Throw Away English

(written 22/11/1998)
Have you seen “Pop-up Video” on Saturday nights, TV4 at 7pm ?
They play a range of music videos from the 80’s to the present crop. Each video has been “enhanced” by little pop-up messages that display messages about the musician (?), how the video was made and any other useless information deemed necessary. Perfect for the video/computer generation. Pure Rubbish… but is it ?

It’s important in this age of low IQ TV and coke consumerism to distinguish between the current forms of low brow entertainment :

Trash is something of low quality, but with that “let me see” quality. Like “white trash” (low income Caucasians ?), its obvious that this form of entertainment is not aimed at the great minds of our time. But it does have a certain quality about it; we want to look just to see how stupid the gnomes at TV think we are. This probably explains the apparant popularity of the “reality based” shows.

Entertainment This Week
When Animals/People/Trucks etc attack
Shortland St

Rubbish is something that has been thrown out. Its the product of something else and is of absolutely NO value to anyone. The only thing you can do with rubbish is bury it or render it
down to molecular level for use as something else. In TV, it is usually someone else’s idea re-used the fifth time for the New Zealand market. Or it can be just the stuff that other broadcasting organisations throw out.

Examples :
Talk Soup
(If you have seen “Frontline”, you will know that this type of program uses stories that have previously been published in the newspapers – or they make them up to satisfy the advertisers.)
Who Dares Wins
All Game Shows
60 Minutes & 20/20
(These have been thrown out by ABC, CNN etc but TVNZ scrapes them out of the bin and broadcasts them)

Junk is something else. As George Carlin said : “What’s my stuff is your junk”. So junk is something that may be of use to you, but not to me. For instance, the religious programs broadcast at 7am Sunday mornings are probably watched by some of the 20 million sheep who think they are people, but not by me. Conversely, there is some poor programmer in TV2 who thinks that Babylon 5 is junk, why else would they broadcast it at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon. It may be junk to them, but to the better educated, it is a great story.

Some other examples :
Infocomercials/Home Shopping
All Sports Programs
Medical Dramas
American Sit-coms

So in conclusion, “Pop-up Video” is trash, not rubbish. And we will have to be careful in the future defining our low brow entertainment… after all… there is a lot more of it out there.