Thursday, 29 October 2009

Please, make the missable, missable

'Making the unmissable, unmissable'. A nice catchy little phrase if ever there was one and it relates to the BBC's iPlayer technology that allows you to watch stuff on television that you might have missed first time round – because you were (ahem) busy watching something else on the other side or, perhaps, stuffing you fat face with doughnuts and chocolate while watching something on the other side.

You might, for instance, have been sitting moronically in front of the box while all those sad Z list celebrities and past it sportsmen and women try to kickstart their uninspiring careers by dancing for you in front of a bunch of judges. Then you thought you'd better find out whether John and Edward were still in for a chance in the decidedly tacky X Factor over on ITV – where non-celebrities who want to be Z list celebrities sing and dance for you and then make phone signs at you in a desperate attempt to get you, yes you, off your fat arse to vote for them. Lucky you've got your mobile phone with you, don't want to miss out on some sarcastic comment from Simon Cowell, and who can be arsed to get up to vote? Not you, eh? Just sit there with a huge bag of Doritos and a large plastic bottle of Coca Cola, getting fatter and fatter.

Making the unmissable, unmissable. Well, yes, if the programmes genuinely were unmissable, but the fact is, of course, they are all totally missable – or should be. Ironically, this week the iPlayer was screening a programme entitled Who Made Me Fat? A good question. Perhaps it has something to do with making the unmissable, unmissable. When you should be out getting some exercise, the BBC is trying its level best to stop you at a time when obesity has reached crisis levels in this country.

There was a time when fat people – I mean really fat people – were, not rare, but rarely seen. I remember at school we had a few fatties around who used to hold their 'man boobs' or 'moobs' as they are affectionately known today, during PE lessons, but at least they were indulging in PE! These days, thanks to fast food and lazy lifestyles, fat people are everywhere and a lot of them make it on to television game shows for some reason; women with 'bingo wings' can often be seen on tacky panel games like Family Fortunes, a programme that has become a parody of itself and its genre.

But I digress. We all know about lazy lifestyles and how eating too much fast food has led to the development of a nation of fatsos. We all know about how much they are costing us in terms of healthcare and we all know that being fat can be rectified with a little exercise and a healthy diet. But if the media starts 'making the unmissable, unmissable' then there is no hope for us.
Why have we become a nation obsessed with information?

The other day, while waiting for a train late at night, I watched a small television screen playing inside an estate agency on the station concourse. It was Sky television and the channel was advertising its text news service, claiming to offer up-to-the-minute breaking news for just 25p per text. It might seem cheap, but it soon adds up, believe me, and I wonder how many text messages Sky sends you every day. If it's four that's a quid. The point is, nobody, bar the Prime Minister or the President of the United States, needs to be constantly informed about world affairs. Perhaps if you work in the newsroom at the BBC, yes, but if you're Joe Scroggins who works in a supermarket or in an office anywhere in the UK, why the hell would you want to be THAT well informed.

Have you ever sat down and watched Breakfast television? You have? Oh, that's good because it means you will know that the news simply repeats itself throughout the programme; there is nothing new, news is not that fast moving so why the hell would anybody want to be updated with up-to-minute news texts? Similarly, why watch breakfast television anyway? It is designed to make you late for work or not eat your breakfast properly because you're too busy watching the television.

For the sake of good health, let's make the missable, missable and then we might take a little bit of the burden off of the NHS.

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