Beating the Drum


By Beverly Blanchard
True North Perspective
Beverly Blanchard is an Ojibway First Nation from Northern Ontario.  She holds a degree in Economics. During the last twenty-two years, she has worked as a consultant to First Nation and Inuit organizations in a variety of disciplines including: homelessness, suicide prevention, violence prevention, childcare, HIV/AIDS, women’s issues, business planning, and economic development. She has also designed and delivered Aboriginal awareness and stress management workshops to Federal government employees. Currently, Ms Blanchard is a life strategy coach, author and energy healer in Ottawa.

Click. Click. Click. That is me with the remote control on any given night.  Seventy channels and there is nothing on. Click. Click. Click.  I am beginning to wonder why I have a subscription to cable television. Why am I paying seventy dollars a month? 

On any given night turn the television on and there it is – Reality TV. Yes, I can peer into the lives of other people. Don’t even have to leave my house. No just press that little button and I can be like a Peeping Tom.

I can watch shows about wealthy housewives. Listen to them gossip about each other while drinking a few martinis. I can find out the latest clothing trends and learn why I need Botox and implants. Now we are even going to have our own Canadian version. Housewives of Vancouver!

Want to learn how to have adult temper tantrums? Learn how to treat people like dirt? Well there are bride and party planning programs that showcase women in the poorest of behaviours. At points I wonder, why these women want to be portrayed as bitches.

Now if watching shows about women is boring I can turn to family shows. There are the shows about people who can’t handle their finances and in a half-hour segment are rescued by some financial expert. Having trouble relating to your significant other or your in-laws? Here is the latest therapist to dispense the latest wisdom – all in a half hour segment!

We can follow a family through the grocery store aisles as they purchase all their groceries with coupons. We then get to follow them home where we find an abundance of such as toilet paper, food supplies, toiletries. I wonder if they actually use everything. Or perhaps we will see them on the hoarding reality show in a couple of years.  

We can follow the journey of a family and their life on the beauty pageant circuit. I must say I get the impression that most of these mothers are living their lives vicariously through their daughters. However I have learned just how much make-up can transform a person. I have also learned that in order to get that cute child to perform on stage, feed them pageant crack aka sugar. Here comes a generation of diabetics!

We have parents who want their children to be grown-ups, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, we have shows about parents who won’t let little Johnnie grow up.

I can watch in horror about people who have never, and I mean never, cleaned their house. How can someone live with a mountain of garbage in every room? I can follow the daily life of a drug addict or alcoholic. Speaking of addictions, I saw the commercial for a new show that showcases those with strange addictions. There is the man who literally makes love to his car. There’s the woman who eats nail polish. Where do they find these people? 

Not only can I peer into the personal life of someone, I can also watch a series of competition shows. Best designer, cook, pastry chef, singer, survivalist, worst driver, the list is endless. Through these shows I can learn the best way to undermine others. I can learn to lie because it’s all about winning the game.

I believe it was Andy Warhol who said people will do anything for their fifteen minutes of fame. Unfortunately our current television programming has created a plethora of cheap programs. If this is the only way that people’s self-esteem can be boosted what does that say about our society?