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December 09, 2003

Bowling for Nokia 

Watched "Bowling for Columbine" for the first time on UK terrestrial TV this weekend (yes, about time I know).

In Michael Moore's powerful investigation of why the US is gripped by a misplaced fear of gun violence, a comment by Marilyn Mansun seemed to make a lot of sense. He argued that the potent mix of "fear and consumerism" on US TV (partic the news networks) was warping people's minds. And in many ways he is right. There is a powerful cocktail (almost "Molotovian") in the contrast between the instant gratification of live news broadcasts (often of the latest violent shooting hunted down by the networks satellite trucks and helicopters) and the "out-of-reach" gratification of the TV ads, showing the latest Lexus or HUV for example. Going back to my blog below on social anguish, one can see how this can cumulatively add up to a detrimental impact on society.

But, what was particularly irksome about Sunday's broadcast was that in the second ad break after Mansun's comments, up pops a new ten second ad from Nokia. It was an ad for its new N-gage mobile handheld game - I didnt catch the name of it but the voiceover went something like this, "From next week, you become the hunter and its time to hunt them down. The new first person shoot-em-up for N-gage" accompanied by screen animation of the game character firing an automatic rifle at his human targets...

Maybe this is the only recorded case of reality-entertainment-reality TV or something like that... even so, how damn inappropriate and a clear case of "cleverness over relevance"

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