Reality TV

FTLComm - Tisdale - Thursday, March 20, 2003
Professional wrestling has been around for a very long time and since its beginnings, it was viewed as entertainment, the audience understands the scenario and like a theatre audience, enters into the suspension of their attachment to reality. Television saw the game shows of the sixties, many of which continue to the present, as another form of what is becoming known as "reality TV" whereby supposed unscripted behaviour occurs within the realm of a confined event. CBS launched its Survivor series and each of the other networks developed variations on the theme from "Blind date" to "Temptation Island", "The Great Race", "Fear Factor", "Big Brother" and a host of others, from the mainline networks, to the specialty channels. Like so many things, the reality TV blitz has been a product of television networks attempting to regain their market share, or even hang on to an audience so that they can still earn profits with advertising.

The sky above was photographed yesterday, late in the afternoon, and has some fascinating cloud formations. Though I have spent a lot of time looking at and being in the sky, these clouds far exceed my realm of tactile experience, being so far above the ceiling of the aircraft I have flown, that I can only relate to these clouds as a ground observer. Lower high level cloud, alto stratus, I have encountered, and though they are clearly visible from the ground, at altitude, they are so dispersed that you can pass through them and never notice their presence. Essentially, what I am explaining, is that even when we see things with our eyes, we can never be really sure of either its existence, or what it really means.

The so-called genre of reality TV is very much like these clouds in this picture.(top of page) Perhaps they are what they seem, but more than likely they are just a bit of reality mixed with a heave dose of construction. Television wrestling is one of the most complex forms of live performance, where the actors are skilled and highly trained individuals, working within a carefully tailored and choreographed event. Once their moves are mapped out, the performers go to work and perfect the performance with extensive rehearsal and the results are the amazing events that fans pay heavy money to attend. The same basic exercise is undertaken with the television shows like "Survivor" and its competitors. The basic concept is worked out, contestants carefully screened and auditioned, then the event staged for cameras. The ratio of footage shot to that edited for viewing absolutely boggles the mind, with often three camera shots, the editors sit down to a banquet of scenes and with that, can virtually produce about anything they want.

The picture at the top of the page involved a malfunction causing about 25% of the image, all of the left side being extremely over exposed, so that despite attempts to lighten the image, the picture was simply not useable. Using the standard tools of photo alteration (Adobe PhotoShop) that whole area of the scene was created, as was one third of the bottom of the picture. Another camera imperfection involved a large mark through the middle of the frame, which was also re-created. The basic elements in the picture are authentic, but the picture, because the tree on the left and the chunk across the bottom, have been repeated, it is a fabrication. Certainly, had you seen this scene live and then looked at this image, you would realise that indeed that is pretty much what the sky was like, but the details, the actual final product is not what the camera recorded, but what I wanted you to see.

Long before the Saudi Arabian based and funded terrorist organisation, what we have been told, is the construct of a super rich Saudi family the Bin Ladden launched its attacks on American embassies and a destroyer in a Yemen port, the intense feelings of resentment and hostility have been festering between fanatical fundamentalist versions of Islam and the equally fanatical and fundamentalist American Protestants have been growing. Evil is defined by each group as the other, both are determined and confident that their God is with them and every act they commit is sanctioned by the almighty.

The advancement in modern communications has completely determined the knowledge and opinion of people around this globe. People formulate "beliefs" based on what they "believe" to be the truth. Be that clouds in a picture, or wailing, screaming, obscenity cursing individuals paid to reduce themselves to pathetic organisms on the Jerry Springer show. Television has replaced newspapers as the prime conveyor of what is loosely refereed to as the "news," but the viewer does not have the tools to distinguish between clouds and the work of PhotoShop. The lines of entertainment and factual interpretive journalism disappeared several decades ago and some would even suggest that they never existed. Television news is filled with high production cost animations, on the scene coverage and paid exclusive interviews. Last night, as people watched the beginning, of what the American television shows call a "war" the commentator doing colour broadcasting to accompany the "play-by-play" broadcasters was none other than Norman Schwarzkopf the retired general who was in charge of the campaign to remove Iraqi invaders from Kuwait in 1991.

What other interpretation could be drawn by the viewer than they were seeing a real event unfolding and being explained by an unquestionable authority. But hold on, in 1991 that same respected general went before television cameras and time after time reported how the threat of "scud" missiles were being defeated by the American "Patriot" antimissile missile. He announce thirty three fired and thirty one brought down by the "Patriot". Senate hearings and
investigative journalism since that war, have discovered that not one, not a single missile was ever hit or damaged by a "Patriot". Since that time, no successful testing has occurred, the "Patriot" is a total and complete failure. In one of its most famous firings in Saudi Arabia the television cameras record the firing of a "Patriot", an explosion in the sky and another on the ground. In that case there was no incoming Scud the "Patriot" was fired as a mistake and both explosions were Patriot missiles, yet the general proudly reported their successful downing of a Scud, a Scud that did not exist.

Last night six missiles fell ineffectually in the area of Kuwait city and American officials reported that two had been downed by Patriot missiles Do you see any clouds here? The word never is a powerful and finite thing. To date the Patriot has never hit an incoming missile, it has hit drone aircraft, for indeed it was designed to hit aircraft, but it has NEVER hit a missile, so sports fans you were watching reality TV last night and if you swallowed the 33% success rate of the Patriot then you are a certified tooth fairy believer.

It is not necessary to explain the ownership of television networks, or the part that competition plays in the marketplace, global or otherwise, all you need to realise is that extremely powerful forces are available and there are no ethical, or even economic reasons, for these forces to restrain themselves. The Enron Corporation and the way it conducted business is the accepted standard applied by the American business establishment and the government of the United States owes its existence, if not to Enron specifically, to that establishment and we should not be so simple as to believe anything we see about the conflict in Iraq, or anywhere else fot that matter, and you should be as skeptical of what you read here, as what you see on television. That is why where ever possible, we try to back up our positions with references that let you do the research yourself and draw your own conclusions, and why today, you will see arguments opposing the American invasion of Iraq, and another shaming Canada for not being part of that campaign.

The surprise attempted "decapitation" attack last night was all basic show business and the slick presentations with dramatic "live" coverage will continue until all of us have had more than enough of the blow hard boosting that characterises Americans, in fact it is their defining characteristic. They are what they are and nothing we do or think will change a thing.

Today, I read yet another explanation that discusses the underlying motivation that is propelling the government of the United States referred to as
"PROJECT FOR THE NEW AMERICAN CENTURY" the full text of this theory is well worth looking over, as it like the US president's membership in the "Skull and Bones" organisation, or his deep religious commitment, all suggest things that might explain this event, that so far, just doesn't make sense to most of us.

We can not step aside from the time in which we live, reality TV is happening, the show business war is occurring, billions are being spent by a country that for all intents and purposes is broke and we are hearing fellow Canadians say they are ashamed of their country because we are not acting in concert with the United States of America. Just remember what your mother told you, "Just because Billy wants to jump off a cliff doesn't mean you have to do it too."

Timothy W. Shire


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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
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