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The Channel We Deserve

ETV – the channel we deserve

by Brandon Edmonds / 21.05.2009

Apparently during WW2, there was a roaring trade in life-size cardboard cut-outs (fake tanks, fake soldiers, fake stockpiles) used to dupe Nazi spy planes into reporting back to Hitler HQ that the Allies had much greater capacity to wage war than what actually existed on the ground. It was an elaborate form of subterfuge, of strategic suggestion, and, who knows, along with unsurpassed courage and commitment, it just may have helped beat the Nazis. No such noble claims of historical utility can be made of the ETV website – though it remains a supreme example of hoodwinking sleight-of-hand; worthy even of David Copperfield (the Claudia-Shiffer-shtupping-uber-illusionist who once made the Grand Canyon disappear, but still got dumped by that teutonic minx!). The website is clean, glossy and efficient. It suggests a TV channel in control of its message. A channel attuned to the interface protocols of online communication: be immediate, be clear, be informative and do what your user wants done. You get a TV Guide, upcoming movie reviews, links to current shows and a poll wondering who the ‘sexiest soapie hunk on etv’ is? So far so inane. It’s Ben from Sunset Beach. Anyway. The website works. Except, there’s nothing there. It’s smoke and mirrors. The shows advertised are almost uniformly dire. The local content is weak, badly realised, appallingly performed, and just about unwatchable. This is a channel that has taken the pulse of the South African populace and felt nothing beating there but an appetite for drek, for kak, for the lowest of the low. Its a channel hopelessly devoted to wrestling, to the retrograde ouvres of Chuck Norris, Sly Stallone and the ‘muscles from Brussels’. It often seems nothing more than act as a platform for lame soft core titillation ‘come’ the midnight hour (is there anything more stultifying and un-arousing than watching Americans pretend to have sex?), toxic appeals for subscriptions to ringtones and a gambling format virally caught from the UK racking up call minutes while masquerading as actual programming.

Catch The Passion Network on ETV next Sunday morning at 02h10

Bleh! Who is watching this shit? You’d have to be a male, neck deep in puberty (or at least mentally arrested at this stage of maturation), uninterested in the world around you, its wonders, its challenges, its injustices and opportunities, woefully if not willfully ignorant, if you like. And you’d have to have a reduced, impoverished, limited sense of your own intellect, your own gifts and your own future – to routinely settle for what this channel puts before your eyes! 

But hey, it’s free. 

Perhaps there’s more to it. It’s as if the minds and the money behind ETV have picked up a newspaper and taken a look at the reality of the country, and they’ve seen the raw truth of this place, as it is (and was). The slayings, the rape, the carjackings, the forced entries, the Aids orphans, the single-parent families, the plummeting value of a life, the lack of service delivery, the graft and corruption, the indifference and the lies, the ever-widening chasm between those who have and those who don’t, those who can and those who can’t, and they’ve said:
“We’ll give them what they want. What they deserve! We’ll set up a channel that feeds them images and talks to them at a level they can understand! We’ll give them… shit!” 

It’s inspired, really. Its almost revolutionary. Its bold as punk rock. It just might be, besides ‘Disgrace’ by JM Coetzee and a few paintings and a couple of protest songs here and there, the most significant cultural intervention of the post-apartheid era. A TV channel that (un)consciously mirrors the worst of a people. Speaks to what is basest in us. Flatters what is lowest. Encourages whatever holds us back, be it moral weakness, greed, venality, lust, mindless violence or self-destructive despair. This is ETV – the channel we deserve, given the shit we’re doing to each other, and the mess we’re making of our chance at renewal. 

Don’t worry, SABC, you’re next.

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  1. Shane Pretorius says:

    I totally agree. I seems Etv has replaced valable entertainment with low budget or money sapping shows like the likes of Brain box. The final straw for me was Cheetah Diaries. Did they actually think that anybody besides the creators of the show would want to watch the goings on of our feline friends on weekly basis. I think not. It’s a horrid turd of a show. Good work Ash.

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  2. dylan says:

    Whatchatalkingabout? My Name is Earl, the ten o clock movie every Sunday night, wrestling, news, Nimrod Nkosi doing those voice overs… you’re taking fucking liberties, mate. You’d also better learn to like it, because when SABC goes bang, which is soon, ETV is all you’ll have.

    SABC losses blamed on incompetence
    While a worldwide slump in the advertising market has been blamed for R400m of the SABC’s R784m loss, even the broadcaster has admitted that the remaining amount can be blamed on its own incompetence.
    Acting CE Gab Mampone told the media earlier this year that the SABC’s expenses came to R5,5bn for the year. Yet there is little clarity on what the money is actually spent on.

    Here are the numbers that have come to light so far. In its annual report for the year ending March last year, the SABC admitted losing R76m on programmes paid for but not shown. This resulted from a lack of content management and, if the problem was not fixed, a similar amount could be expected for the 2008-09 year.

    Technical ineptitude and an inability to keep to programme schedules meant the SABC had to return R79m to advertisers for the year to March this year, according to documents obtained by Business Day

    It owes at least R35m to independent producers, including some who have not been paid for 18 months.

    The 2008 annual report, the latest available, shows the SABC also spent R200m on consultants, including R167m on management consultants.

    The SABC has a bloated management structure that costs it R50m more than it should be spending on management, according to Gemini Consulting. A report by Deloitte and Touche says the SABC has an inadequate human resources department.

    And the Broadcast, Electronic Media and Allied Workers’ Union estimates that for every 1,27 staff members working in broadcasting, there is one support staff member.


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  3. Oldtimer says:

    Help, I’m being held to ransom by DSTV. In a compact bouquet nogal! It’s either pay-up or back to SABC. And I have to pay R60pm just to use my PVR. Meh!

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  4. Not the BadEEE says:

    E-Tv, (like You Magazine, Idols or The Daily Sun) is a commercial entity aimed at a particlar market – the same market that will spend money on John Cena boxer shorts (John, I’m told, is The Shit). They sell a TV schedule which might not appeal to you or I, but clearly has enough of an audience to keep it going. A business trying to make some kizash – who’d have thunk it? There’s no moral obligation to provide any decent programming, nor to educate anyone – saying that you “deserve” anything from a free (privately run) TV channel is like saying you deserve a bigger Big Mac. You don’t like what you’re getting? Go get some Steers.

    But, E-TV does show the news. Pretty good news at that, which shows all the car jackings, service delivery issues blah blah. Which is more than can be said for M-Net. They also threw in 3rd Degree, hosted by the impossibly orange Deborah Patta. Mixed reaction on that one.

    I’m not saying that I’m into Wrestle Mania 24 or the Red Shoe Diaries (although let’s be honest, every male has been “neck-deep in puberty at some point”) but for every one of me there are a couple million who go ape shit for the double somersault backflip power slam. If that’s what you’re into, go get some E-Tv. If not, go get something else.

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  5. Joe says:

    I say – Let’s start our own TV channel.
    Come on./ How hard could it be?
    The SABC have managed for years and they’re a bunch of idiots.

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  6. ALVIN says:

    I totaly agree with Joe lets start our own channel. I,d rather watch a pupetshow than the shit hey have on E-TV. They repeat their movies so much that is like a recuring nightmare.

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  7. Mr Happy says:

    Ever read “Die Son” errr “The Sun” tabloid of whatever the f##k you call it, it makes e-tv look like David Lettermen on opiates. Frankly there is a market for the drek as you so adequetely put it, makes me a sad panda when you realise how low the low will go.

    My favourite line from a commercial recently seems to paraphrase the paradigm: Freedom! – Are you free? or are you dom?

    Perhaps both in this case…

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  8. hater says:

    god why does etv has to be so boring they can not even play music for gods sake the only song they are playing is that (we on fire !!!) n i assume its bcoz dales is their kids presenter! n those cool cats what the hell , n this one makes me want to die ‘sunset beach’ I would suggest that etv must change to a news channel coz they can deliver good news at least!!

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  9. Lord Slouzer says:

    Let’s face it E-TV appeal to the lower income bracket because the most of the middle and all of the upper-class have DSTV. Why are there no other e type channels? Because the SABC won’t have it that way! TV in this country sucks ass, peanuts and all. Joe would like to start a new TV Station…. cool, as soon as sentech wake up and ICASA go fuck themselves and YEA SABC go under and this whole TV license thing disappears then maybe we will get the television we crave. We don’t have competition and E is not free (why do they encrypt their satellite broadcast on the sentech band?)

    Well I for one don’t think crap will come right, its all screwed up Telkom, Eskom, sabc, absa, nedbank, standard bank, Discovery, Bonitas ect ect ect ect….

    The government will just bail them out with your money, so stop paying TV licenses

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  10. Pietie says:

    Ok, here’s how I see it… The wanabe porn’s got to go, that stuff can really make you naar, cause those oaks must either be blessed or k@k unlucky, cause those moves are crazy… That’s another thing, CRAZe. Fire them all or re educate the whole lot on proper children shows and proper presenting. As for the NeWS… Brilliant!!! I think it’s better than CNN. They bring out the facts, no matter what, and why? Cause their not controlled by government… That brings me to 3rd degree. Only 1 thing to say… Deborah for president! She is the best. That lady can make you feel smaller than a fly’ arse. Speaking about arse, WWE is a bunch of crap! No other way to say it. As for the movies, i don’t mind the old movies, ok, they have a nasty habit of repeating it, but it’s ok, I smaak the golden oldies. And they don’t screen any old South African bullshit like the SABC. I mean come on, it’s been 15 years, the white man is sorry, sorry for giving in to the ANC and letting them corrupt the country and let more people, black and white live in poverty. Luckily etv’s shows doesn’t consist of 80% black shows where you need red bull for concentration and reading glasses to be able to follow the subtitles. I preffer etv, dstv is still the best, but I don’t spend that much time at home to have it. And lastly, thanks etv for broadcasting mostly true football and not this South African soccer circus. Booyaa!!!!!

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  11. I want mahala chanel

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  12. Andy says:

    It’s coming Tiyani! It’s coming

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  13. Shay says:

    Atleast etv plays some great international shows unlike the sabc who still fucking playing days and bold

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  14. Ella says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I was beginning to think I’m the only one miserable here with etv’s lame content called programs. Indeed they are devoted to wrestlings, mornings, noons and nights on a daily basis and triple the dosage on weekends! What is wrong with these people? They are really force feeding the masses what they think is worthy content. I’ve been to third world countries where local tv can afford to deliver better and mind nourishing content compared to etv. My question is, how can we bring our opinions to their attention because they are not at all interested in any public opinions as projected in their website or the lack of it! I’m seriously fed up with the wrestlings and the soapies too!

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