Archive for Television

Television…what a great invention!

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2010 by prekosifa

I was having a pretty enjoyable Bank holiday today. I  had my son for the weekend, which meant Playstation, play fighting and lots of snacks and it was my mum’s birthday so that meant chocolate cake, fizzy drinks and checking out her latest electronic gadgets, (bit of a techno geek my dear old mum!); and I was looking forward to an evening of quality television, courtesy of whichever channel could produce the goods. I have always enjoyed Bank Holiday programming, a bit of the old with a bit of the new, and films I would never dream of seeing at the cinema, suddenly became something to look forward to seeing with a barrel of popcorn and some fizzy pop!

So, after watching Steve Martin in Cheaper by the Dozen Two, yes they did make another one! I cooked and ate some dinner and then sat down to watch Eastenders, a guilty pleasure of mine. (For you guys overseas think of it like any regular American soap opera minus the model like men, uber beautiful women and fantastical storylines!). .But it was the programme that came on afterwards that really caught my attention. ‘Joanna Lumley tracing the Nile’, was exactly what it said on the tin, Joanna Lumley, that amazing sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties and noughties TV actress, famous for her roles in the Avengers, (tight catsuit), and Absolutely Fabulous (boozy floozy!), travelling the length of the Nile, and giving her opinions, thoughts and observations along the way. It was beautifully filmed, wonderful to watch and a real learning experience for many out there who have never travelled to the ‘Dark Continent’, and I use that term, as full of as much sarcasm as I can muster on this one dimensional computer generated page. You see there was no difference between this show and the historical accounts of the rich, ignorant white male explorers of the 18th century.

As I watched I heard of places named after the white people who had found them. Lake Victoria, Lake Albert, lots of other European names in a place that, last time I looked, was still in Africa! I often wondered what the local people of these regions thought about that. Should I not be offended that my family’s continent of origin is ridiculed in such a way? Whatever happened to respect? At one point, the lovely and oh so very British Ms Lumley, was in Uganda and blamed the mass poaching of the wild animals on Idi Amin, who apparently made it hunting season all the time when he was in power, (no question though of the thousands of white poachers who capitalised at the same time).

Highly Dubious or Heavily Distorted?

Look, I am not saying that there is a racial bias here, I am SHOUTING IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS! Fair enough, I understand where I am located, but is it too much to ask for just a little bit of balance. Yes Africa is the land of wild animals, exotic rivers and people dress like something out of a Tarzan film, but there are also thousands of cities and towns that are as modern as any place in the UK or the US. I get angry because children like my son, will see this kind of programme, and automatically will form an opinion in his malleable mind, as will his schoolfriends. Children can be heartless little fuckas at the best of times and many of them in this country are given the ammunition to be just that froma  bvery young age. Kids believe what they see on the television as do most Sun, Daily Star and Daily Mail reading adults! Do we really think that portraying certain countries in specific lights has no effect ar all on anybody? Yes I am bitching right about now, but this is serious!

Another programme I saw last week was about Nigeria, the country where my father is from. What we got, again from the BBC I guess still doing its bit for ‘Britannia’, was an image of a country full of thieves, poverty and slums. Now I am not saying that these people did not have a valid reason to be in front of the camera, I just think, in fact, I know that there is a hell of a lot more to that country than was depicted on my 32 inch high definition screen. Lagos is a city; people live in houses and apartments, go to night clubs, museums and even take afternoon tea! I am all for an image of any country as long as it is balanced, and when it comes to places in Africa especially, I am calling for fairness across all media. Tell it like it really is and balance the fuckin picture for once because I am sick and tired of seeing and paying for this shit, and then having to explain to my son that things are not really like that.

Phew! Okay rant over for now. I think maybe it was due to a combination of seeing Avatar…again, Pocahontas 2 and Atlantis The Lost City in quick succession. Three Disney films that, I might add, had exactly the same plot and premise. Finally I know Disney’s secret, tell the same old story again and again by simply changing the main characters. Hmmm! now that sounds like a familiar tactic, I wonder where I have come across it before…

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