Monday 16 December 2013

Slow, grinding torture at the hospital

No, nothing to do with a particularly painful treatment. It's merely allergy desensitisation.
However, this means that I need to stay in the waiting room for a whole hour after the injection, in case I have a bad reaction.

And they play BBC1, too loud to be completely screened out. Plus all the seats are facing the giant screen, it's always in your arc of vision.

And this is my typical ordeal:

-A show called Heir Hunters. This is apparently about people whose job is to track distant relatives of people who just died without direct heirs, to avoid the horror of horrors: having the estate value go to the Treasury instead of increasing the bank account of people that the deceased had not seen, probably, ever. The sight of people suddenly coming to estimate the value (mmm it seems smaller than the neighbours' houses, shame) of the remains of someone they never bothered to interact with is sickening. That this be made into a regular program  too. Next is...

-Homes under the hammer. That's about people buying houses at auction -so usually a distressed sale, to quickly paint over the ungainly parts and then the big suspense: will they make a profit? Well, it is quite in tune with the property obsession of much of the country. It's amazing how many see houses not as places to live in but as tools to make money.

-I may be lucky with the time of this week's appointment and miss the following, but the previous times, there was something called Saints and Scroungers (I think. Don't want to give them any traffic by checking). So, that seemed to be about the use of CCTV to catch "horrible people", such as people who claimed some benefits longer than they were entitled, or who smuggled jewellery into the country. The very clear result is to paint whole subsets of the population (I suspect, for many people, that it would be every subset that can fall in the "the others" category) as suspect, as thieves, as parasites.
Somehow, it seems that CCTV has yet to be used to solve any of the much more expensive cases of corporate fraud. And yet, it would be the easiest thing in the world: in the same way that they track someone as having worked some hours in the pub while claiming he was not working, they would have very clear videos of companies massively operating despite pretending that all of their activity is in Jersey or the Caiman Islands.

-Similarly, thanks to this week's timing I should not be subject to things like Bargain Hunting (about buying goods on antiques markets and hoping to sell them at auction for a profit), or Cash in the Attic (about looking for things in your house to sell at auction in order to reach a target sum to raise, and a few others, and a few others. I think there are a couple of themes emerging there. They don't feel particularly endearing.

I've long been meaning to write a kind of sociological observation of the UK based on the TV programs, don't know if I'll ever do so. In the meantime, I wish they changed the channel. Or turned the damn thing off.


  1. This is a great depiction of what I - regrettably - happened to be watching in my idleness times...
    They make these look like thrillers and documentaries at the same time, that is the problem - and potentially why people might enjoy them.

    I love your blog by the way!

  2. Thanks for the compliment.
    I have a feeling I should know who you are, but I can't guess.

    Thing is, they could make thrillers/documentaries-like programs with very different subjects. Maybe a theatre troupe trying to stage their new production in a festival with not funding. Or someone trying to find the right change in agricultural techniques to solve crop failures in a developping country.
    But about trying to make a profit by buying and reselling? Maybe they are trying to prove the efficient market hypothesis.

    As for demonizing benefits recipients, well... I guess I'd better not get (re)started.