Last night I dreamed of a library. I wandered around unable to locate what I was looking for although, as is frequently the case with dreams it was not at all clear what, exactly I was in search of. Looking back on my dreaming I can not, in point of fact recollect having encountered a single work of literature.
Loud music filled the institution making concentration all but impossible. I approached the librarian asking that the volume be turned down or, preferably silenced completely. She informed me that the people liked it. That this was, in fact the modern way.
Are we living in a culture so devoid of meaning that my dream is fast becoming the reality? I avoid reality TV like the plague however, while in doctors surgeries and other similar venues one can not but help coming across shows such as Jeremy Kyle in which inadequate individuals launder their dirty clothes in public. The audience (both that present in the studio and those viewing remotely) are treated to the unedifying spectacle of supposedly rational human beings frequently screaming abuse at one another.
“You slept with my sister”
A woman yells at her boyfriend – etc, etc.
Doubtless many of those who appear on programmes such as Jeremy Kyle do require help. However the assistance needed is that furnished by relationship counsellors, social workers or other professionals. Such shows are modern manifestations of a dessicated culture. One in which entertainment is substituted for serious thought. In the past the Romans watched gladiators fight to the death or “enjoyed” the spectacle of Christians being thrown to the lions. Today the audience cheers, boos and laughs as those in search of their fleeting moment of fame make fools of themselves on television. T S Eliot’s Wasteland seems so very appropriate for our times (http://www.bartleby.com/201/1.html).