Infantilising the nation

I have begun to wonder whether the government has conspired with the BBC to infantilise the nation.

Participants in television programmes are encouraged to behave like children, jumping up and down, waving their arms about, hugging each other. Men, even very old men, wear short trousers. Grown men and women are encouraged to lose their inhibitions, to hide nothing, to cry for the camera. In other words, to behave like characters in a soap opera, a genre to which all television drama now belongs.

Television programmes that aim to inform and educate must entertain as well. News presenters wander through a maze of giant video screens. Intrepid reporters take us with them on their adventures, like teachers taking children on a visit to a park or a museum. When the news is over, the weather men and women, dressed to kill, swoop and sway in front of their maps like ballet dancers.

George Orwell in 1984 foresaw the Ten Minute Hate, in which citizens were encouraged, or rather obliged, to hurl abuse at people the government told them were their enemies. The present government has found a better way to manage the people. With the help of the BBC, they want to stop us from growing up.


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