TV seems to be preying a lot on my mind recently. Well, as I said yesterday there’s so much of it. Sometimes I think that the whole world has turned into a reality TV show. It used to be TV that aped life. Saturday night dramas were about real issues, gritty, set in the real world; Play for Today, Friday Night Theatre, Saturday Playhouse. These days it seems that the world we live in imitates a reality TV show and we all know how fake and staged they are.
The boundaries between reality and fiction have become very blurred and I for one am no longer sure what is real and what isn’t. We have lunatic politicians tweeting a version of the world that only exists in their own minds, alternative facts, fake truths, fake lies and they are shamelessly spoken of and readily accepted as reality by too many people, we are lied to and manipulated, are expected to vote around those lies and World Leaders perform like gameshow hosts, pouting and stamping on international TV in caked-on make-up against CGI backdrops of things that never happened to anyone ever.
It’s as if TV and the internet have become the real world and everything we see and hear is potentially or actually a lie. It isn’t helped by the uncovering of cover-ups that our institutions – the police, the church, sportsmen, entertainers and of course our politicians – have been lying about and getting away with for years. It doesn’t help that the media doesn’t simply report; it interprets, comments upon, takes positions, or simply follows the orders of corrupt owners and directors in a world where everyone and anyone can put out their own version of the truth and reality.
What do we really know for sure any more?
I was sitting in my car watching the shadows of the clouds move across the sea this afternoon. It was cold outside, but inside the car I was warmed by the winter sunshine. A ‘one-legged’ heron stood - not really fishing but gazing - by the edge of the water. Gulls sat on the pebbles on the shore, occasionally flying into the air for a minute or two before landing again. The occasional wave appeared in the calm sea almost from nowhere rather splashily breaking just as it reached land. The breeze, not quite a wind, stirred the marram grass and the wire rigging of the yachts in the boatyard hummed and clinked a sharp jingle of tinny music behind me.
It was quiet and peaceful and the show all around me was honest and natural and not put on for my benefit or to feed the egos of the birds. The waves didn’t break to order, nor did they claim not to be breaking or to be anything other than waves made of seawater. The clouds didn’t care if I watched them or not, they just got on with blowing about. The heron didn’t want my vote, he had no need of it, he just wanted a fish to swim by. Nothing in the landscape gained anything by my being there and it didn’t try to influence my opinion by making things more dramatic or vital than the really were.
It was real.
Reality still exists if you know where to find it.