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October 2nd, 2002

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02:25 pm - Not happy
The ITC have replied to me with regard to my complaint at the end of last week, disagreeing with my opinions. Furthermore, they stated that they had not received any other complaints on the same matter. Worse, last night I had an unpleasant dream about the incident in question, only writ rather more large in the exaggerated fashion that dreams tend to do, as viewed at the house of a member of my Friends list.

In conclusion, then I am wrong (as far as an opinion can be wrong - but the ITC are the definitive arbiters of taste in this regard) and I am the only person who is wrong. This makes me rather less likely to reveal what it is I am wrong about in this instance in the future. Those who know, or can guess, kindly keep it to yourselves.

I do not expect my letter directly to the channel in question to find any differently, because it would seem very unlikely that they would declare that they were wrong in their own editorial judgement when the ITC don't believe they are. I may investigate to see whether the National Viewers and Listeners' Association (aka Mary Whitehouse's old lot) still exists and would take it up with them, or whether there is some other body prepared to hear appeals.

On the other hand, the fact that I am the only person who feels this way - at least, to the extent of making a complaint on the matter - suggests that it probably would be a waste of public time, money and emotion to take this very much further to higher public bodies. (Some way further is justified, very much further probably isn't.) There have been some very successful one-person campaigns in the past, but when the central issue is evidently an subjective one of taste rather than an objective one of fact, it's hard to argue that such a campaign would be in the public interest or that it would be at all likely to have a positive net effect.

Not happy. Today should get better later, if only by default.
Current Mood: cross

(8 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:October 2nd, 2002 08:09 am (UTC)

Slightly better

Went back to bed for an hour. Today has got slightly better.

Kindly imagine that there is an extra comma after the "then" which is the third word in paragraph two. It was clearly intended and what I have written looks horrible without one.
[User Picture]
Date:October 2nd, 2002 09:00 am (UTC)

Slightly better still


(which can't be read on its own, needs to be read in conjunction with)


Not even "not very good" yet, but definitely two notches better than it was.
[User Picture]
Date:October 2nd, 2002 12:51 pm (UTC)

Worse again

Some good hours, some bad hours.

Good hours: discovered online nonograms.

Bad hours: Plate-temperature-related dinner spillage accident, general feeling of overwhelmedness with commitments and inability to solve any but the easiest (diff <= ~2.3) nonograms.

Bad hours are winning at the moment and even uplifting Bemani music cannot cheer me up. May try playing mindless MAME games, or reading something I haven't read for years, or going back to bed.
[User Picture]
Date:October 2nd, 2002 09:34 am (UTC)

Don't be so down...

There nothing wrong with being in a minority of one. At least, not in my seldom-humble opinion. Any democratic situation (like TV content) will inevitably end up causing some problems like this.

Where issues of bad taste are concerned I would expect the majority view to be pretty permissive. After all, a lot of people (eg. me) are anti-censorship on principle and there's a fine line between programme design and censorship anyway. Ideally programme timings should put the Bad Stuff on at a later hour, but that can never happen for as long as the news is shown at all hours. Until about the age of 20 or so I never watched or read any news if I could help it because it was so relentlessly downbeat.

By complaining you did the right thing whether or not any change happens as a result. The ITC are in no sense arbiters of taste, their remit is to set standards for programme content. This gives them power, but nothing more. Because they do not make programmes themselves, they cannot create better content or schedule it better. All they can do is to punish what they consider to be violation of their codes. The only way they can retain their power is to use it as little as possible because businesses do not welcome anything which limits their activities.

All this incident has exposed, in my view, is your remarkable lack of cynicism. This is clearly to your credit - I wish I could be more like that.
[User Picture]
Date:October 2nd, 2002 09:49 am (UTC)

Re: Don't be so down...


I agree with all the above points.

I generally watch news headlines only or listen to news on the radio, because I can't help flinching at quite a lot of the film they show, and I have nightmares easily. I also get very aggrieved at what I perceive to be irrational or biased content, which isn't quite as prevalent on Radio 4, in my opinion.

One of the issues about television as opposed to books, radio or newspapers is that it is easy to flick to a channel and see an image which will imprint itself on your mind and disturb you, even in a frame or two. It is immediate rather than considered. Radio takes some getting into, so it is possible to avoid disturbing content, and books and newspapers have titles, contents and headings which mean that the reader knows if content is likely to be disturbing before engaging with it.

Far more care should, therefore, be taken with screenings on the television. It isn't. That's a problem. As TV users we have a responsibility to flag up any content which we find objectionable or disturbing. That isn't censorship, it's pretty much the only way to represent ourselves to program makers and TV providers.

One problem is that, by its very nature, TV inspires flopping on the couch and changing channels - giving passive rather than active feedback. Congratulations on bucking this trend.


PS Another suggestion - does the program you objected to have a sponsor? If so, a direct route may be to write to the sponsor expressing your concern about their sponsorship of this particular show and what it suggests about their product or service.
[User Picture]
Date:October 4th, 2002 08:18 pm (UTC)

Re: Don't be so down...

I've been trying to get things out of my mind for the last couple of days, hence the non-response.

Many thanks to all of you for the feedback and kind thoughts. It is very much appreciated. It's difficult to come to a balance between "sticking up for your feelings of what is unacceptable" and "getting on with your life, trying not to let one single thing have too much of an impact". I've made a formal protest by the right channels and I've made some silent protests at this end (for instance, effectively detuning the offending channel off my TV app, which does make me feel safer, probably rather more than it should).

It's probably not a useful way to spend time, energy and emotion trying to lead a boycott or a very public protest when I am evidently in such a small minority. The fact that nobody else thinks it's worth protesting over is two-edged. I understand that the show is not proving very popular and so the offensive idea within evidently just isn't what people want to watch. Maybe it's a turn-off for people even if it isn't a turn-off-and-complain-about-it. If market forces prove a more effective deterrent than complaints then it all leads to the same result.

Eal, your idea in the PS is an excellent one and I shall investigate this further - specifically, who it would be most effective to write to. In the past, I've known people to buy one share in a company and then write to the directors as a concerned shareholder, but I'm not sure whether that would be the most effective tactic in this situation.
[User Picture]
Date:October 2nd, 2002 10:15 am (UTC)

Re: Don't be so down...

There nothing wrong with being in a minority of one.

Actuall, by some vaguely remembered statistics, the size of the minority is probably well into three figures. You can then put some positive spin on the fact that of all the people who were offended, you were the one who made the effort to do something about it.
[User Picture]
Date:October 2nd, 2002 09:37 am (UTC)

Silly ITC


Most people don't complain about stuff because they are apathetic. It is ridiculous to tell you that your complaint is invalid because no-one else has said anything. That could be because viewing figures are low, because others turned off rather than making a fuss or because people haven't got round to it.

Oh, and from what you've been saying I would say the grounds are not 'taste' but harm in the form of distress.

On what grounds did they disagree with your opinion? Was it simply that they didn't have a box to tick in the 'reasons for complaint' column?

If you want support in your complaint/an opinion and the program in question will be repeated or can be obtained, let me know. This is not pushing to find out stuff you don't want to tell me, it's an honest offer.

In the meantime, don't fret too much about it. Most public bodies are very silly. That's why they need complaint procedures in the first place.


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