Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Down in Front

I was talking with my friend Ronald the other day and he was telling me why he didn't watch the Olympics anymore. I haven't watched the games in years myself. I didn't even realize they had begun until I was eating dinner in a restaurant with my wife earlier in the week. We eat a lot in Sports Bars where you are surrounded by televisions. I couldn't care less about the TVs, but my wife likes to eat in these places because she thinks they are more lively than other eateries, especially white table cloth restaurants. So, anyway, even though I wasn't watching the TVs my eye did catch a scroll across the bottom of one set that gave the scores for some match between countries. "Oh," I said, the Olympics must have started. What is the score on Zika cases and drownings due to pollution?

I ceased having much interest in the Olympics when they began allowing professional athletes to play. It used to be a big tournament for amateurs. They used to be fanatics in insisting no one show up on the field who ever got paid for anything athletic. Remember they stripped the great Jim Thorpe of his metals when it was revealed he had once taken a few dollars to play semi-pro baseball, which wasn't even the sport he was competing in. Now they embrace million-dollar stars from the NBA and NHL and recruit them to be "dream teams" in their respected sports.

Ronald has lost interest for a couple reasons that I fully understand. One is the use of delayed broadcasting, even though Brazil is only an hour difference than our own time zone, the constant running of "Up Close and Personal"  vignettes, the hogging of the airways by the commentators and the overwhelming number of commercials. I have to agree with him.

It isn't just the Olympics they pull this stuff either. It is permeating everywhere. If I put a sporting event on, I want to see the sport, not listen to a lot of palaver by commentators. One of the annoying things anymore is the in booth interviews. These begin with,

       "Oh, guess who just dropped in our booth?"

If it is an athlete, half the time or more they don't play the sport we are presumedly watching. Many times it is some actor plugging a show they are in or an author pushing his latest book. The commentators then go on and on chatting with this person I could do without and ignoring their job, which is to tell us what is happening on the field. What is happening on the field doesn't matter anymore because the TV broadcasters think these sports are too boring to hold our interest like yakking with some celebrity will.

Frankly, too often these days the commentators get it the way. They seem to think it's all about them. They even did this with the political conventions.  Now, I really didn't watch that much of the conventions, because I don't like politics, but when I did somehow wander into a broadcast what did I see? I saw some overpaid teleprompter reader blabbing away like a drunken macaw. They would tell you that so-and-so was giving a speech, and then cut away to themselves babeling to each other. Really, I would rather hear the speech for myself. But instead, when the speaker takes his bows and departs, the commentators who have blathered through his speech now try to tell me what the speaker said. Hey, let me hear the speaker for myself! I'm not a baby bird, I don't need your predigested worms shoved down my throat.

There are too many commercials. I know this pays the bills, but come on, it's more like the event or show is a disruption of the 25 commercial messages that come on every 10 minutes. I can't turn on the TV without getting a commercial when it lights up and if I change the channel, there is a commercial there too. It is like they know. It is like they have something that tells them I have changed to another channel so they can slap a commercial on it.

Ah, remember when a program had one or two sponsors, who would only speak at the beginning, end and once in the middle of a show? Today it seems the sponsors have sponsors. 'This commercial has been brought to you by..."

More and more I avoid the TV. I guess that is a good and healthy thing to do.

1 comment:

  1. Lar,
    Greed has taken over both the Olympics and commercial television with all the advertisements including Clemens promoting themselves and their products. Then the network honchos wonder why viewership is down. The proliferation of excessive ads destroyed many of our great magazines and they will destroy TV entertainment as we know it. There is a tipping point of where people just don't watch anymore because of all the ads and chatter. We have long since passed that point.