Sunday, September 21, 2003

TELEVISION THAT DOESN'T MATTER

Reduced to being laid off at the college and drinking beer while watching TVO, I notice a stream of academics, usually American, on BIG IDEAS prattling the same luddite sermon that would make poor Marshall McLuhan roll over in his grave. Yes, yes, we have all lost our child-like sense of wonder. There are no more pockets of angels. The machine has taken over, etc., etc.

I have one friend left, who happens to be the local chief of police. (I am still working on a case with him, though I fear he has lost his faith in me as the local Eves Lavigne, or for that matter, Avril Lavigne).

"Armand," I say, "All academics are slime."

"You used to be an academic," the Chief quips.

Sigh.

What is it with TVO? A billion dollars a year, English and French transmissions (or emissions as the French charmingly call them)--to hear ranting poseurs reading from the same sermon writer (the late Jacques Ellul?); moth-eaten Anglophone jazz musicians boring us to death with their stale Cole Porter and totally unsuccessful at rendering us unhip and incompetent. Only Paula Todd is in there to raise an, ahem, hope or two. While obviously smart, the woman is drop-dead gorgeous and her pal the elephant man is at least worth his keep as an interviewer. All right. Studio Two works, more or less. But what of the remaining $750 million of our forcibly extracted money?

It's enough, I suppose, to make a greatly gifted diva like Jann Arden wail hauntingly, like a lonely frightened angel. That's what the academics missed. They know how an angel can wail, but they can't do it themselves, and when they can't they blame it on technology.

Television That Matters. TVO.

No. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter at all, with the same loops of moth-eaten NASA documentary footage, dreadful British detective yarns that I"m sure even Yorkshire rejects and the same old chesnut American movies. Is there no talent in Canada?
If you've been watching TVO recently, especially Studio 2, only Jann Arden seems to be in there pitching.

The brain is indeed a "lonely soldier."

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