Yes, I do particularly love comedy. I also have a masochistic love for fantasy and science fiction that messes with the mind. The pig fucking scene from Black Mirror is permanently etched into my brain... as if by the sharp end of a compass.
But I can’t really regret having seen it, because that episode was a masterful piece of fiction, and any masterful fiction that passes my eyes can only better my own skills as a writer.
A world in which entertainment rains upon us more liberally than cats and dogs ever did, however, is not all good. I do a fairly decent job at avoiding television that damages the brain, but a binge-watcher will have her little accidents.
The main culprits are commercial news stations and their presenters. You know the sort of thing: Squeaky clean, boring, insincere. During moments of indecent exposure (to this type of television), I feel a struggle take place among the neurons in my brain. Some of my neurons become reluctant to pass the “news” onto their neighbouring neurons out of sheer embarrassment.
Do not misunderstand me. I have many failings, but snobbishness is not among them. Farts are funny. Human bodies are at their most hilarious while falling and, sometimes, during sex. All body parts that dangle make me laugh. I don’t do things for shits and giggles so much as giggle about shits.
But when I come across the likes of the below clip, innocent though it is, I find myself strangely repelled.
(Clip length – 2:40)
Answer: Because it is like watching entertainment saw its own head off slowly with a blunt sword.
Okay, alright. I can hear you saying, “It wasn’t that bad – give them a break!”
And I agree with you. Or I agree with what I imagined you just said.
Let us, then, dissect my issue here. Do I hate the dad jokes? No – I laugh at my dad’s jokes. They’re hilarious. Do I hate the fact they are laughing at their own jokes? No – laughing at your own jokes makes sense to me. Is my problem with the lighting, the makeup, the haircuts? Not really. People can use a bucket of ghee to style their hair each morning for all I care.
How about this: Jokes just aren’t as funny when a) they are coming out of the heads of glorified manikins and b) the producer told you to make those jokes.
No – we can go deeper than that. Here, we arrive at the main cause for my distaste. I associate this format of news with ignorance, racism and prejudice. Allow me to find some reasons this may be the case.
A very short time in the future…
Finding reasons was about as easy as finding the ground with my feet. See the following clip.
(Clip length – 0:25)
Is 25 seconds of footage containing a racist slip-up not enough for you? Then I hand you to The Chaser’s (an Australian comedy team), who are vastly more skilled than I in demonstrating racism embedded in TV. Here is one of my favourite examples of excellent television drawing from horrendous television to become even more excellent:
(Clip length 1:41)
In case you exist at a level of blissful ignorance sufficient to remain unaware of Bryan Seymour, he worked for Today Tonight. Many Australians wake up with sunrise (not literally – we’re not ALL farmers). I’m talking about the name of the show you saw in the second clip – Sunrise. And since we begin the day with mediocrity and ignorance, why not end it the same way with Today Tonight?
Now I invite you to watch the first fifteen seconds of each of these snippets from Today Tonight. While we’re at it, let’s play a little game called “spot the difference.”
On the off-chance that you have not already noticed, my sarcasm here is thicker than the thickest honey on a planet whose main occupants are bees.
And if you are still not convinced that Today Tonight enjoys fear-mongering, I will let Media Watch clear that up for you:
(Clip length – 13:25)
Digging deeper still, though, it isn’t even their ignorance or lack of intelligence that upsets me most. The world is positively teeming with people superior in intelligence to myself, and this does not upset me either. What upsets me it is the fact that less intelligent humans are preyed upon by corrupt giants who control the media for their own gain. These giants are, without exception, so rich they smell green… Hell, Donald Trump is one of the richest entertainers in the world and positively reeks of greenback, which is ironic when you consider he doesn’t believe in global warming.
If he won the presidential race in 2016 I’d start building a shelter for the impending apocalypse.
Let me leave you with the clip that made me terminate this blog post lest I smash the vase sitting nearby.
You can’t look into nauseating news coverage before stumbling across Mike Huckabee – another well-known American television personality and – save us! – presidential candidate. Huckabee is so right-winged that he cannot fly to the left. He is so God-fearing he really should be running for fear at all times. He is so anti-science that, when we build a time machine capable of going back to the middle-ages, he should be first aboard. He won’t believe science got him there, but he will feel at home.
In this clip, he shares with a fully sympathetic crowd exactly why he is allowed to be a bigot and a homophobe. Here’s a hint: He doesn’t believe in evolution.
Oh my God! And when I say that, I mean oh HIS God!
I can say one thing for Mike Huckabee: He has some semi-intelligent campaign managers on his side. Now he is running for president, the public should not (indeed, cannot) be exposed to exactly how venomous he is when spitting his homophobic views all over the screen for everyone to see.
I need a replacement clip, so let me quickly dip into the Youtube fun-bag.
Thirty seconds in the future…
Bill O’Reilly, host of The O’Reilly Factor, always has a mouthful of verbal diarrhoea waiting to pour out when issues such as gay rights enter the spotlight.
(Clip length – 9:06… You need not watch it all to get my point. He is truly obnoxious to behold.)
Just imagine the relief you’d feel if you realised none of the above acts were sinful. Hey – you could stop feeling guilty about that time you and Billy boy got a bit horny in the tent as nine-year-olds. After all, what are boy scouts for?!
I don’t usually use that many exclamation marks in a row. Deep breath… How did I wind up here?
Oh, yes. I don’t like the silly jokes on faux news. Faux news? Fox News. As well as Sunrise, Today Tonight and countless other “current affair” programs.
I’ll wind up by comparing good jokes and bad jokes to good kisses and bad kisses.
The saliva that lingers from an old drunkard’s kiss is disgusting, while the tingle that lingers from a lover’s kiss is beautiful.
A panel of bigots making puns is horrible, while Stephen Fry making puns is hilarious.