Who benefits if we continue to watch television and those hundreds of channel?
EXCERPT FROM A PREVIOUS ESSAY:
"TV and Idol Worship"
People worship artistes more than scholars. People want to know more about actors more than trying to understand what acts they are performing in life. If watching these artistes on TV is not enough, people read tabloid magazines to find out what these artistes are doing. Whoever invented the word “star” to describe these human creations of the media must be credited for inventing a sophisticated language of mental colonization.
We have so many of them; movie stars, musical stars, and political stars. These stars are trained to play with people’s emotions. The soap opera addicts criy when TV tells them to cry. They laugh when the machine in the TV tells them to laugh. They jump in exhilaration when somebody else wins in “Who wants to be a Millionaire”, they wreck the coffee table when one WWF wrestler pound on another. It is, borrowing the Russian thinker Bakhtin, a “carnival”.
The TV viewer controls the world through the remote control -- a world of switchable alternate realities. Many years ago, the whole kampong wondered who killed J.R. Ewing in Dallas. Now, people wanted to find out who is the “survivor” of the reality show shot in some remote island.
When Mahathir Mohamad wanted to lessen the power of the Malay traditional rulers, TV showed us three-part series of The French Revolution. Nowadays those who get plenty of exposure on TV get to have an easy pass to election landslide wins and political stardom next. This is the “Truman-Show” phenomena of reality TV. Sleek and clever TV.
The audience loves this propaganda and loves this mind-game. TV and the image of beauty Then there is the “sought after” TV image. Fat people, generally, don't get to be on TV. Fat and ugly people don't get to read the news, don't get jobs in the entertainment industry.
Rambling and media-critical professors don't get airtime. This is the dimension of image-making that TV holds on to. TV produces the concept of beauty and the concept will be used to advertise everything; from make-up, diet pills, Odorono, Sabun Cap Kapak, slimming and body toning machines to the concept of beauty itself. Beauty becomes a commodity. If your child is ugly, as defined by television or tabloid magazines, then your child might have to resolve his/her issue of self-esteem -- because TV tells the parent what beauty constitute.
The nation’s fashion industry will be foundationed upon the image produced by TV who produces the stars who then produce the popular image of beauty. We therefore have the “Pan Asian” look, just like those projected by Bollywood in which the Indo-Aryans from Kashmir get to be the stars and not the South Indians from Kerala.
The child's conversation will not revolve around good books but good looks TV promotes. This is how stereotypes develop. Teenage relationships will model after the relationship of the TV stars. A female will look out for a male who looks like her favorite TV and movie star and vice versa. It is a TV world entirely. It might have, for the Malays. began from the time of Saloma, P. Ramlee, Siput Sarawak, Nordin Ahmad, Roseyatimah, and Kasma Booty. Our world is now is a highly sophisticated world of communications. We become wired and TV-ed, and Radio-ed, and Internet-ed, and Paged, Instant-messaged and whatever that connects the human self to things outside of himself/herself.
Our children and teenagers can hide, but they cannot escape from the connections and from the heteroglossia of human existence. They become slaves to these personalized and miniaturized technologies. Being and becoming now means being and becoming technologized. The self in them is digitized, fragmented, and becomes objects of surveillance of those who owns the means of electronic surveillance.
We swipe our plastic card and the story of our life is transmitted electronically to credit card companies, market research companies, advertising companies, consumer research bodies, and government agencies. Our real self is corroded, colonized, digitized.
We become bytes in the entire scheme of a world increasingly digital. We are, borrowing the American digital guru, “being and becoming digital”. We are, borrowing eminent professor of media, Neil Postman, living in a “technopoly” in which the self is increasingly surrendered to digital technology. The Frankenstein in us has taken over the real self. The human self becomes "owned" by these communication technologies, including by the idiot box called TV.
On why TV propaganda works: