News à la Géorgie


While watching the news in Georgia, one might get a feeling that the season looks very silly – nothing much is taking place around currently, as usually happens at cucumber time anywhere in the world. To tell the truth, Georgia could be counted as a slow-news-season country in general. And if so, the fact the many TV stations that today operate on the territory are packed with the news stories does not necessarily mean that all of those stories are hot and newsworthy. As a matter of fact, I would cut the habitual one-hour newscast down to a maximum of fifteen minutes, and nothing would change as a result in the life of TV viewers in Georgia.

I concluded so after a trip to America for a couple of months and having continued watching my favorite news channels. 300 million Americans are satisfied with the 30-minute news shows that pop up on their TV screens, and yet the mere three million Georgians are fed 60-minute news broadcasts by every functioning TV station in the country.

Isn’t this weird? Why are we spending this much journalistic time and talent as well as immeasurable technical gear and resources on what we hardly need to entertain? Somebody might think Tbilisi is another hick town where hick kids and hick grownups have nothing else to do except gaze at their television screens.

What I am saying may sound like a verboten joke, but if you don’t take it as my chancy proposition, I would love to suggest that sitting on a teak bench somewhere in the park or a friend’s country house would do much better job for our health than spending hours listening to news we don’t need to listen to.

But we the viewers are oft taken as weak-minded tools willing to take in any trash the TV screens are offering. We need the news in the first place to improve the quality of our lives, not for turning our homes into a place where submissive humans are being zombified. This is intrinsically wrong and will take a lot of verbal combat and earnest recitals to win over the media which intends to glue us to our TV screens for hours and hours on end with the help of news stories that might easily be eschewed and given to oblivion if we tried a little harder. 

I don’t mean a hollow victory of public over media but a landmark decision of our society not to watch the stupid and artificially prolonged news stories – our time, nerve and energy eaters. Do you want to know what’s happening around? OK, go ahead and use your internet capability – every possible big and small piece of news is sitting right there waiting for you. This would be appreciated as learned behavior used as a backstop alternative to the newscasts, so boringly extended in time and format.

Whereas I am myself a media member, some of us might take my irreverent comments on mass media as purely hubristic enterprise on my part but that will only be a disgruntled exaggeration because a man of letters and words has to be skeptical if he wants to be effective in our extremely diversified and confusing world, within which plain survival has become a genuinely heroic deed. I beg to be forgiven for this heavy cluster of suggested ideas, which I am not imposing on anybody – it is not in my character to push myself as a pioneer to achieve higher rank and cozy nests in society. Neither am I a prickly pest who wants to lecture the public by preaching some trivial truths of life. In all honesty, I would apply for a piece of a sage advice to the august men of Georgia, if there are any, to point for all of us at the way out from this dire strait, but alas, it is not wisdom that saves the day here and outlines the news menu for us, but the media gurus to whom this society is soppily devoted.    


By Nugzar B. Ruhadze

29 August 2019 14:05