Maybe because we have no choice but the fact is that we seem to relish the spicy feats of verbal and moral degradation on the talk shows on our TV
We, the people of Pakistan, are living in ‘interesting’ times -- interesting as the Chinese would define it. Just watch a daily TV discussion on national issues, and you will understand what I mean. It will provide you with sufficient food for introspection.
The invariably klutzy flexing of verbal muscles in these talk shows is just the tip of the iceberg when you consider the larger impact they have on the audience in general.
The other day, in one of such programmes, a participant who happened to be a lady (a popular figure) displayed her ranting and shouting skills. I was horrified when the next moment I saw her hurling a piece of paper to an opponent’s face. She only meant to give him a shutup call. But, in this way?
In no time, the poor opponent, apparently equally shocked as I (as a viewer), was finally ‘outshone’. Even the anchor person, who would otherwise celebrate the TRPs of her show going up that very moment, seemed a bit apprehensive lest the situation could get dirtier. No wonder she hurried to wind up the show, with no clear conclusion.
By all standards of decency, it was a spectacle nauseating to the core. The way our political leaders as well as the self-styled experts verbally grapple with each other on these TV shows is not appreciable. They give the impression that we -- as a nation -- lack manners and social graces.
Those foreign readers who might be wondering if it was a one-off incident, it is a daily spectacle. Period.
Our talk shows are similar to a tug-of-war, blatantly shrilly, and seemingly bloodier than cockfight.
At prime-time (7:30pm-10:30pm), a stage is set for these shows, with a sharp-tongued anchor person surrounded by the spokesmen of rival parties.
The anchor person is usually a smart-looking but not smart-talking fellow, well-versed in a sparring match -- getting the rival parties to engage in vociferous point-scoring.
Within no time, these parties are locked in a frenzied argument, each trying to shout the other down, not by logic but by rants that become louder and ruder with each passing minute. Their dogged ‘perseverance’ in not budging from their standpoint or paying heed to the other’s point of view is commendable (pun intended).
At times, they stoop too low and resort to mudslinging, intimidation and even incrimination, without any apparent qualms.
All this game of silliness, to put it mildly, doesn’t lead to any logical conclusion -- as, principally, any meaningful discussion should. Instead, it ends up as full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
At the end of these shows, the sly smile of the anchor person is worth a watch. It sure gives the impression of his/her ‘success’ in setting the stage for insanity.
Sadly, a lot of us are still hooked on these shows. Maybe because we have no choice but the fact is that we seem to relish the spicy feats of verbal and moral degradation. The high ratings these shows enjoy reflect on our collective bad taste, whereas these should actually be a matter of concern for all of us.