Recognizing One’s Face in the Mirror


Viikko 38


Motion: THB that TV rewards bad behaviour in its personnel and builds cults of narcissism
Role: Minister (govt.)

What makes a good program host on TV?

This question must be perused in more detail in my speech. We all know some examples of bad ones. Conan O’Brien springs to mind as one who always makes stupid commentaries, comments on those commentaries in a millisecond (before we understand what is going on) and builds these commentaries up into intolerable trains of commentary that last for minutes on end. At the same time, he has guests waiting in the wings of NBC studios (or used to have) who are subjected to listen to all of this as well and whose thoughts we might like rather hearing.

Let’s take a Finnish example. Ms Bettina Sågbom, the Finnish-Swedish TV hostess. Her personality and looks are pleasant. That is not the problem. She is slim, photogenic, telegenic and attentive to people, like most people are bound to be if they wish for a career on TV. However, this is only the surface and not the substance.

One bad thing is that Sågbom lets her guests hijack the program on occasion. If they’re talkative and domineering, they can twitter on about their lives endlessly while the allocated time is 45 minutes or so. What’s worse, Sågbom doesn’t dare hijack her program back.

Another bad thing is that whatever time is left for hard talk tends to be filled with clichés that are familiar from the history of talkshows. They do not bring any catharsis to the spectator who wants something new and life-altering.

Yet a final gripe is the fact that the industry praises Sågbom as a profound, insightful female clairvoyant of sorts who can ”read her interviewees’ minds” — but the sad reality is that she misplaces information about her guests that she has hastily collected during the prep time for the show. In other words, the producers of the show try to create the illusion that she understands and is friends with her interviewees, when in actual fact she hardly knows them @ all and will blank her work memory out after the show with a snap of the fingers.

Consequently, people should require more of their TV personalities. We are being force-fed some certain ones, although they are not that good after all. It’s just that the pace of the TV world, the media and the internet-laced reality is so fast and quick that we hardly have the time to stop and think.

If Sågbom has a future in the industry, she would need to follow suit of her Finnish equivalent, Ms Maria Veitola, the only one around, around whom a similar ”cult of personality” has been built up. Where Sågbom tries to please and fawn, Veitola irritates and provokes and acts out. I know it can be hard for an older cultural personality to mimic the persona of a younger rival, but sometimes it is the only Right Thing to do.

Thank You.

Puheen kesto: 3 min 43 sek
Arvio: * * +. Tämä on lyhyt puhe, mutta siinä on asiaa. Puheen ongelma on siinä, että se alussa vieroo juontajien persoonallisuuskulttia mutta lopussa toivoo sitä lisää tietyssä määrin. Puheessa on sisäinen ristiriita.



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