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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33, No. 1 18 February 1970

625, TV with David Smith

page 17

625, TV with David Smith

TV with David Smith

If Marshall MacLuhan regards television as a cool medium surely there would be many in New Zealand who would regard the local offering as frigid. Frigid in the sense of being both unresponsive and unattractive, This is hardly surprising when one considers the forced marriage of a domineering British mother to a moronic American father which brought forth a bouncing Kiwi bastard attracting attention about 20% of the time.

At the risk of laboring, the image, there seems little doubt that the child, repulsive though it may have been, was born into an environment which was in parts more than moderately hostile. Nobody of any standing praised it. Quite the reverse, It was seen as a threat by its elders who unfortunately were in a position to attack simply by ignoring its existence.

Yet today the NZBC is no more repulsive than it was and, unlike its elders, is showing some signs of growing up. Maybe it deserves constructive criticism and at the very least it deserves attention. That is what this column in future issues hopes to achieve.

Rather than merely gauge an initial reaction to a particular TV feature in isolation, it is hoped to throw the whole changing panorama into relief of a kind. At the most basic level the NZBC's sense of balance when time-slotting the imported feature in relation to the home grown product can be a study in itself. (Example—Tom Jones following the kid's programmes while Lou and Simon clog up the peak hour). More important however is the comparison of techniques with an eye to the future ( television being that sort of medium—ephemeral but ever present).

New Zealand is a fairly late starter in the television stakes. She has much leeway to make up but anyone who watched the stumblings of the BBC in the early fifties will know how quickly ground can be gained—particularly with the injection of competition. Nor can be it be overemphasised that a lethargic mass of 'viewers' who only view but never see will be the biggest stumbling block to progress. After all we have at the present time the government and press we deserve. In many ways television could prove to be the most productive outlet tor innovation. I hope that the end of the year will provide an opportunity to record that progress has been made.