A Little Respect
A few days ago I sat down to watch Zeba Bakhtiar being interviewed on a morning show. The show and the host will remain unnamed as I don’t want a storm of misplaced righteous indignation to land at my doorstep… but I really hope that most readers of this blog are able to guess (psst…look up the interview. It’s online!) Anyway, the reason I watched this interview was that I am a fan of Ms. Bakhtiar’s intelligence and achievements. This is a person who is an actor, a writer, a director, a producer, an activist and a philanthropist. She is well-read and well-spoken and, yes, she is also very pretty!
I watched the interview hoping to gain some insight into the motivations and challenges of an accomplished person, but instead, I saw a cringe-inducing conversation where the host’s entire existence, it seemed, depended on Ms. Bakhtiar getting married. He pleaded and he cajoled as he coyly looked at her promising to find her the man while she tried to steer the conversation (albeit unsuccessfully) away from the topic. I am sure Ms. Bakhtiar had a lot to say on topics other than the alleged bliss only matrimony could bring. She tried to talk about her battle with diabetes, which would have helped a few viewers in their own lives. She also wanted to talk about the controversial incidents surrounding the release of her movie– which is information her fan would have appreciated. But we were treated to a scintillating interview showcasing a grown man acting as if he had encountered his first crush!
It might have been an annoyance to Ms. B but I, personally, took it an egregious affront! Is this what the media thinks will appeal to us? Are we considered so imbecilic that we cannot be offered entertainment that does not talk down to us? Please stop treating the morning show demographic with distractingly empty programming, as if the media bosses consider us to be vacant beings who can be distracted by shiny objects. We do not want to watch endless streams of mock-marriages..and we all know how well that turns out! I understand that we live in the soundbite era. Sensationalism sells, yes, I know! But I also need a little respect for myself from the media.
These shows target a certain audience, and I am sure, in the infinite wisdom of the media bosses they have ascertained that this audience does not deserve worthwhile programming. They cannot be further from the truth! We need shows where we can come away with something– some new information, some enlightenment, maybe an insight or two! An audience deserves programming that challenges their intellect, that teaches as well as entertains. People do need their celebrity fix, that much is true. I would have loved to hear about a celebrity’s beauty regimen..but I would also enjoy hearing about their political views or what charity they support or what personal projects they are working on. Maybe if people can hear what motivates their favorite TV stars or what physical challenges their beloved singer is battling, they, too, can strive to do more, to be better!
Until someone takes a stand for morning show audiences and starts treating us like intelligent, relevant members of society, we are doomed to stare at the TV and watch grown men and women embarrass themselves (and get themselves into a world of trouble) while insulting their viewers.