The Link between Sports, TV and Human Behaviour
I apologise for the frequency of my last 2 articles but would like to get this one on paper so to speak before i lose my train of thought. Its the summertime! (no shit Matt!) and that can only mean one thing, sports!
Now as i have done in all my previous articles i am looking at this from a purely English perspective, so i am unsure if this is the case for our readers across the BP pond, namely USA and Canada, but English life (in the mainstream) revolves around the success of our teams to triumph in everything we do. For some bizarre reason English sports fans seem to think we are better than everyone at everything, although i can openly say we are not the best at any sport i can think of!
English sportsmen and women are under immense pressure to win everything. I am sitting here at my desk watching The Wimbledon Tennis championships, funnily enough the only time of year English people give a fuck about the sport. it’s w wonderful sight to behold however, the crowd is packed full with the cross of St.George (the english flag) and they are fully behind Tim Henman (our one good Tennis player) in good old English jubilation. However it doesn’t take long for this united uphoria to turn into anxiety. Henman is quite confortable in this match playing a Morrocan guy whose name i cannot remember but everytime Henman drops a point or fluffs his 1st serve the crowd are all over him like a pack of hungry dogs.
This puts untold pressure on Henman to do better next point around even though he is being proverbally baited by the crowd. This makes it fustrating for me to watch the game as i just get fed up of hearing some drunk yobbo in the crowd shouting “Goooooooo’on Tim!”, makes the English look like a bunch of animals and really pisses me off!
The media here are no better however. Before the championship starts the newspapers will be giving away free banners and flags to support Tim Henman blah blah, England hasn’t won Wimbledon for 60 years, he is our only hope blah blah. All the focus is on this one person to deliever the ambition of a nation! Not bad for a guy who actually only came into the spot light when he whacked a ball girl in the face with a tennis ball in fustration!
The point i am trying to make is that English people are the envy of the world when we are doing well, as soon it looks bleak we turn into a nation of absolute idiots. At the same time Wimbledon is taking place it is also the European Football (Soccer) Championships taking place in Portugal and England yet again are the focal point of the tournament, not because our team is the best, but because our fans have a reputation of causing trouble wherever they go! The opening game we played France, a great game that England were winning until the last minute when France scored 2 sucker punch goals to defeat us.
The nation was in shock! Fortunately the fans in Portugal behaved, probably too drunk to cause any “Aggro” as we call it here, but back at home it was a different story. Fans left the bars and rioted! RIOTED! over a game of Football, what the fuck is that all about?
Anyway, soon after this we forgot about the France defeat and won our 2 other 1st round matches against Switzerland and Croatia, mainly thanks to our young sensation Wayne Rooney, an 18 year old boy quickly turned around our campaign scoring 4 goals in 2 games. Now the pressure was off the team and all on a teenage boy, the nation should be ashamed.
In the England then lost to Portugal in contaversial circumstances and again the nation weeps. To cut along story short, these comments are to prove a small point. Long have we read and heard about the argument that Video games and violent TV is a direct causes of violent behaviour in everyday life. This i believe is the biggest unfounded statement i’ve ever heard in my life. However, i do believe that at least in the case of the English (i cannot vouch for America/Canada) that sport is a much bigger trigger for violence and crime! So England…. you better win something soon or we’ll be overrun by crime ok!
My next point is in regards to something we all either love or hate, REALITY TV!
You can’t escape, it has come from nowhere at all to being on every TV station, 24 hours a day in some cases, but what is it about reality TV we like so much? I’ll come back to that question shortly however i wanted to tell you about a recent thought i had whilst watching a movie i had not seen for a very long time quite recently, The Running Man, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Now when this movie was released in 1987 no one had any clue what Reality TV was. The film for those who haven’t seen it is about a wrongly inprisioned man who is given the chance to win back his freedom by appearing on TV show “The Running Man” where he must survive empty handed against 4 deadly Stalkers. In the story of the film this is the highest rating TV show in history and life now revolves around the show. The ULTIMATE reality TV show. I’ve always wanted this to become a real show, shows how my head works i guess, but it offers interesting parallels to modern life and the sudden explosion of Reality TV, consider the following :-
1. We have witnessed, especially in the States, the rise of unorthodox punishments to treat convictted fellons. Participation in such an event as the Running Man or another form of Reality TV could be considered the same.
2. 9/11 has increased the justifcation of the state to use “emergency power” to tighten security. Whether or not this breach of civil rights is justifiable is unknown to us, as the crucial infor itself is witheld, in the “public interest.” Therefor, the state has taken on more powers, with fewer checks. Media corporations are commercial entities, and the success of News Corporations in recent years raises the prospect of a monopoly channel or channels controlled by a single interest group. So if the media and government were to combine, as has fleetingly occurred, the effect would be a blanket monopoly of coverage, in which the government can justify its every move through propaganda, censorship, and the many means in which the public has shown to be susceptible. The example of this is set by the Running Man as the government has collasped and the country now controlled by major corporations, Bill Gates for president anyone?
Pull these strands together, and add the prospect of continued or worse “threats from outside” as they have been characterised (real or imagined), and we have a situation in which the reality of The Running Man is one hell of a lot more realistic than in 1987, when it was a mere fantasy. To control what people see and hear is to cotnrol what they think, and to make people feel threatened from outside is enough cause for them to accept sacrafice, such as those of civil liberties, to deal with this. This is called a problem-reaction-solution effect.
Other examples of how screwed up the media are heading is the Truman Show, a wonderful perhaps tongue in cheek movie about a man who was born into a reality TV show, his home Town just one big TV studio, his wife and friends are actors, his life controlled by a creative team of producers. This was released shortly the current boom of Reality TV but just how far away are we from such a show happening?
I hope i haven’t rambled on for too long but i really think my 2 points, especially reality TV are worth discussion, i’d like to know your thoughts on how these 2 things effect human behaviour, why we are all so consumed by success and how nowdays fiction just isn’t enough and more and more we want the “real thing” on TV.