Saturday, February 16, 2008

Tittytainment replaces News...

Today I came across these findings of CMS Media Lab at Hardnews [hat-tip: Reader's Words]:

"The research indicates that TV news today is no longer political. It has become abjectly insensitive towards issues concerning health, education, environment and public interest. It has become flooded with sports, entertainment and crime stories... Even a little shift in favour of human interest stories seems to be again trapped in meaningless trivia and selective and obsessive 24-hour coverage of issues like ‘Prince in a hole’ or a ‘naagin’ out to take revenge..."

Tittytainment, it seems, has finally arrived to Indian news media in the form of non-stop trivia...

"Tittytainment" was a term coined by Zbigniew Brzezinski, the National Security advisor of US president Jimmy Carter, essentially to convey the thought that a mixture of "intoxicating entertainment and sufficient nourishment" that can "tranquilize the frustrated minds of the globe's population."

The term gained currency during/ after the famous first State of the World Forum held at San Francisco's Fairmont Hotel in 1995, where this idea was apparently proposed as the solution to the "20-80 society" of the 21st century. This excerpt from The Global Trap (1997) by H.P. Martin and H. Schuhmann describes the proceedings:

"...The pragmatists in the Fairmont Hotel reduce the future to a pair of numbers and a term: "20 to 80" and "tittytainment".

20 percent of the working age population will be enough in the coming century to keep the world economy going. "More workers will not be needed", said magnate Washington SyCip. A fifth of all jobseekers will be enough to produce all the goods and perform all the top-flight services that the world society can afford....

What about the others? Will 80 percent of those willing to work be without a job? "Certainly"... The question in the future will be "to have lunch or be lunch", to eat or be devoured.

....The term "tittytainment" makes the rounds... The frustrated population of the world could be kept happy with as mixture of numbing entertainment and adequate food.

The managers soberly discuss the possible doses and reflect how the wealthy fifth can employ the superfluous remnant.... The organizers of the three memorable days in the Fairmont imagined themselves underway to a new civilization. However the direction envisaged by the assembled experts from the executive floors and science leads directly back into the pre-modern age... The world model of the future follows the formula 20 to 80. The one-fifth society is brewing in which the excluded will be immobilized with "tittytainment"."

The future has arrived!!


readerswords said...

Thanks, Madhukar, for adding to the news item... I personally feel that there is a political message within the de- politicization of news. Add to that the use of the rhetoric, re- stating the same things again and again giving the viewer actually a very limited number of options.

Watching television news gives me a feeling similar to what one gets when in a store for cell phones- there are literally dozens of phones available with small variations, that keep the consumer occupied with so many trivial details that really do not matter.

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