Friday, 12 December 2008

Community - Is it such a good thing?

As I said, I've been lying in bed dying (okay, slight exaggeration, I had a virus) all week, and without even the energy to turn over and find the remote, I found myself watching anything that came on the channel that I was on. And to be honest, it wasn't a bad move, (it wasn't a move at all actually ;)) as I found some really interesting things about the idea of community from right where I was.

Now everyone knows daytime television isn't the greatest of entertainment, but there is some pretty decent things to watch. Things like GMTV, This Morning etc are both factual and entertaining, but what they exceed at is grasping very different and controversial topics that highlight certain communities around Britain. This actually brings their regular and wide community of viewers together, learning and sharing stories. Then, at times like these, they choose a deserving charity and raise money with the help of the viewers, e.g. this year This Morning built a Day Centre for the local pensioners for Christmas. Very heartwarming Television. 

This type of community is a bit different to the communities we have been discussing in class, as this isn't a community that know each other, talk to each other and share mugs of sugar. This community come together between 10:30 and 12:30 every morning to watch their much loved presenters and feel good or perhaps forget about the fact that they are not at 9 to 5 jobs just for that day or for everyday of the year. Because for them two hours, they are part of a community of viewers who enjoy good entertainment, gaining information about recent topics and enter lots and lots and lots and lots of money competitions. All in the comfort of their own home. Or in their bed, like me.

Just a random different view on community there!

Things about real life communities also pop up all the time on TV, and as you can imagine, it is found mainly in the news. But without dwelling on them, I found I noticed a few things on other factual programmes that looked deeper into crimes and police work. 
For example, I watched a documentary about the murder of Jamie Bulger and when the boy's murderers of the little boy were being taken to court, there were riots and people trying to break the doors down to get to them. The police commented, "There is a strong community within Liverpool which is great for support for Jamie's family, but not good in times like this." Seems like the word community brings so many positive connotations, sometimes dismissing that there are just as many negative. 
Similarly, with police programmes focusing on football hooligans, they are a big community supporting one team, but there will always be an apposing team's fan club to fight with. 

We can all think of 'bad' groups or gangs of people, but aren't these people just passionate about their communities that they are within? Or do they use these sort of instances as an excuse for their actions?


Rosie said...

I never thought about the 'television community' before. But your right, programmes like Loose Women and This Morning do provide a community I think. The question is can you have a 'true' community who aren't in actual contact with eachother. Even though people do phone, email, txt in to the shows, they are a minority. The majority of the viewers will just sit and watch or be busy ironing and watching the tv; so are they involved in the community? I'm not sure what the answer is!
Hopen you feel better!

Kat said...

Hannah - I had never thought of this as being a community but you have really got me thinking - The point Rosy made about whether it can be a 'true' community also made me think - Do you have to talk to be in a community - can a group of people just tuning onto the same channel at the same time - being in the same 'space' as it were (i cant think of another word for it)be a community? I kinda think it can be