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George Orwell - 1984

Mayday: television for couch potatoes

 Airplane Landscape Series Television TV Travel Fly Flight
Alex MacLean

I have an almost non-existent relashionship with television, which is sometimes interrupted by fleeting bouts of addiction. That's what happened with the tv-show Mayday, last October. I knew it was a bad idea to watch it. And even if it wasn't, it was ugly: Mayday is a sick show, and being addicted to it could only result in some sort of damage in my poor, undisciplined brain.

It was a bad idea from the start. I knew that I would eventually have to fly. And I do really like to fly, even if it's not on holidays, because the feeling during take-off is one the best feelings in the world, only second to the feeling you get when you ride a roller coaster, and also because the view of the cities below, be it in daylight or at night, will always glue my nose to the airplane window for as long as there's curiosity left in me, for as long as I'm living and lucid. What I don't like, however, is the boredom that comes afterwards. After the thrill of the take-off, flying is a bore. In the first place, I couldn't possibly carry on a conversation (or talk, for that matter), because I get deaf as soon as the plane leaves the ground. And few have been the books able to rescue me from this frightful sensation. Secondly, I can't stand the smell of most planes, the perfume of the flight attendants, the plastic food, that's a momentary distraction but soon sickens me to my stomach and makes me even hungrier at the same time. It all adds up to the boredom and impatience. The feeling of the plane starting to land, however, is great, in spite of the awful earache, because I can finally focus on my imminent freedom. The landing and the immobilisation of the airplane are high points, followed by a slight end-of-boredom-annoyance that only dissipates after the airport is far behind and I start doing whatever it was I was travelling for.

All of this because of my first flight after watching a few episodes of Mayday. Of course, it was all my fault, the tv set does have a shut off button and I was the one who actually bought it in the first place. Nevertheless, after noticing that my take-off experience, once joyous, was now accompanied by a lingering feeling of apprehension, I started to question myself about the true aim of a television show such as Mayday. It can't be of any use to the professionals - there are schools, reports, gatherings, books, peers, classes, seminars,... I wouldn't even be surprised if the programme had some scientific innacuracies that would make them unfit to be watched by professionals, since that's what happens in most scientific entertainment (an adorable concept, by the way). For the passengers? Why, how? Maybe it's only for absolutely unimpressionable people or those who have a terrible memory... It can't be for those who don't fly, can it? It also happens that, now-a-days, flying is not so much a choice, as it is an imposition, even if it's a result of our desire to move around in the world, which, together with work-related impositions, is hard to refuse.

 Airplane Landscape Series Television TV Travel Fly Flight
Alex MacLean

Alas, nothing good can ever come out of a television show that feeds on idle curiosity and that makes us painfully aware of things that could never bring us any good, but only make us frightful. I've learnt it the hard way, through my own fault. I shouldn't have let my guard down. The fact is that fall, aside from aging me, turns me into a couch potato. But, still, that's no excuse!

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