Let's look on this as a team-building exercise. It's you and me tackling this thing together.
Team building is good, one gathers. It's done all the time. Why, the other day I was reading about the fad for eating sushi that's piled on top of a naked young woman's body. This is alleged to be nyotaimori, a traditional Japanese dining experience. Well, hereabouts it's just called naked sushi and the practice upsets some people. Understandably.
A company that peddles the practice in Canada was quoted. It was explained that the naked sushi experience isn't so much for the individual diner. Companies like the dining experience as "corporate team-building exercises." There's an insight into corporate Canada that makes you think.
Anyway, it reminded me: There are things going on that should be mocked or stopped. Oh, there are always the fleeting trends and pseudo-trends, but there are things that are just downright objectionable on an ongoing basis. You must agree. It's team building when we draw up a list. There are things about television that must be stopped. Herewith, a timely list.
Rampant naked people
It's becoming an insult to the intelligence. There's Dating Naked, a VH1 show you can find online. "Two contestants each go on three buck-naked dates every episode." It's been renewed for a second season and, wait for it, some of the naked couples are getting hitched. Hence, Dating Naked: The Wedding, a special airing Thursday. There's Naked and Afraid, a Discovery show about two people, deposited naked as jay birds into the wilderness and required to survive for 21 days. Buying Naked on TLC is a real estate reality show featuring real estate agent Jackie Youngblood who "shows homes in clothing-optional communities to house-hunting nudists." And, word up here – I've heard a new show, Naked Sledding, is in the works. People wear only a ski mask and do the sledding thing.
It's too much. It's rampant now. There you are, watching CTV's Question Period as issues of parliamentary import are discussed. And then, it dawns on you. This might turn into one of those naked shows. You leave the house, breathe deeply and try to recover.
Business news that's just PR
This is getting very irritating. A lot of so-called business news delivered on TV amounts to a plug for some company or product. If Tim Hortons delivers new quarterly results, the report ends up being about the company's plan to concentrate on its new lunch menu. Thus, a new lunch menu plugged. Pretty much everything reported about Apple is public relations for an Apple product. A report about the "earnings call" from Hudson's Bay Company amounts to an announcement that that HBC will open its first Saks Fifth Avenue store in Canada in Spring 2015. Way to go Saks! Free publicity.
Worshipping at the altar of the NFL
A good deal of the U.S. TV coverage of the deeply disturbing Ray Rice/Janay Palmer domestic violence incident was curiously deferential to the NFL, its executives and internal operations. There was a sense that "balance" must be accomplished to cover the issue. I put it to you that much of the coverage is tainted by network TV's reliance on the NFL as a massive cash cow. The business relationship between TV and the NFL is a $20-billion (U.S.) deal. Live TV sports, especially NFL games, are crucial to network TV now. Call me crazy but, with some notable exceptions, the horrendous matter of violence against a woman was poorly covered. Because it's the NFL.
These days, way too many TV news outlets, here, there and everywhere, turn to Twitter to, as someone on CBC in Toronto said last Friday, "check the pulse" on a story. In that instance it was the Rob Ford/Doug Ford Toronto mayoral election story. Viewers were told excitedly that, "a while ago Rob Ford was the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter, and now it's Doug Ford!" Then somebody read aloud some entirely predictable tweets. One by a CBC Radio host was included.
This is getting ridiculous. It's lazy. Only a fraction of the public conversation on any topic takes place on Twitter. A fraction. Using Twitter to "check the pulse" is a case of touching the wrist and ignoring the rest of the patient's body. What's on Twitter is only a tiny piece of the story.
It's coming back. The other day, when Canada's involvement in military action against the Islamic State militia was being discussed on CBC's The National, Pastor Mansbridge repeated the term "mission creep" several times. It was never really explained. This always happens when TV news attempts to cover military matters – reporters and anchors fall into the jargon. Maybe it's to please the military officials they rely upon, but it's a disservice to viewers, and creepy.
There, now – that was team building, wasn't it?