch a tirade of abuse at a contestant. Social media loves it.

Some of the ridiculing abuse is well orchestrated, well produced and financed like the butler who served water for one contestant. Making fun of people for our entertainment has been accepted as normal and its expected good television.

"You're a laughing stock, You are bad, You are a funeral singer, It's cheesy, It's disgusting, I personally found it atrocious, You don't look the part, are just some of the things that are told to clearly hopeful and unaware contestants. Laughing straight at the contestants faces is one classic act by judges who laugh at a bewildered contestant who are visibly hurt, confused, traumatized and emotionally drained in nerves. Most of what we see and laugh at on MNET is something that brutal tongued Simon Cowell himself has never sunk so low to utter.

I too laugh. Even with the consciousness I have developed. I have elected to stop watching instead as the best moral thing to do. It seems to be addictive. At their expense we laugh. After joining in at their humiliation, we do not ever bother to check whether any of these contestants in the past eight years have experience community abuse and bullying. As some of them appear extremely traumatized by the whole humiliation -- do we know whether there's been any suicides or social difficulties as a result.

Some of these contestants appear less educated, with some social difficulties or below par social aptitude. Should we be making fun of these people for our pleasure? Is it ok for a television show to profit out of innocent contestants? Shouldn't these laughed at stars of the show be at least paid, after all they are the main attraction.

Talent or not, contestants put their all into the singing competition and they should expect to receive feedback and criticism that is professional and constructive, if not at least respectful.

What does it say about us?

DSTV which is owned by the same owners of this publication has a dedicated channel called wooden mic solely dedicated at the humiliation part of the competition. It is super popular too.

Should we feel better that we now laugh at people singing than our fore parents who laughed at men killing each other in gladiator like contests with warriors and wild beasts.

Maybe it's civilization. Let us introspect.

Bo Mbindwane is on twitter @mbindwane

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