Earning your keep
Not being one to see a great deal of TV, I’ve noticed a naivety in myself. It reminds me of those kids at school who grew up without a TV - when they did sit down in front of a friend’s TV they would point at the screen and cry, “did you see that?”, when clearly, everyone did. It’s not that they think their friend’s eyesight is bad, but that without a regular feed of TV culture, the content takes on a whole new significance. In fact, in many cases I believe the TV-ignorant viewer is seeing something the others are not.
It is with this naivety that I saw part of “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader” tonight. Not being well trained enough to persevere through the languishing melodrama that accompanied every question, I nonetheless saw enough to make the following observations, which when singled out, might make for a curious reflection.
- It is possible, in 2007, to earn more than 2 years typical salary by knowing what word beginning with ‘H’ describes the natural environment of a plant or animal.
- It is equally possible to sacrifice more than 3 years typical salary by not knowing which year Australia’s Federation began.
- The power of broadcast television allows a reward, equivalent to about 5 years of vocation after about 4 years of specialist training, to be given to someone who can demonstrate recall of primary school level knowledge.
- There exists an industry that relies on the ability of people with below average intelligence to demonstrate an exceptionally convincing show of tantalising drama.
- By distracting TV audiences with a well orchestrated carrot on a stick, it is possible to fit in enough advertising to make a profit above seven figure expenses.