As a child of the 1980s I have tried (unsuccessfully) to explain to my children that not so long ago if you wanted to change the TV channel you had to physically get off the sofa, walk over to the telly box and push a button (or carefully turn a dial to a precise position like a dodgy toaster). That we had the grand choice of 4 different channels, children’s TV was limited to specific times of day and if you missed something that was it – no catch up, no rewind and certainly no ability to instantly access every episode ever of your latest favourite show.
The invention of the remote control, hoofer doofer, TV wand or whatever name the might power stick has been given in your household was a revelation. The possessor of this mighty tool would reign supreme on the viewing habits of others. This week I have also realised, like the one ring of Sauron, it has the power to corrupt.
The growth of all of these viewing options has made it far too easy to escape the news and more importantly flick the channel over when something discomforting comes into view. I caught myself in a mindless act of doing just that this week. As the story of the Croydon Council housing scandal was playing out in front of me on a large screen in (not so glorious that day) high definition. I was shocked, horrified and disturbed to the point that I found myself absent mindedly reaching for the remote to turn to something more uplifting. Maybe this was a sign that my resilience was low. The sight of a mother and her two young children firstly having to live in outrageous conditions with black mould on the walls and condensation saturating the floors and then being shunted into a budget hotel with one room, no cooking facilities and no fridge left me numb.
What concerned me more was that my first reaction was to try and find something more uplifting, lighthearted or spirit raising to watch instead. Thankfully, I caught myself in the act, put down the remote and watched the report till the end. But then I flicked off the TV and sat in quiet contemplation what I had seen had made me angry. It also left me frustrated. What could I actually do to help address this type of situation that I know is clearly not a one off.
This inequality is all around us. I need to learn more to be able to do more. Would welcome any reflections from any readers on the blog of what I can do in relation to any of this. My reflection this week is that inequality is all around us and it is easy, especially as our resilience dips to want to pull down the blinkers and gently mutter to ourselves as we stride past “nothing to see here”. I don’t want to become immune to harrowing news or be willing to blank it out. I’ve got a couple of weeks off over Easter – it’s time for a recharge… #ICantBeTired