The moral alphabet

Do we really expect the National Radio and Television Council (ERS) to do away with conflicting interests? There seems to be no more reason to believe that an independent or quasi-independent body of that sort will be able to reverse the moral decline besetting Greece’s airwaves. No broadcasting watchdog, however heavy the fines it may impose and however strict the warnings it may issue, will ever prevent us from pandering to people’s despair (economic or otherwise) and pushing them into the arms of cynics. No watchdog will ever prevent us from treating pain as a commodity, from ridiculing fellow humans (the weak and anonymous, that is, for we flatter the famous). No watchdog can teach us what we have not been taught by our parents, our schools, our political parties (which are not mere vote-grabbers; they supposedly also serve an educational purpose), or the Church, which wants to believe that its sole aim is to provide spiritual guidance (although Church leaders appear to be preoccupied with more mundane concerns). The triumph of television is a defeat for education, a defeat for politics (we should not forget that TV’s triumph was made possible thanks to the parties’ green light for liberalization, 15 years ago), and indeed a defeat for society. It is proof that our society is no longer organized along the same lines as before. These days, for example, couch potatoes have the power to vote by phone and decide which of the TV-show candidates will get a job and which will return to their misery. Worse, this is advertised as a sign of social solidarity. The fact that our very participation legitimizes such a destructive instrument seems to matter little. God help us if we expect such watchdogs to teach us the moral alphabet.