The clown is the new authority

I grew up in Norway in the 70ies. Back then we were privileged with one TV station that only broadcasted one channel by air. It was the state controlled NRK which also took care of the only Norwegian radio channels allowed. In the 80ies the satellite television entered our part of the world and we got cable TV. That was awesome. Not because of the content, because the content sucked. However, it opened up the media landscape completely. Soon we had up to as many as ten foreign TV stations available through expensive subscriptions and in the late 80ies the Norwegian parliament opened up for private radio channels and into the 90ies we got the first private TV stations.

Nevertheless, back to content; the programs and shows that we got was exceptionally crappy. Much because content is expensive, so the new channels made an impressive effort to make us enjoy American TV-shows from the 60ies. We did not know what we missed, though; we did not have much to compare with.

What I do remember is that I disliked most of what they threw at me, but then I never liked the fashioned popular culture anyways. However, it was all entertainment. So what if I found Pat Sharp’s VJ show incredible stupid, and never liked Dallas, Dynasty or the Lucy show (yes Lucy….I know). It was not important. It was all bubble gum, as everything else made for the mass marked popular culture. The weekly magazines where the same, as where the top of the pops shows, radio bingo, talk shows, or what have you. It was all crap. However, it did not matter. It was all entertainment, and not important. It was not presented as anything else either. It was an ongoing circus filled with entertainers, who did a good job in keeping the masses happy. You could easily detach yourself from that part of the world and follow a serious debate on the radio, or in a newspaper, watch an insightful movie, read a book etc.  There were plenty of room for people with insights and something to say. It was space enough for important things.

It still is. It is just that the room has become incredible big and noisy. Compared to the massiveness of the mass media, the serious parts of our society is hard to notice. The common mass media is not interested in depth or meaningful dialogue. They want “an expert” who knows everything with certainty and can cut things down and make it short and simple, or a lunatic with crazy ideas or even better, a very angry lunatic that does something or say something very stupid or agitated. A clown would be nice, or at least a famous person - a famous agitated clown! If you are not famous, who gives a damn? Can you have anything to say?

In the common mass media, everything is entertainment and all that seem to matter is how much attention they can generate. The important stuff, the really important stuff I mean, turns into something “not so useful” unless you can bring a celebrity into the story of course or the lunatic I mentioned earlier. Even the media which have good writers and commentators puts the important stuff on the little stage and keep the main stage cleared for the clowns. The clown is the new authority, these days.

I love entertainment. I love music, literature, movies, games and series. I love fun, but it is entertainment, and not important. I might be a cultural snob, but I do think that people in general are interested in the important things, and among them, they do not put Paradise hotel.

I am still using the old NRK to get content where people get to finish a sentence. I use English language sites like Hacker News and The Guardian , watch video content on  TED , YouTube and streaming services where I can choose what to see and when to see it myself. I read blogs and books, and try to get to the bottom of things. When Russia invades Ukraine, I want to hear from people with knowledge and insight like in this article in New Republic, and not from some "expert" who can take away all nuances and present a crystal clear truth in a TV debate on Fox news (no link there folks).

I sound grumpy, I know. I often feel grumpy to. I feel it when I happen to watch TV broadcasting news or try to browse my way through the myriad of online news services to find a new and reliable source worth a bookmark. Speaking of TV I get really sour and grumpy if I see the debates they run. It is for the most of the time not debates, but quarrels and polemic arguments where no one gets to finish a sentence and the panel leader seems to be carrying fuel to the fire, instead of bringing clarity to the topic. That said, I do not think everything was better in the old days. I love the internet, best thing that happened on this planet in a long time. I love the enormous media variety we have today, and how small this planet has become when it comes to distribution of information and communication between people. The only thing I wish for is that the debate on important issues and serious news get better conditions than they have today in the world, and that we send the clowns back to the entertainment arena where they belong.

Do you have a favorite news source or online magazine please do share it with me in a comment. I am a news junky.


  1. we had in germany in the 70ties at least 3 TV Programms :)


Post a Comment

Popular Posts