October 25, 2011

Horse 1238 - TV and Old People

As the days of my youth quickly retreat into an obsolescent format for which the player which could have played them either is no longer available, or now appears in a museum as an antique or curio, I thought I'd look at the abuse of Old People on Television.

Not content with treating children as mindless idiots which have to have a parade of colours pass before them as though there was an explosion in a sweets factory, television seems to take the opinion that anyone over the age of about 45 is either doddery or mournful.

TV companies should be mindful of the fact that during the day whilst the majority or people aged 22-62 are probably at work running on the treadmill of monotony which keeps the economy ticking over so that men in suits can strip cash from the wallets of people and at the same time slowly drip feed the same wallets just so those same people go back to work to continue the cycle, the remainder of TV audiences are either the unemployed, mothers who are run off their feet (and arguably who work far harder than the rest of the population) and older people who quite frankly have earnt the right to take a rest and live their retirement in peace.
How does TV view these people? Well... it doesn't.

TV broadcasts messages on an almost continuous basis that the ideal age is 22. Not content with parading actual 22 year olds and their vapid; ill-informed (and by ill-informed I actually mean "completely ignorant") opinions in front of the camera, it then proceeds to flog products to the rest of society to make them want to somehow recapture those days of youth either through the application of slimy goop, or through selling some other product.
If you happen to be aged 62 and older, TV more or less gives up entirely. It makes no effort whatsoever to produce intelligent programming and when someone older than the age of 62 actually appears on screen, they're either portrayed as doddery or mournful, and thus the cycle begins anew. The obvious reason for this is that apart from groceries, what can the medium of TV sell older people? Not much really. People by about their mid-50s are already pretty predictable when it comes to their spending patterns even on a case by case basis (largely because we are creatures of habit), and so as far as TV is concerned, bothering to produce programming for people aged 62 and older is a waste of time and more importantly money.

Maybe it's reflective of society generally that over the last 100 or so years we've lost the respect for older people and the wisdom which they've accumulated. Someone far wiser than me proclaimed that there is nothing new under the sun, and whilst I look across the Occupy movement which is basically a replica of the protests of 1968, or the "Global Financial Crises" which is a facsimile of the Great Depression (which by the way was also caused by idiots in suits who also didn't have to pay for it), I wonder whether or not something can and should have been learnt from the wisdom of older people, be it how to be thrifty, or how to capture a proper spirit of community or even how to act decently to other people; all three of which seem to be sorely lacking in society. Having said that, those things aren't very useful in selling products either.

Maybe that's why TV ignores older people. My advice would be... BUY STUFF!

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