The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: In the Pink Corner - the Television Is Rotting My Brain for Real

Having been bedridden for the better part of a month now, it is no wonder that the television has become a constant companion.

However, it is not always good to me. First of all, who authorises some of the inane adverts on the TV? If I had any doubts that soda was bad for me, I am certainly well and truly off it.

The soda ads are so stupid I can feel my brain cells dying with each passing second. There are boys riding motorbikes upside down on top of trains while pouring green soda into each other's gaping mouths.

This is possibly the last thing I want to see right now when I am 100 times more prone to throwing up. Then there is the entirely inappropriate SWAT team advert.

Some pimply teenage boy has either spent the night or is attempting to with a teenage girl. Enter the girl's father, banging at the door, and suddenly the soda SWAT team swoops in to make the bed, silence the barking dog and whisk the boy out of the window.

So the moral of this story, or the appeal of the soda, lies in having a getaway plan should you decide to bed someone's unwed, underage daughter.

The politics isn't much better. On top of the disgusting fraud and embezzlement in the office of the Prime Minister, the news this week has been full of tantrums and standoffs in the Ugandan Parliament.

The latest hue and cry is because for some reason, our leaders think giving one man absolute power to license oil companies is a good idea.

Given our historical and more recent history, I want to tear my hair out and scream at the TV screen. If a permanent secretary can admit to feeling 'pressured' to us donor funds to buy new luxury cars for ministers, how much more pressure will the individual awarding oil contracts feel?

You want to reach through the TV screen and roundly slap some of the fat corrupt faces you see suggesting all manner of stupid things.

Watching TV may not be aiding my recuperation. If it isn't politics or adverts, it's music videos. It is amazing how many hours TV stations dedicate to flashing lights, booty shaking and cars that couldn't possibly belong to the kids in the music videos.

And it isn't just the skimpily dressed women and bejewelled men in music videos from the west; it seems every musical wannabe Ugandan kid thinks they have a music video in them too.

You have to endure the nudity, foolishness and supposed love songs, in local languages too. When we were younger and we had been allowed to watch television, usually with a parent in the room, if there was so much as a fully clothed kiss we all cringed.

People must be way less sensitive now if just the music videos are anything to go by. I'd crucify myself twice and shoot myself in the knee before I watch even quarter a music video with my parents in the room.

The one bright spot on the TV horizon is the healthy helping of telenovelas. I like them not so much for their quality but the sheer over the top predictability of the script.

There is always a poor beautiful girl, a handsome wealthy suitor, meddling families, a know it all maid, a scattering of religious figures, some accidents, someone in a coma, some long-haired muscled farmhands, occasional lovechild and a million stupid reasons the hero and heroine can't be together.

I think when I recover I'll write a telenovela using my vast experience. While I am good at picking out what I don't like to see, it doesn't mean I know what I actually want to see.

Most of these things are on television because they have a market so maybe I live in a nation of vegetables. Maybe I should allow my couch potato roots to grow and get with what other people see as entertainment. Let's just say, I can't wait to be well enough to turn off the television and take a walk in the fresh air.

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