A short rant: About crap modern television and how it exploits our children
I was at work last week and was waiting for my shift to finish. One of the guys I was working with that day had The X-factor on in the background while we were finishing up. I turned around to glance at it a few times (No I’m not trying to avoid confessing to actually watching it, I did actually just glance at it for a while.) and the thing that concerned me was that Simon Cowell has taken what was already an unpleasant format and ramped it up to the next level of vile.
Not content with dangling a fairly empty promise of “A Million pound contract” which, if reports are to be believed (which I’ve no reason to doubt), is a lie…or at least a big fat over-statement. You see the thing is that, out of this million pound prize comes the winner’s advertising and recording fees etc…and even then they only get a million pounds if they sell enough records and all of their production fees have been paid for. There’s even talk now that this 1 million pounds has been replaced by a hushed up contract that will only earn the ‘artist’ that sort of money if they sell over four albums, which even for an established band, would be lucky.
But not content with dangling this poisoned shiny carrot above these artists, the producers now insist on televised rounds where the contestants are forced to sit on chairs, onstage, and are either voted off or kept on. Even once they’re kept they can still be removed from the chair by a better singer. This is surely the modern day equivalent of public stocks where, in medieval times, people would come by and throw rotten vegetables (and sometimes more) at people who had been locked into public ‘stocks’ as a form of punishment. This punishment was often used for simply being too poor to pay a bill or too ill to work (this was along with greater crimes of course). Now though, we parade these young people on television with the empty promises of fame and fortune, we then publically humiliate them or emotionally torture them…and for what? For daring to dream.
And whose fault is it that our younger generation dares to believe that they can circumvent the old path of working your way up and instead be unknown one day and the next be rich and famous? The media. Our children are surrounded with get-rich-quick schemes like Britain’s Got Talent, The X-factor, The National Lottery, Dot.com Company ideas and so on and so forth.
Those of our children who dare to work their way up other, more traditional, routes are likely to either be swallowed up by large production companies or passed over by publishers. To get a recording contract is extremely difficult these days and to be able to make money at writing is almost impossible unless you happen to be lucky enough to submit a book about wizards or something to the right publisher at the right time. And even then those who have then become famous aren’t necessarily even very good. Not that I dare name names as of course she happens to be litigious as f$*k, er, or he, yes, maybe it’s a he… So the book industry is founded on thousands upon thousands of passionate writers that empty their souls onto the page every day just to have their art plundered by large e-book distributors for a pittance whilst a very select fewer writers, not always necessarily very good ones at that, pick up the big pay cheques. This business model is surely unsustainable and in time it will either topple or, even more tragically, we will lose those artists that are continuing to write despite their lack of reward.
The poor get poorer and the rich get richer and it is only our children that will suffer in the end. It is cheap exploitative shows like the X-Factor that continue to dilute art and creativity and cheapens the medium of music.
For those of you who enjoy the shows, continue enjoying them but know that you’re simply putting money into the pockets of the producers and every time you vote you pay them another few pounds toward their latest villa to which they can retreat whilst their latest young victims are thrown to the slaughter of public failure due to lack of promotion and support from those that profited from the handling of stolen dreams and through false promises.
Some shows get it right of course, The Great British Bake Off, Strictly Come Dancing but I rarely watch television these days and, having glanced X-factor that day, I am glad that I don’t.