Given the choice between a Newsnight special report and ‘Katie Price: The Next Chapter’, all too often I’ll hit the button marked ‘brain to manual’. I tell myself that it’s not doing me any damage – I’m watching ironically, after all. But I’m not sure that’s true.
Scripture for example, tells me to think about whatever is pure and lovely and right. Now, no-one’s suggesting we embark upon a mental diet of the shipping forecast, Songs of Praise and The God Channel. (Maybe that’s already you – in which case, step away from the TV and hand yourself in). But how often do I watch something that’s actually positive? Sadly, my efforts are usually focused more on damage limitation.
This is supported by the author Lisa Bloom, in a new book which calls upon women to ‘reclaim their brains’. She says this;
‘Almost no young women can tell you about the issues that are being put before their local city council, but they can tell you all about Lindsay Lohan’s emotional problems. They can name at least one Kardashian, but they can’t name any of the politicians that represent them’.
Worse than just fuelling ignorance, what we watch can change us for the worse. The vanity, arrogance and entitlement that first makes me gasp, soon become much less offensive. With enough exposure, it may even become the norm. The danger is real – with my brain switched to neutral, an endless diet of celebrity may transform me into the images I originally mocked. And not in a good way.