Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Too much reality for TV

With Big Brother in its ninth season and TV execs constantly
scrambling to think of newer, and more profitable ideas for reality TV
(and coming up with the opposite), it may be a surprise to you that
Galway City Council's meetings could soon be broadcast live online.
The proposal, made by Green Councillor Niall O'Brolcháin, would
involve a live webcast of council meetings and a searchable archive.
The proposal was partly aimed at publicly identifying the council's
regular troublemakers.

But it's not just Cllr O'Brolcháin who favours this idea. The
sessions of the Oireachtas are also to be televised.

The question is, do we really want to see it?

'Oireachtas TV' has been undergoing a trial period, for those
participating in the Digital Terrestrial Television trial in Dublin.
It's set to become a reality with the enactment of a new Broadcasting
Bill and RTE's changeover to digital service, which has a deadline of

However, even the most slavish of political sleeveens has their doubts
about this one. Oireachtas Report, the current output of Dáil and
Seanad Eireann, is less than riveting viewing. For a political junkie,
it can have its golden moments, but with these often reproduced on
news broadcasts, it's just not necessary to wait up until the wee
hours for the drama that is our legislature.

While propping your eyes open with sticks is one way of staying awake
before (and during) the show, poking your eyes with sticks can be
preferable to watching a bored politician reading a prepared speech
like a child reciting a poem in a language he doesn't understand.

Before the Lisbon Referendum, there was an undercurrent of what you
might call 'active apathy'. Voters made it clear that they elect
politicians to do things for them, and they should get on with it
without bothering the rest of us.

A lot of people would call that an irresponsible attitude to society.
And they're probably right. But it's very common.

Perhaps Oireachtas TV and Council Chat will provide us with a new
window into politics and legislation. Or perhaps, as with Big Brother
9, most people will switch over to the Big Big Movie for something more adult.

Either way, the move presents an opportunity for public
representatives. But, like Big Brother, Eviction Day is always
approaching – and without subjective editing, for once the truth will

Friday, July 11, 2008

Circle of life

So it's the 'summer' again, and Irish people in their thousands are trying to escape from the country the Romans wouldn't colonise, because it was too miserable.

Trying to escape is proving difficult enough, though, between raised airfares and radar malfunctions.

I don't know if anyone else has noticed the weird circularity of this summer.

People are trying to fly away to escape the bad weather;

Flying causes pollution;

Pollution causes global warming;

Global warming causes droughts, floods and a need for renewable fuels, as well as bad weather;

Droughts, floods and the loss of land to renewable fuel crops cause food and fuel price rises;

Fuel prices rises cause air travel prices to rise;

Ergo, people trying to escape the bad weather a) can't get away from it because they can't afford it, or, b) contribute to the bad weather by escaping.