Some food for thought, just facts, not judgments. A typical European Family: Joe and Anne, two post-teens. Joe is graduating, never worked. Lives with his parents, depends on them for everything. Has some friends and a boring life, home, college, bars. Anne got pregnant in high-school and dropped off. Lives with his parents and also with the baby. The father is absent but pays the food pension. Anne just takes care of the baby and can’t find a job. Both post-teens act like teens the whole time. Spend their lives on the internet, the cell phones, the mall, the movies, the night. The entertainment industry is everything for them. They follow the trends, they never thought about using their own minds to make anything productive. Their wildest dream is to go on vacation to Fiji, have a big house with a pool or owning a Ferrari.
Then there’s the parents almost in their sixties. Mark worked many years in the industry but had an accident and now is retired and receives a generous pension. Linda was a teacher and also receives a pension for early retirement after teaching primary school for thirty-two years. They both maintain a small house in the suburbs and provide food and caring for them and their kids. The routines are basic: shopping, taking care of the food and cleaning. The rest of the time is occupied at home, totally dependent on the entertainment to not get bored to death – we mean television. They don’t know how to handle computers. They don’t have many friends or money to go on vacation. But they have +100 cable channels. So, between soap operas, reality shows and the biased news they live their lives.
Finally the grandparents. Marcia and John are in their eighties. Also retired for almost twenty years now. They can’t live alone anymore and it would be too expensive to have them in a nursing home. Their pension is enough to pay for their expenses and so everyone keeps cool having them at home. We just have to feed them and take them regularly to the doctors. They don’t pay the doctors or medicine, everything is free due to a good social healthcare system. Their lives are devoted also to chatting with the family and watching TV. Marcia used to knit but her eyes don’t allow anymore.
Basically we have a typical European family. Six people, producing nothing, living at the state expenses and being totally manipulated and kept on the verge of the sanity by the entertainment industry. Or totally manipulated, perhaps. I really don’t know. I don’t even know the point in this essay. Perhaps I don’t want to make any point in particular. I just thought it would be very curious to present this perspective and let people try to think for themselves what is happening to this family and many others that may be similar. And why does this happen. And what would be the consequences if some of these parameters changed…
One thought on “Six puppets”
Sarah Kane could have written a marvellous play about this topic, something like: “(the) Crave (for television)”. But she chose suicide instead. And the image you describe is indeed so terrible, it doesn’t bear thinking about (unless in terms of theatre or music, performance or video). In other words, in terms of art. A mixture of smarmy sweetness, cold horror, teary compassion and endless boredom. The lot compiled in a cynical but slightly ironic way. It could happen to any of us ….