Is Light Entertainment Secretly Changing The World?

I had considered leaving you in 2017 with an upbeat message brimming with goodwill and bonhomie.

Ha, ha! Only joking! I would never do that to you. Instead, I thought I would leave you in 2017 with a brand-new conspiracy theory, together with a strong sense of foreboding regarding the future. You can thank me later.

Is Light Entertainment Secretly Changing The World?

As we all know, as a rule, TV schedules nowadays amount to around 25% new programming, 75% repeats. At Christmas, this ratio goes to 10% / 90%. And while coasting through a plethora of repeats this Christmas, I got thinking about something I’d somehow managed to forget.

One night back in in 2013 I was also flicking through the TV channels. It was that kind of aimless flicking whereby I didn’t really have any intentions of stopping, but then something in the schedule caught my eye – or to be more precise, a pattern in the schedule caught my eye.

For those of you outside this peculiarly attached-not-attached part of Western Europe, you might not know that Irish people watch a lot of British TV. We have very few home-grown channels and often tend to watch ones from across the Irish Sea instead. And on this particular night, a very British pattern began to emerge. If I’d been English, say, I mightn’t have noticed, but I’m not, and I did.

Bearing in mind that even though this was before the Great British Bake-Off – but only by about 5 minutes – there was an awful lot of Great British Bullshit. One channel was showing Great British Railway Journeys. Another was showing Britain’s Got Talent. Another had re-runs of the Great British Menu.

None of this registered until I finally got to BBC1, which was showing a new quiz, called I Love My Country. It featured teams from different parts of Britain, answering really important questions all about Britain – such as where you could find a Yorkshire pudding in a red telephone box while Morris dancing to bagpipes.

It was bloody awful television, to the extent that even its own presenters looked embarrassed to be associated with it. It only lasted on TV for 5 minutes in my case, and one buttock-clenchingly awkward season in the case of the BBC.

But still, I was bewildered. What’s with all the shagging patriotism, I wondered? Why does it have to be a Great British Bloody Everything? Why can’t you just have a Bake-Off or a Sewing Bee or any other frankly bizarre show concept, without nationalising it? Who decided that British people will only watch TV programmes if it’s made clear in the title that it’s for them?

Or was it a government conspiracy? For the first time in my life, the last possibility seemed, well, a possibility. (I have long held the view that daytime TV in Britain and Ireland is a government conspiracy to force people out to work, so this wasn’t too much of a leap.)

Is Light Entertainment Secretly Changing The World?

I stared wide-eyed at the telly for a while. Then I forgot all about it for five years, because the Great British Bullshit became so ubiquitous it didn’t even seem remarkable anymore. And in truth, if it hadn’t been for the abject awfulness of I Love My Country, perhaps I would never have noticed in the first place.

Then Brexit happened, and lots of people stared at Britain with bewilderment as they convinced themselves of facts and figures that weren’t true and talked about how everything was so much better during World War II when everyone pulled together and sang songs and shared rations as the bombs rained down over their heads and telegrams came from overseas telling them their loved ones were dead. Oh, the fun they had! But I digress.

It was only after this – and indeed after daily headlines regarding the shambolic progression of Brexit became as ubiquitous as those awful TV show titles, and someone was making America really grate for the first time in living memory – that I remembered I Love My Country.

Were the two phenomena connected? Could it be that 5 years of subliminal patriotism, transmitted through the medium of lite entertainment, had permeated the subconscious of an entire island, plus a minority of another bit on another island, ultimately leading to said island plus minority of another bit on another island to want to seal themselves off from all their neighbours?

I don’t have the answer to this question (the job of a conspiracy theorist is not to answer questions, for Blog’s sake), but it did give me some ideas.

If my theory is correct, then over a relatively short period – only 5 years or so – light entertainment was able to bring about a rise in nationalism, a surge in populism, and severe economic shocks for several continents, not to mention making a lot of people very very cross.

Indeed, if you extrapolate the rise in populism and the accompanying barminess associated with such movements, it might even bring about another war. Imagine the Great British reality shows we would see then! But again I digress.

Come July 2018, I will have been blogging for 5 years. Some readers have been visiting regularly for a lot of that time. I don’t want to alarm anyone, but this would mean that technically I will have had access to the subconscious of literally tens of people around the world, for the same period of time that it took light entertainment to turn the tide of opinion of entire nations.

It’s no secret that I have long had designs on becoming an all-powerful international tyrant. (Aim sideways, that’s what I always say.) And just like light entertainment and today’s politicians, I am in no danger of anyone bothering to go back over my history in order to analyse anything I have been saying over the years.

Anyhoo, it’s just a thought in passing, but I would consider myself perfectly placed to start taking over the world shortly.

This is probably as close as I’ll get to a New Year’s Resolution post. Does anyone else have anything nice planned for 2018?

  36 comments for “Is Light Entertainment Secretly Changing The World?

  1. December 29, 2017 at 10:06 am

    You’ve answered your own question, Tara — because Brexit, if it is ever allowed to happen by the greedy, selfish fecal slime that is the British middle class, will the most wonderful thing to have happened to Britain since my birth (though not, I do see, for Ireland), while television is unmitigated shite.

    Happy New Year 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 29, 2017 at 1:07 pm

      I’d forgotten about your birth when sketching this out, John, which was a shocking oversight. I see that now. However, I’m choosing not to think about why your birth might not be good for Ireland right now. We have enough on our plates. And a Happy New Year to you too!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • December 29, 2017 at 2:56 pm
        • December 29, 2017 at 5:51 pm

          I don’t want to worry you, John, but if that was a subliminal message, I’m not sure it’s working… 😀


  2. December 29, 2017 at 10:22 am

    I believe that having Great British in the title for that is actually the name of our country, an epithet bestowed upon us for the character of the people, not just the fact that we made 85% of the world a better, more democratic place, is to distinguish from TV programmes that should be prefixed, “Shit” being of US origin but embarrassed to say so. A great form of patriotism I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 29, 2017 at 1:10 pm

      It is undoubtedly the most patriotic thing a person could do, Bobby. Except perhaps for making some better TV, which I believe Queen Victoria herself said was “a jolly good idea”.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. December 29, 2017 at 11:23 am

    Tara, you’re so on my wavelength. Although I am terribly English in many respects I am also the exact opposite in a pile of others. I drink tea, eat fish & chips, use whimsical language and enjoy a bit of football. On the other hand, I am a pro-European, Republican Atheist who listens to raucous music like The Clash & The Damned and who knows that Brexit will continue to rip the heart out of our economy and weaken our public services for the next two or three decades – basically until we rejoin the EU.
    I despair of how we’ve ended up like this – we survived the far right yobs of the 70s & 80s and then fell to a hapless campaign ran by the most unlikable people you could possibly imagine. Who in hell thinks that Gove, Boris and Farage can be trusted with anything?
    So yes, it is down to a constant drip-drip of ego stroking from light entertainment and fear and horror from right wing tabloids.
    And as for “Great Britain”, well the name comes from the fact that when the Anglo-Saxons started coming over from Germany in 400-600 AD (I don’t see the Mail complaining about THOSE immigrants) a lot of the displaced Britons emigrated to an empty corner of France which became known as Britain (or Bretagne, aka Brittany). The larger place they left therefore acquired the adjective “Big” (because Brittany in France is a lot smaller and calling both places by the same name is unnecessarily confusing). I think we could all do with a healthy dose of humility by renaming our island “Big Brittany”.
    Who else drinks tea, eats fish & chips, uses whimsical language, enjoys a bit of footie, likes the EU, have some noisy guitar bands and doesn’t toady up to royalty? Oh bejeesus, I think I’m Irish.
    (We’ll gloss over the atheism for now, but you’re slowly getting there…)
    Here’s to 2018 and more Sparling wit and wisdom 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • December 29, 2017 at 1:14 pm

      Didn’t I already send you three Irish passports in the post, my babbity friend? Don’t tell me you didn’t get them! Perhaps they should rename Royal Mail the Great British Mail and you might actually get the contraband I send you. I’ll package up another.

      In the meantime, wasn’t it fortunate that the shift in popular meaning of ‘great’ worked to such advantage in the UK? Now THERE’S an idea. Why don’t I come up with a raft of TV show concepts with ‘United’ in the title, and we can see in another 5 years if the UK suddenly becomes…. united? 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • December 29, 2017 at 3:19 pm

        I keep checking the post but I fear they are being intercepted by some agents in Royal Mail. I may have to get my brother to investigate (he’s not a cop, he produces postie rounds for Royal Mail; I’m not sure how effective he’ll be at finding contraband Irish passports).
        I like the idea of pushing the concept of United. But due to educational standards I bet we’ll end up Untied instead.
        Ba-dum (and, if you will,) tish.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. December 29, 2017 at 11:50 am

    You’ve shaved your head. Clever move for all wanabee tyrants and world-taker-overers.

    I think you may have overlooked a more insidious phenomenon in the UK. The BBC is an alternative government in constant tension with the proper government and other sinister forces. Calling programmes the Great British This and That and using a Michael Portillo robot to present programmes is their way of asserting authority. You may have noticed how many Britain-from-the-air programmes the BBC makes: mass surveillance. Now you have to log in to watch iPlayer, more data gathering.

    They were rumbled by the Daily Mail a long time ago and we now have this ‘government in exile’ versus proto nazis and the Forces of Dacre, with the population being inspired by elevated pseudo-personalities such as Mary Berry, Mel and Sue and the Hairy Bikers, all of them dubbed ‘national treasures’ long before they die. It’s a civil war with cushions and we need voices like yours to tell the outside world what is really going on. They knobbled Noel Edmonds, now they’re coming for Rick Stein.

    Liked by 2 people

    • December 29, 2017 at 1:18 pm

      I KNEW it!! I knew I’d barely scratched the surface!! Thank heavens you’re on to it too, Chris, or else we would all be speaking in grammatically correct English. I must admit I didn’t know how deep it went. It makes me feel better about the fact that nobody, I mean nobody, seems to be even slightly worried about my plans for world domination. It’s just no fun when people think you’re a benign threat, dammit.

      Liked by 1 person

      • December 29, 2017 at 11:26 pm

        I’m worried. Worried because my ambition is world domination too and I don’t want a rival. Especially one who gets more comments on their blog posts than I do.

        Liked by 2 people

        • December 30, 2017 at 12:19 pm

          I do believe I’m choked up. That’s simply the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me. I will treasure your worry indefinitely.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. December 29, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    I don’t know as I’ve ever read something so funny along the way and so deathly serious just before the end. Now you’ve gone and made me all thoughtful, and here I was enjoying the end of my vacation.
    Tara, I would gladly accord you world domination if you just go back to making me chuckle without dreary morals-to-the-story like today’s message. Honestly, take it all- I’m sure you would throw the bums out without error, keep Britain where it needs to be, help us Americans get back to something that more closely resembles greatness, and along the way you’d keep in mind that there are people here in the Colonies who could give a flying flip about fish and chips and who know that in REAL football, one is an “extra” point, a game where no player has to pretend he’s been injured. Unless the clock’s running down and there are no timeouts left.

    Did you ever see a version of the Max Headroom TV show? I saw what folks would probably identify as the American version (despite having Amanda Pays). OK, so just the greatest TV show since I was a kid and I put all the episodes on VHS tapes which don’t work anymore but I still keep them just to say I have the series. “Twenty Minutes into the Future” and everyone has free TV, even homeless folks on streetcorners. Tons of programming is repeats, the opioid of the masses, etc. And off-buttons are illegal. The world is run by TV- each network fields a candidate and people vote by switching channels to the one they like best.

    So you’re not really being gloomy. You’re just prescient. After all, it was in a TV show!

    Liked by 2 people

    • January 11, 2018 at 10:46 pm

      Will, I have no idea how this comment ended up in spam but indeed it did – so sorry! Especially if you feel like I was censoring you. Censoring comments plays no part in my manifesto. How else would I get the disagreement and disgruntlement I crave, if not through people who dare to have opinions of their own?

      Anyway, I remember Max Headroom. It used to play in the wee small hours here at the weekends so was a badge of honour to any rebellious young thing. Not that I was ever rebellious, because I wasn’t. You can’t be rebellious when you’re running the regime.

      Sorry again for your temporary detention in spam. I will endeavour to make reparations by vowing to check the damn box more often.


  6. December 29, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    I left UK (now the Dis-UK) in 1974 with Midsomer Murders ringing in my ears. I arrived in Spain with access to Un-Great Britain TV to hear the dulcet tones of Benefits Street/choosing dates while stark naked and other exciting programmes eg watching people’s belonging carted off by debt collectors (only to be handed new stuff courtesy of the government using taxpayers money). I also learned that smoking a cigarette was akin to devil worship and the BBC telling the most gigantic lies. It’s all in the name Tara, of trying to whip up a bit of patriotism in the event of an attack on London to stop young British men from jumping into hundreds of rubber boats and paddling frantically for refuge in Ireland. Are you ready for them?

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 29, 2017 at 1:21 pm

      Ah yeah, Lucinda, sure they’ve been coming over under cover as stag parties for many years, hooking up with Irish women in Temple Bar, imprisoned in the suburbs before they know it. It’s like the Vikings all over again. We don’t mind so much. It’s probably because they’re willing to pay the price of the pints down there. The rest of us know where to drink.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. December 29, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    I think your theory has merit. I do. I will expect some great “shiny things” to come from your lair sometime in July, pulling attention of readers to whatever nefarious schemes you’ll be hatching. Couldn’t be any worse than Brexit or MAGA. Could it???

    Until then, I sit on this shore, the one with the idiot orange demagogue throwing his (considerable) weight around like a mad Jabba the Hut pretending to have a clue about his stolen position while burbling on about MAGA and big hands and his brilliant brain and other such insipid nonsense, so I am in no position of wisdom to make useful predictions.

    For now, my nice plan for 2018 is simply NOT to drown in the sea of bullshit that’s been let loose in this country, and maybe, get some damn work done. For, I believe that my art will go on… (please don’t steal that; I’m using it as a blog title soon, it’s so clever… the image of sinking ships notwithstanding! 🙂 )

    But, sincerely, HAPPY NEW YEAR to you, Tara. You are one of the most delightful bits of this crazy online world of words.

    Liked by 2 people

    • December 29, 2017 at 7:54 pm

      But Lorraine… whatever were you thinking?? You can’t just coin a great catchphrase (IBTMAWGO) and then tell a despot not to steal it. I mean, I respect you and everything, but you should know better. MUCH better. Will we just leave it at me wishing you a happy, healthy and sane 2018, in the understanding that while I might mean it, I will also steal anything that may further my nefarious agenda?

      Oh, good. I’m glad you agree. Love your work too 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. December 29, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Reblogged this on Jan Hawke INKorporated and commented:
    Leaving the Old Year, giving everything the finger is a time-honoured tradition in the British Isles and Eire… All I have to say is that I voted to stay in the EU, and can’t believe that such a very slight margin was ‘acted’ on immediately.
    Having said that since then, the amount of ‘Great British Buffoonery with the Red Tape has been highly entertaining, if not borderline psychotic and I live in awe of what will happen next.
    Tara – thank god you’re outside looking in, so you can pick up all the quirkier nuances for us that we might otherwise lose track of! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • December 29, 2017 at 8:03 pm

      I always wanted to have my own conspiracy theory, I admit, Jan. Who knows? If this one turns out to be particularly enjoyable, I might start a few more. I find it’s easy once you start.Thanks for the re-blog! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  9. December 29, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    Is TV a reflection of the times we live in or does it shape the world we live in? I want to believe the former, but I tend to side with the latter.
    As far as “the Great British fill in the blank goes….it could be subliminal patriotism at work. It could also be lazy TV producers.
    I just don’t know.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 29, 2017 at 8:05 pm

      Anything we don’t know can inspire a great conspiracy at least, Anthony. It’s just a shame that really good conspiracies have been ruined by crackpot commentators before, which is why I, as someone who would never joke or even think of poking fun at anything, decided to give it a go. The fact that it’s plausible is just a bonus, really!!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. kgupta21
    December 29, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    This cuts to the chaise……it’s all about pronouncing nationalism.You are not a patriot till you declare yourself so.If only the world can see the pain in a country called India right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 29, 2017 at 8:09 pm

      But there’s a billion people in India! Shouldn’t we all be going to make TV there right away?! Why are these propaganda masters wasting their time in the UK? I mean, it’s not like there’s a complicated historical association in the way of… oh, wait. Hang on.


      • kgupta21
        December 30, 2017 at 5:18 pm

        Colonial hangover on our part.The British left us but we couldn’t.That’s why along with our British Bakeoff other English shows and personalities find traction here.Gordon Ramsey,Ricky Gervais and Jamie Oliver are fairly popular.Not forgetting Cumberbatch,Monty Python and Spike Milligan. And we’re good with that!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. December 30, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    Hmm, fascinating and believable. Do you think all (us) blind Remainers failed to be aware the insidious national grooming because the words Great British before a TV programme title were the equivalent of a rat sandwich warning? We were certainly caught hopping and the liars who fronted the campaign can’t have done it all by themselves. Keep up the ‘research’! Repetition – of truth or lies – is terrifyingly effective.

    Liked by 2 people

    • December 30, 2017 at 10:51 pm

      Your suspicions could be correct, Hilary. I’ve long suspected that my raison d’être was to bring fear and loathing to the masses, so you can rest assured I will continue my research. It’s just a shame it took me so long to realise that this was my time to shine.


  12. January 3, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    Ugh. Now I’m depressed, Tara. Things are bad over here in the US with our” make American into a great feudal state” goals. A quarter of the population can’t wait to roll back the clock to the great depression when things were really humming along. Plus who doesn’t enjoy a good war? And if you’re an unhappy liberal-leaning peacenik, don’t worry, someone will shoot you at the grocery store, movie theater, or while you pick your kids up at school. Thanks for the cheery new year’s post, my friend. Now I have to turn on the TV and watch some British television to feel better. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • January 3, 2018 at 11:19 pm

      Well, I do aim to please, Diana. I heard that positive blogging attracted on average 1,000% more followers and 6,564% more readers, and we wouldn’t want that, would we? I think we both know my messages of doom are far more beneficial. You’re welcome!

      Liked by 1 person

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