Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Campaign For Real Cheese – The Truth

Okay, as you've probably guessed after a day of seeing it, the shift by this blog to becoming the official organ of The Campaign For Real Cheese was in fact a hyper elaborate April Fools' Day joke. HAHA!

It's a little more than that of course. Everything I wrote in the article is actually how I feel about processed cheese. It is an anathema that is barely edible whether wrapped or unwrapped. Using real cheese as opposed to processed cheese slices when topping a burger or making a grilled cheese sandwich is something that I've take to doing, and you can really taste the difference. Real cheese is pretty much better for everything.

However at its heart, The Campaign For Real Cheese is a bit of an allegory for what has become of broadcast TV with the seeming power of groups like the Parents Television Council and the fear that these groups instill in advertisers and networks. The PTC would like to see a homogenization of television so that everything is suitable for the least discerning tastes – children. Now I'm not knocking family programming. In fact I want to see more shows on the major networks that families can sit down and watch together. But let's be realistic and understand that these programs can't be the only choice that we get. A perpetual diet of Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader or Extreme Makeover Home Edition (two PTC favourites) is no more in the best interest of the viewer than a perpetual diet of Desperate Housewives or Criminal Minds. The big difference is that groups like the PTC want a perpetual diet of shows like Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader and Extreme Makeover Home Edition, while none of the broadcast networks is advocating that every show be Desperate Housewives or Criminal Minds. They realise that their viewing audience has different tastes, and the networks are in the business of appealing to those tastes by developing a blend of shows on any given night that appeals to desirable audiences.

Television, freed from the constraints that would be imposed by groups like the PTC that want all TV to be "child safe" has the potential to provide a variety of "flavours" in programming terms. We're seeing that in the realm of cable TV where stations exist to service niches in the market. The point being of course that few, if any, viewers restrict their choices to a single one of these channels. They select an item here and another there to watch not unlike choosing food at a buffet. Broadcast TV – to carry this restaurant analogy further than it probably deserves to be carried – has to try to provide a menu that satisfies all tastes. They broadcast; they have the ability and the desire/need to reach everyone, or at least to service a far wider spectrum of people than a cable network needs to in order to be successful.

Anyway, that's this year's attempt at an April Fools' joke out of the way. Though I kind of did like that orange page colour....

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