Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Afghanistan Advances to 20th Century

Here's a synopsis of a NYT article:
Amid War, Passion for TV Chefs, Soaps and Idols

By BARRY BEARAK, Foreign Desk

Television is rapidly capturing an increasing audience in Afghanistan, where the population seeks the escapist fare of soap operas and reality shows. Owning a television was a crime under the Taliban, but a recent study finds that two-thirds of all people in Afghanistan's most urban provinces watch television daily.

Women most often watch their favorite shows at home, but men watch television together in restaurants. Tolo TV, the channel that dominates the market, has drawn a huge audience while testing the bounds of certain taboos, such as putting men and women on air together.

Is it that Tolo TV draws a huge audience while being provocative, or is it because they're doing so ?

The Afghanis should televise school curriculums for various ages and grades, so that girls who live in places where they might be at risk of being killed by Taliban terrorists if they attend school can learn at home.

9 Comments:

Blogger Oroborous said...

When I read this, I reacted positively - "great, the Afghanis are behaving as a modern peoples, and now they can enjoy the pleasures of an advanced civilization."

But I also think that people in No. America and Europe way overindulge in watching TV, so perhaps my first impression was a bad one. Maybe the Afghanis would be better off not wasting their time being hypnotized by the zombie-box.

Full disclosure: While I like watching television, and think that it can be very informational, and that even non-informational television can be of value, I don't watch it anymore because I like it TOO MUCH.

August 29, 2007 2:29 PM  
Blogger Duck said...

I've reduced my TV viewing time to near zero. I get all my news from the internet, cannot stand reality TV and rarely find new dramas or sitcoms that are worth watching. I pretty much stick to sports - and Pro Wrestling, of course.

I think that the spread of TV th Afghanistan is a good news/bad news situation. Good news is that it will speed the urbanization/modernization/de-tribalization of the culture. Bad news is that it will help spread the negative pathologies of modern culture. What's worse - honor killings or Jerry Springer?

August 31, 2007 7:13 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Honor killings

August 31, 2007 12:18 PM  
Blogger Duck said...

Harry
It was a rhetorical question, of course. When compared to the pathologies of Asian tribal culture, I'll take modern ennui, narcissism and relativism every time.

August 31, 2007 2:43 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Plenty would have taken it as a serious question and answered Springer.

August 31, 2007 3:04 PM  
Blogger Peter Burnet said...

What's worse - honor killings or Jerry Springer?

There are many, many enlightened voices in the Muslim world condemning and trying to get rid of honour killings forever, to the general applause of the rest of the world. What is anyone here trying to do about Jerry Springer?.

September 01, 2007 3:19 AM  
Blogger Oroborous said...

Well, Jerry Springer was considering running for the U.S. Senate in 2006, but public reaction to that idea was so unfavorable that he gave up on it.

So he's effectively been consigned to the "entertainment ghetto" - good enough to make us laugh, but not to lead us.

That's something.

September 01, 2007 4:24 AM  
Blogger Peter Burnet said...

That's something

I suppose, for a people that sets the bar as low as possible. For the City on the Hill, it's a bit of a lunchbag letdown.

September 02, 2007 5:03 PM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

Peter:

And the alternative would be ...?

September 02, 2007 9:40 PM  

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