Wednesday, May 31, 2006

an unwise investment, or, tv sucks

Chez Roswitha acquired a television after nearly a year of disconnection from popular culture, Internet aside (we take The Hindu in the mornings, which thinks cultural criticism and gossip are arranged side-by-side among the works of hell's angels). To self and roomies, Desperate Housewives and Scrubs seem like distant references to kitchen sinks and drudgery, also things we have avoided to the best of our abilities over the last few months. But we invested in a telly because our new house is so large it literally echoes. It's the sort of place where you would really rather carry on a conversation via text messages than shout across the hall. Well, you would if you were lazy arses like us.

So we thought it was time to fill the desert with joyful sound. So far the project's success has been moderate. We have access to all the news channels - but more on those separately - and some Telugu cable that plays mythologicals from the Andhra film industry's Golden Age of same, and almost all the ones that play lugubrious Hindi soaperas with lots of make-up and chandeliers and slow sad variations on the title track. We really need to call our cable guy and ask him to hook us up to some more cheerful stuff.

While semi-passively consuming our basic diet of tomato Maggi and satellite telly, I came across an ad that has apparently been running for a while now. In it a young man looking for a job tries to ingratiate himself with someone who by her specs and suit is obviously meant to be boss-lady. He begins to salivate, however, eyes fixed at a point above his prospective employer's head, when a young woman unwraps an object and, with NO suggestion of fellatio whatsoever, because when has popular media ever fixated on the purifying greatness of the phallus before? begins to lick it. He wants. Sugestiveness follows. More suggestiveness. Enough suggestiveness to make you wonder at how they found the time for this nonsense in a thirty-second spot. The young man has had enough. He rushes at the employer who, middle-aged h0 as she inevitably must be, assumes he wants to do some freaknasty with her. He bounds over her head, wraps himself around a doorpost trying to get to the nubile damsel, and snatches the phallus from her, applying himself to it with great enthusiasm. Enraged, the boss-lady picks him up by the scruff of his neck and drags him back into the room, phallus and all. What is she going to do with the excess of phallii she has surrounded herself with, I wonder? Then the advertisement ends with an exhortation to 'pleasure up' with what will never be content with remaining bloody ice-cream.

This is irritating because it's pointless. It doesn't use a sexual metaphor - an extremely crass, overdone, non-threatening metaphor - to say something clever or profound. It does it because it can. Why do I see a pattern between patriarchal stock jokes and utter mediocrity? Is it because it's automatically assumed that men with money don't think? Why do men with money not think? Why is television so crappy? Where is my egg-fried rice and copy of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay? *wanders off*

*pops back in* Of course I'm aware, having followed past conversations along similar lines in the blogosphere, that real feminists don't waste their time on stupid little ads that no one even really cares about and that I should be working for the uplift of women in the Middle-East, et cetera. Consider me chastised if it helps to circumvent an airing of opinions that I believe are unprofitable, not to mention moronic.

current musix: muzikas and marta sebastyen - szerelem szerelem.

Watching The English Patient alleviates many of my grouses. It's not as good as the novel, but the novel doesn't have Rafe Fiennes being abrupt and intense in the middle of what may or may not be the Sahara. Goodness, this man is hot.


  1. If you ever get AXN, try watching 'House MD'. It's amazing how that channel has managed to get hold of three of the best tellydramas currently on air.

    I'm rather partial to tomato Maggi myself but the noodles keep getting thinner :[

    Real feminists should emphatically not be working for the uplift of women in the Middle-East. Real feminists burn bras!

  2. Devdas8:45 pm

    Idiot box free for 7 years and running. No ads, no stupidity, no one way traffic of ideas.

    I might even consider television if cartoon network had more content and less ads. Till then, books, audio CDs, Orkut and IRC provide me with my daily entertainment.

    Oh well, I have enough new books to last me till the end of the week. Strand sale == good.

  3. I will second the recommendation of House. It's the only show on television that I watch anymore, although the National Geographic channel keeps having ads for shows that sound interesting. It's the geek in me going, "Ooo, ancient engineering! Oo! Russian mastermind of Sputnik!" Very sad, really.

  4. Hmm.. I would almost feel happy to see an ad like that , or any ad for that matter where the characters speak any Indian language I follow. Many of my friends of course pay the extra bucks and get Zee, but the ads are local, say about some dentist who will make your teeth shine or some Baba who is the solution to all your problems and such.. Miss them ads.

  5. I'd usually totally agree with you, but in abt a week I'll be dying if I don't have access to ESPN :D.

  6. no no no no the ads are the best part! I mean, who can avoid being transfixed by Hi Handsomes or Frankfinn Friendships?
    Oh I love watching Indian advertisements. They are so ridiculous that it is unbelievable.

  7. @ hamlet: Oh, i've been dying to watch House! I believe I will. As I do have AXN.

    And I'll keep my bra on at the risk of losing my feminist cred. Real feminists probably don't take autorickshaws.

    @ devdas: The only time in my life i've been a serious TV addict (I developed a psychosomatic back problem which prevented me from going to school) was when Cartoon Network, and I, were in the bloom of youth. And while I need to do some research to check up on what IRC expands to (don't tell me!), I think I'll do it after I've finished angsting over missing a Strand sale.

    @ nicole: The History Channel is sometimes good, too. Bit of a no-brainer most of the time - I mean, even Wikipedia gives you more analysis - but good dinnertime telly.

    @ kray: THANK YOU FOR THE REMINDER. * pastes up schedule over desk * :D

    @ cyberswami: You forgot the 'bye bye, bye bye!' luggage ads. Last word in inanity.

  8. Devdas12:42 am

    Heh. Did I say I have enough books to last me till the end of the week?

    6 books read in two days. Not good. I really need to go visit Kochi (a friend has a decent book collection ~ 3000 odd books, which I am authorised to borrow).

    I used to like CN without ads too.