Ever More Intense

I found myself finishing “A Clash of Kings” recently. After closing the book, I reflected on the differences between the book and the TV series. This is a series that I stopped watching after the opening couple of episodes of the fourth season, when I decided to put something a lot more pleasant into my mind. This is the first time I’ve done this with a TV show, and I cast my mind back of the shows I’ve watched even back to some old Irwin Allen; Land of the Giants, anyone? Yes, it was a rerun, I’m not old enough for the first airing!

What came to mind is how much darker and blood soaked; more graphic and sexual the shows are becoming. Unless my mind is playing tricks, it seems to be getting worse much more quickly these days too. The worst was a conversation had at work recently where a new TV show was discussed that has graphic violence and sexual scenes, this was held to be “really good”. This made me think of the Tao Te Ching, more specifically:

The five colors make one blind in the eyes
The five sounds make one deaf in the ears
The five flavors make one tasteless in the mouth
Racing and hunting make one wild in the heart
Goods that are difficult to acquire make one cause damage
Therefore the sages care for the stomach and not the eyes
That is why they discard the other and take this
(www.Taoism.net and Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained, published by SkyLight Paths in 2006.)

This is where we seem to be heading. Ever more extremes are needed as we become desensitised, I find myself wondering where it will end and when someone will draw the line. As I write I remember a British social activist, the late Mrs Mary Whitehouse. She died in 2001 aged 91 years and had long campaigned against sex and violence on television, which drew much mockery from the TV industry she criticised. When all is said and done, I can’t stop myself from wondering if she was a Cassandra; did she see where we were heading and try to warn us?

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