Culture Criminals

We once had a different kind of television. It consisted of intelligent, challenging, inoffensive language and conversation, sometimes even subversive.

A program on a remote television channel brought back memories from the past. Channel 33 recently broadcast a rerun of "The Way It Was" with Yaron London. We once had a different kind of television. It consisted of intelligent, challenging, inoffensive language and conversation, sometimes even subversive. That's what Israelis used to watch - and loved. Today there isn't one show whose ratings can match those once reached by the weekly political interview program "Moked," "The Third Hour" and "Boomerang."

Indeed, that's the way it was and is no more - nothing remains. The sea is the same sea, the nation is the same nation and only television is different. Someone is responsible for that; someone must be made to answer. The managers of commercial TV - Keshet CEO Avi Nir, Reshet CEO Yohanan Zangan, and Modi Friedman, Channel 10's outgoing general manager - these are our culture criminals, cynically dumbing down an entire society for profit. And not a word is raised in protest. Everyone blames parents, but nobody is calling these garbage-peddlers to account. One day it will dawn on us that the only spiritual food fed to generations has been the reality show and the game show, with even news twisted into entertainment. Then, let us remember who did this to us.

When we see the results of the ignorance, pathetic wretchedness and hollowness that their television dictates, we won't be able to refrain from asking who caused it. Not merely leisure culture is at stake here, but culture itself.

Those commissars and their talent army are seen as winners; money runs in their veins. Granted, you can't argue with success. "A Star is Born," "Survivor" and "Big Brother" are proven successes. Programs suitable for 12-year-olds manage to fascinate an entire society, serving as the campfire for a tribe becoming mentally retarded.

But even this tribe contains a minority, with economic and other means - potential consumers of another kind of TV, whose rights have been usurped. Where are the human rights organizations that will protect this minority? Where are the consumer groups to ensure that we get some value for television taxes? Why have programs that were good for the very same nation only two decades ago disappeared from the broadcasting schedule? Who decided that (moronic) young people rule and the hell with all the rest?

Other countries also have such inferior television, but they also have another kind. A good, rather average Israeli, who read "A Tale of Love and Darkness" and "Until the End of the Land," who watched "Waltz With Bashir" and "The Band's Visit," who goes to the theater and museums - after all, there are hundreds of thousands of people like that - would occasionally want to watch television. They no longer have a reason to turn it on. Nothing. A complete television vacuum.

There are many people who cannot enjoy the abuse on "Big Brother" and the like, and the humiliation of fat people on "The Biggest Loser." These people also have rights. They don't like the increasing vulgarization and find the herdlike crassness offensive.

When history is written and someone examines what happened here and who is to blame - the writing will flicker on the screen: culture criminals.