Dear TV-Watchers

Dear Fans of Reality Shows

A reality show such as Master Chef, Survivor or The Apprentice is as removed from real life as Spongebob Squarepants. After watching fans of Master Chef shit all over Exclusive Books over a cookery book displayed in a window, I can’t help feeling even more disappointed in the human race than usual. Here is a list of things that truly deserve your attention:

–         South Sudan has the least infrastructure of any country in the world and could use some help getting started.

–         4 million chickens are shredded and boiled to death every week in South Africa: think about the shit that you put in your mouth.

–         There are kids freezing to death every night

–         There is a petrol strike on and there’s no gas to be found

–         Rape is endemic and no one is being held accountable for it

–         The United States might have no economy to speak of in a few months

–         Sarah Palin is running for the 2012 candidacy, a woman who thinks hunting is a human right, virulently anti-abortion and thinks Afghanistan is a US neighbour

–         We have the lowest literacy rates in Africa, putting us below countries in the middle of revolutions, wars and genocides

And this is the utterly asinine shit people tend to concern themselves with:

–         the ‘joy’ of royal weddings

–         Master Chef Australia and the winner thereof

–         Jennifer Lopez’s buttocks

–         The Idols dropouts

–         Charlie Sheen

–         The Hangover 2

Please look at this picture of a starving child.

A well nourished Sudanese man steals maize from a starving child during a food distribution at the Medecins Sans Frontieres feeding centre in Ajiep, southern Sudan. from Tom Stoddart's iWitness Gallery

No, don’t scroll down. Look at that child. Crawling in the dirt. Hungry. And not “I haven’t eaten since this morning” hungry. Not “Its so cold today” inside an air-conditioned office cold. Not “oh my god I have to get up and actually go to work” tired. Try imagine what its like to watch someone walk away with your food and there’s no fridge to go scratch around in. This child’s suffering is pornographic in its extremes, but I want you to look at this and then think about all the retarded shit that us first-world people complain about. “I don’t have enough bandwidth. I don’t want to break a R50 note buying cappuccino. I have to wear an extra layer today. I’ve been invited to this party but I don’t’ feel like going, its too far to drive.”
All the energy that people spent on phoning in to 702 to complain about something that hadn’t even happened (the winner of Master Chef will only have their book released next week) could have been spent on protesting the government’s dire approach to media freedom. But no: the real travesty is that the winner of Master Chef’s book might have been on display. Fuck the starving kids, the political troubles, the troubling nature of Rupert Murdoch: a cookbook was displayed and someone needed to be punished.

I know there’s escapism and I would never begrudge people that. But the problem is that nearly everyone is hiding their faces in the bosom of television and tabloids, allowing the bad shit to go unchecked. If the government knew that their every movement was being tracked by the people, then they would pull their socks up. But instead you watch too much TV and read too much Heat magazine. Its so much easier to keep up with the river of shit that is Gray’s Anatomy or Gossip Girl than taking an active interest in the welfare of the country.

So yes, those who get upset that Vodacom was down for a day, or that the ending of some pointless reality show got leaked, I hope you will get upset when I call you an uninterested, fuckwitted drain on society. Because if you get upset then it means you are embarrassed, and maybe that will be some kind of incentive to turn the television off and maybe do 67 minutes of charity more often than every July. Knit a blanket for a kid. Drop some pet food off at the SPCA. There are trolleys at the Pick and Pay to put in food for shelters. Write a letter to the ANCYL telling them to stop wiping their arses with money and actually do what they promised for the poor. Sign every internet petition that comes your way, because those petitions are changing the world. Go volunteer to teach something to someone. Eat one less meal with meat in it. Buy fair trade coffee. Boycott Nestle. Go to an orphanage and read to the kids there.

But for fuck’s sake, don’t phone a radio station to complain about a cookbook.

8 thoughts on “Dear TV-Watchers

  1. Ashley-Kate Davidson says:

    Its sad that Africa has the lowest literacy, Zimbabwe used to be one of the highest in the world, look where we are now?
    As for that child begging for food, the stuff of nightmares! There is a kid here who is a bit “fatter” than that and every day, we organise to give him at least something to keep him and his 2 year old sister fed, not to mention others have organised blankets and clothes for them. Two of millions of kids worldwide who face that same dawn at least have a little respite daily. Goodness knows how many more we don’t see.
    I am going to share your post, I think more people need to think about this and less about their self-indulgence.

  2. mudkipzo says:

    ZImbabwe’s story is so sad but I hope things will come right one day. And good for you helping those children: as Ralph Waldo Emerson said “to have improved even one life: this is to have succeeded.”

    1. nicholasmcguire says:

      We need to cease focus on material wealth, and the things that we don’t have. We are blessed…very blessed. I believe that God loves His children very much. I believe that selfishness of the rich (us) does not help those in need, nor does it help us in the end. We have a calling. Why not participate? :,(

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