TV penetrates our lives in ways we scarcely realise

“Nothing happens, nothing is to be believed, unless it appears on the screen. The fact that we should know better is irrelevant. The film Broadcast News questioned the values of TV news-gathering but ended up with a cosy belief that good drives out bad. Nor did it disturb the central tenet of all TV, which is that goodness and badness are irrelevant to the audience.

The person who appears regularly on the box is imbued by the viewers with special prestige. TV is the springboard to fame. Fame provides money. Money equals power. And power, whether to control one’s own life or to exert control over other people’s lives, is the key to existence.

Many films have attempted to warn those either beguiled or blinded by fame, that the world on TV is not real, It is, at best, a one-dimensional representation, while celebrity itself is a hollow concept.

But TV is a complex creature which cannot be defeated like Godzilla: it penetrates our lives in ways we scarcely realise, The grip it holds on our thoughts and the limits it puts on our imaginations is stronger than we wish to acknowledge.”

Roy Greenslade, The Guardian, 1999

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