I went to the doctor’s surgery today and he has signed me off for another four weeks. I really do not want to be off work that long, and suggested one week but he was more sensible than I.
What he said was that if in two weeks time I feel almost ready for work, to make an appointment and he would sign me back, giving me a week to sort out any ‘accommodations’ with Occupational Health, such as close parking, etc. If he gave me one week off, I could still need another week, and he doesn’t want surgery time wasted, which I can understand.
I am still waiting for a letter from the choose and book (C&B) team to arrange my appointment with the specialist. The doctor was appalled; either C&B have lost the letter or it has not come to our address. The doctor feels it will be the former but I suspect the latter. In any case it will delay my treatment.
I drove myself down to the surgery, arrived a little early and he was running late. I had taken a book with me, but could barely concentrate because they had the television on. I looked around and there were three other people in the waiting room, all reading or doing a sudoku. Why on earth must the TV be on, I wondered.
Daytime television really depresses me. It seems to have three themes at the moment; antiques, houses and travel, sometimes the houses are abroad which combines two, and I imagine that sometimes the houses themselves are antiques!
The thing that concerns me most is that the audience, really by its nature of being daytime, is probably those off work through illness, disability or unemployment or those who have retired. I think what I am saying is that many of them will be on restricted, low incomes. If you are on benefits and are constantly fed a diet of pictures of large, expensive houses and travel to far off lands that are not ever likely to experience, how will that make you feel? I suppose it could be seen as escapism but I would imagine that this will only make life feel more difficult, especially if you start to believe that such things are enjoyed by the majority.
I ask myself how does that empower people? Is there something that might make people feel better, something that could lift them rather than engender envy and depression. Why not some positive programme that could show how to do interesting things on a budget. Even all the cookery programmes seem to be about using the most expensive products. How about programmes on decorating that use cheap items rather than paying a weeks benefit money on a lampshade!
At one time there was a fair bit of television based on the lives of those on lower incomes or in working class jobs, and this is not the case at the moment. Most sitcoms seem to be based on a middle class lifestyle. The Royale family was a notable exceptions. All the nurses in the hospital programmes are shown in houses and decorated with ornaments etc., that most nurses couldn’t afford. Today it seems to be all about celebrity, fame, talent shows, lotteries and I wonder what the effect of all this is on people. You see all these thousands of people queuing for the chance to become famous. It is axiomatic that children, when asked what they want to be when they grow up, will often say they want to be famous rather than suggest a trade.
I remember when I went back to college and first studied sociology, and thinking that certain things that seemed new to other people seemed so obvious to me, and one of them was the following. If you constantly advertise ‘things’ people will want them, even if there is no chance of them ever being able to afford them. There is then a tipping point where the desire for ‘things’ over-rides reluctance to be involved in crime to get those ‘things’.
I am not saying that daytime TV leads to crime, but I do not think that society benefits by this ‘dumbing down’.