By Press Release Aug 15, 2021

Is ‘reality’ TV too
real for comfort?

I just spent ten minutes searching for my phone in the dark – before realizing I was using it as a torch! (‘Senior moments’ coming on, David? Ed).

My iPhone has become a part of me but, with only modest will-power, I can ignore it when it suits me. I use it for national news updates, although the tabloids seem to believe readers only really care about ‘Love Island’. Have you seen it? No, me neither. It’s apparently a bit like Big Brother, but with tanned fit-looking young people, permanently wearing bathing costumes. The show’s gorgeous-but-dumb contestants are filmed 24/7, but all viewers see are their ‘made for TV relationships’ going spectacularly wrong.

Do young viewers really prefer this rubbish to more challenging real-world news? Do they believe those on-screen relationships are genuine? If so, it will make it a lot easier for politicians to say whatever they like and get away with it. That’s a worry because, to save our imperilled planet, I reckon we’re going to need every young person to be alert and focused on the challenge.

Boris’s popularity appears to be on the wane; his previously winning bluster and porkies formula is wearing thin although, unlike most politicians’, at least he’s never boring. Did you see the clip of him fumbling with his umbrella at a national memorial event? Michael Foot was destroyed because he looked dishevelled at the Cenotaph, yet Boris could turn up resembling Oliver Hardy, with orange baler-twine holding up his trousers, and get away with it.

Most young people I encounter seem fairly hard-working, but some lack the ability to do anything at all for more than a minute or so. Is the cause trashy TV or schools wary of hostile parents dismissing all criticism of their darling offspring? Is that why we have grade inflation? Some say A-Levels are virtually worthless this year, perhaps because so few parents are willing to accept their child has failed, whether Covid is to blame or not. You know it’s bad when universities are setting their own tests for their new intake because they distrust worthless exam results. When you do get them to work, young adults can be reluctant to do what needs to be done, with seemingly zero interest in menial tasks, the sort of jobs us oldies accept as part of our daily working lives. When did we stop teaching children that they can’t always be doing interesting things, that work is often boring and repetitive? Supermarket shelves don’t fill themselves and hard graft can be dull – that’s why they pay you for doing it!

Many kids constantly check their phones when they should be working, and I fear it’s unlikely they’re catching up with Greta Thunberg’s latest pronouncements. These wonderful devices seem to have created a generation of zombies, dependent on constant stimulation, a world where the worst thing you can suffer is a flat phone-battery or, horror of horrors, no internet connection.

We had another young lad at work this week. He’s 21, was excluded from school and then skipped college. As no-one else seemed interested in helping him, I had a friendly chat. He’s evidently bright, a bit lazy and financially dependent on his full-time working mother, as are his older brother and sister! His hobbies include smoking weed and hanging out in his bedroom with his girl-friend, something that, regrettably, just wasn’t possible for me at that age.

What do you think our chances are of getting him to work on solving this global warming problem?