The revolutions will not be televised
12.07.08 by Buffalo Bill
The summer rush is here. The rush of TV people trying to come up with a new idea for whatever reality strand is hot right now in the commissioning cycle. What’s the new old idea? Bicycle messengers. For some thoughts on this see this article from a couple of years ago.
The crassest example can be found on the forum here. ‘In Harm’s Way’? Do me a f***ing favour. GO AWAY!
After what happened in Chicago, there is NO WAY that I would assist a TV company in sensationalising, repackaging, or similarly presenting the ‘alleycat’ phenomenon to the viewers of America or Great Britain. Alleycats are something that we should keep for ourselves, something that should be experienced only by those that were there, and not exhibited for the general pleasure of TV-land. Well, that’s my view anyway. Yeah, I know, there are literally thousands of videos out there on the fabulous inter-web. But let’s leave them there, let’s not let spray-paint the living-rooms of America in technicolour alleycat bicycle race, please.
Similarly, whilst they might claim that participation will result in ‘excellent exposure’, ‘In Harm’s Way’ will, I guarantee you, result in nothing of the sort. Never forget that the whole point of making a mainstream TV programme is to get money. As much money as possible. So, yes, they will say that they will tell ‘your story’, that they will try to present a balanced picture of ‘your life’, that you can trust them, the truth is that they will cut up whatever footage they get to make the most exciting 22 minutes that they can. And leave you to deal with the consequences. They really will say anything to get the show made, and if it turns out to be totally different to how they pitched to you, well, hey, that’s Hollywood.
But for the sake of a few hundred quid, is it worth the hassle might come with a media band-wagon such as ‘ban these killer track bikes’? Would you want to be the trigger that released the bullets of courier licensing, or even a bike ban? If you think these scenarios far-fetched, then you need to educate yourself about courier history.
A 1986 collision involving a NYC Councillor resulted in the proposal of a bike ban, under which bicycles were to be banned from mid-town Manhattan between the hours of 10am and 4pm. Yes, really.
In 1997 a pedestrian in Boston crossing the street against the red signal was hit and critically injured by a bicycle messenger on a green light. Extensive and persistent lobbying by the man, who turned out to be the vice-president of a bank, resulted in a raft of new city ordinance designed to ‘regulate’ Boston’s couriers.
So, yes, the wrong type of media coverage can have serious consequences. If you are thinking about participating in anything related to the media, to not consider the possible outcomes for your community is very unwise.
Philip Diprose made an excellent documentary a couple of years ago called ‘Written in the streets’. I don’t think that anything needs to be added to it. It said pretty much everything. Let’s leave it there.