The Rationing of Hope

As I sit and watch an exciting episode of Arrow, in which a spoilt brat billionaire grows a conscience while seeking revenge for his father, I realise that this “hit show” is the opposite of the original outings of the superhero, Green Arrow.

Sure, back in the day you’d have to stump up a few cents to buy the latest copy of the comic, but THAT is something that can be passed around… Even read, side by side.

This TV show is only available to those with the spare money to be able to buy access the channel which broadcasts it… Yet they still have the annoying ad breaks and the “sponsored by” bumpers. At least on DVD, there’s none of THAT nonsense.

The Golden Age Heroes all did one thing: gave people hope in dark economic times. They’d fight for Justice for All – especially if the bad guys were all connected to powerful city decision makers.  As times changed, they all fought The Nazis, then came a Silver Age, when more exotic villains became their nemises.

So we turn full circle, and looking back over my adult life, all I’ve ever known is services being “streamlined” or “rationalised” – that is, cut back and cut back until we get such obscenities as charity telethons proudly boasting of their achievements is funding services we all used to take for granted because we all paid just a couple of pence each week for it in taxes.

But we were told we had to accept tax cuts. Therefore there ends up less money for all these services which then need to get cut back… Round and round it goes.

We used to be united almost as a viewing nation, with only three or four TV channels… And we could raise our voices in one shout because of it. However, we have been sold the idea of choice: a masquerade, fragmenting and dividing the audience so there are always some excluded.

Believe it or not, there has been a reflective backlash in certain genres of “premium” TV… Even now, there’s a series about some sort of Hacker who redistributes wealth or something… A a show that would be the crown jewel of Saturday evening.

Except it’s behind a paywall on an internet site. To enjoy it you need to be able to afford the internet access AND to pay to get beyond the wall… AND have a large enough viewing apparatus so the whole family can enjoy it, too.

So… Tales of Hope now belong only to the Few who can afford to lay out the moolah: after all, if you can’t afford to buy these second hand dreams which could help unite us, then you don’t deserve such indulgences. You should work harder and get a better job… Yadda-yadda.

So we need to find a new way; trouble is, I’m buggered if I know what it is.


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