Carts, horses, chickens and eggs

Twice this evening I have found myself in tears watching a drama on TV.

The first involved a brave boy, buried in a tunnel as a result of a train accident, saving his class mates but then being killed himself. The second was a detective mystery about pedophile murder of a ten year old boy. Both were well written, well acted and not gratuitously shocking.

But .....

Why on earth do we consider such stories and images entertainment? Why is it that almost all drama on TV involves some violence, perversion, distress or at the very least suffering? I understand the principle that no one writes good poetry when they are happy - they just get on with being happy! From Milton's Paradise Lost onwards we have had problems making the good guys interesting ...

but ....

I find it hard to imagine scriptwriters or production teams sitting around discussing the latest twist in human nature that they can incorporate into their dramas. Do they go through a process of rejecting all of the previously portrayed horrors because of their lack of novelty or shock value? Do they consciously set out to rake up the worst possible psychological pain they can imagine anyone suffering - or perpetrating?


Why do they think I will benefit form these ideas and images as I sit in my home watching? Why do they not realise that simply by perpetrating these ideas they make them more "current", more likely to be emulated? Why do they not feel tainted and guilty when they go home from work to their families?

Yes I know I can turn the TV off - I did.