When TV turns offensive and intrusiveBy Nestor Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
As viewers watch the small screen these days, some of them are struck by the lack of limits that is shockingly obvious on TV.
They point out that television is able to enter people’s homes, into their living rooms and bedrooms, and therefore should be on its best behavior, especially because young and impressionable children can see and hear—and imitate—everything it says and shows.
Since it’s an invited or uninvited guest in people’s homes, TV should make sure that it doesn’t ruffle the sensibilities of its hosts and, thus, rudely overstays its welcome.
And yet, all too often these days, the opposite is what’s happening—TV shows and personalities are saying anything and everything that comes to mind, even if it’s disturbing or downright shocking, because they feel that they have the run of the place, and that their hosts have to take whatever they dish out, since they’ve become so popular and powerful.
Offended viewers have to reassert their right to set the rules in their homes, and TV people have to remind themselves to observe them.
Collectively, viewers should clearly draw the line between what definitely is allowed and what isn’t.
“There are limits!” they should insistently declare, and TV people have to observe those limits—or else, we should shut that offensive and intrusive TV set off.
Examples of excesses abound. Recently, a young star was interviewed on TV and she was reminded by the host of her impoverished days, when she had to buy cheap panties for only a few pesos each.
Instead of blushingly pleading for the host not to “mention her unmentionables,” the actress opted to ride on the colorful conversation to show that she was “with-it” and “game,” and even added a cheeky detail or two about the condition and color of her underwear!
As viewers at home groaned and winced, both host and guest had a field day showing how cheeky and audacious they could be.
What could the kids at home have been thinking? That it’s OK and even fun to mention private things on a public medium like TV? And, therefore, that it’s OK to do the same at home, at school, and wherever else they choose to be so forthcoming, audacious and “fun?” Oh, please.
Fact is, some other people who appear on TV say and do even worse things for many of the medium’s viewers to take and bear.
Like that infamous public figure who berates and bullies her victims and enemies in political debates in vile and vicious terms.
Or that stage mother who vilifies her foes with insults and threats that should never be heard in public, especially by children.
Or those celebrities who hurl colorful invectives at each other on TV that result in cases being filed in court.
Why should viewers and their vulnerable children be subjected to such vitriolic excesses?
TV stations should have rules and that can swiftly be implemented to cut off such shocking language and behavior before they pollute the TV screen—and people’s homes.
TV hosts and guests should be warned that such excesses are utterly unacceptable, and that viewers’ sensibilities have to be respected at all times.
If they refuse to observe those rigorous limits, they shouldn’t be allowed access to the medium and should be limited to polluting their own space, not the TV screen.
There are limits!
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