Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Wires and Lights in a Box...

 I rarely watch TV - if truth be told I gave up watching it almost 20 years ago and should I happen to see anything these days it's by accident and not design. As a youngster, I recall being both horrified and entranced by Cathy Come Home and Just another Saturday - as an adult I stood up in my own sitting room and applauded BBC Scotland for their drama Down Where The Buffalo Go (starring a little known American called Harvey Keitel). Although dramatisations, these programmes brought social issues crashing into our sitting rooms with the force of a hurricane. They changed lives by confrontation, with information, all wrapped up in dramatisation. How many TV dramas of the last 20 years can claim to have changed lives?

I became a political activist - not just because of what I read in newspapers, or in books, but because of what I saw unfolding nightly on our news broadcasts. Then, things turned sour. I could no longer trust the news. The impartiality of the BBC, for me, was lost when they admitted to editing news footage to make it look as though striking miners attacked Police - when in fact reality was the other way around.

And so my love affair with television ended.

There's a journalist from America who's work I have grown to appreciate over the years. He's long since departed this earth but he truly was a visionary. Many Americans may not even have heard of him, but his relentless pursuit of truth and his plea for that truth to be disseminated via television is something which anyone being introduced to the media should be made to recite.

He saw the future - and he saw it in stark contrast - it could be the enlightening of the masses via television or television could simply be 'Wires and Lights in a Box' - below is a two minute re-enactment of what for me is one of the most important speeches of the twentieth century. It is men and women like him, who ensure I never lose faith in America, that faith gets dented, it gets beaten, it gets questioned daily - but it never gets broken, because a nation which can produce an Edward Murrow - can do it again.

Goodnight - and Good Luck.



  1. I've heard of him Rory and read a bit about him but I'd not heard him speak before. How good was that?
    I wish I had your faith in America. I did until GWB but them it deserted me (which is why we moved). Thanks for the education.

  2. Suzanne Lucero5 July 2011 at 20:08

    Thanks for this, Rory. We do need to remember...

  3. That is one grim man with a serious message.

  4. He's a hero of mine. We have Amy Goodman now. As long as there's one, we aren't totally lost. I do wish there were more.

  5. Unfortunatley, TV is an industry and it is about making money. Those with the big bucks will get heard and many times the truth suffers.

  6. I'm actually going to be the blog post-pooper and admit how much I love TV.

    When I was a kid, I watched TV a lot. Then for a short spell in my early teens, we couldn't afford cable (my single mum was working hard just to put food in front of me). We got it back, but I ended up finding other things to do and didn't watch TV for years.

    Chuck loves TV. He'd have one in the bathroom if I let him. So when I moved in, I started watching.

    I fell in lust with TV again. I don't think that makes me a bad person, an ignorant person, an uneducated person (not that you're saying I am or anything). My brain hasn't started melting out of my ears.

    I took Sociology at university, and studied media. I know how it works. How manipulative the media is.

    But I've learned many things about the world through television.

    I'm not going to be one of those "I read Playboy, but only for the articles..." sort of people. I watch a lot of educational programs, but I love television for the entertainment value. The escape. Just as I love books for the same reason.

    And I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I can still be smart and serious about the world and enjoy television at the same time.

    I think you're mainly talking about news programs though, so maybe I spun my reply off in the wrong direction. And in fact, I don't watch a lot of news. I'm naturally sad enough without watching all the horrible things going on in the world every night whilst eating my dinner.