RTE and the Drugs Soap Opera.
The other night-yes, despite my protestations about RTE- I managed to catch the second part of High Society, the docu....mmmsnarf...no, I can't, the soap causing such a media rumpus. For those who might not have heard of it High Society is a book and subsequent 2 part television show, purporting to 'expose' the prevalent and continued drug abuse among middle to upper class Irish.
According to RTE's own blurb that programme " gives an insight unto middle class cocaine use in Ireland through the reconstructed personal testimonies of users and former addicts such a school teacher, a chef, a nurse, an accountant and a trainee doctor, all of whom have disguised their addiction behind their responsible and law abiding lifestyles."
Oh, and let's not forget the 'government minister' who admits to regular cocaine use, on tape no less. And don't also forget the dealers, fine men all, who are kind enough to take our intrepid journalist with them on their rounds as they deliver their goods. Drug dealers are a good and open lot that way.
What an expose! This programme must surely be too hot to handle. Would high society tremble? Surely it must, tapes, taxi styled drug dealers? Oh my!
Right, except it really didn't because the key word in the blurb is 'reconstructed'. Reconstructed means actors, it means words that cannot and indeed are not verified. It is anecdotal at best and cannot represent the views and actions of the people involved fully. If High Society was a court case it would be thrown out on its flabby arse, we would be using a salt shaker most liberally if we read it in the pages of a tabloid.
But on RTE? The state television channel? Whither the gravitas? Surely RTE- committed to serious journalism and eyeing up our television licence money -would not be prepared to litter our screens with unsubstantiated folly and reconstruction posing as fact.
I mean actors are that actors, interspace them with professionals and their professional opinion and we get is a deliberate sleight of hand. Could RTE be guilty of cheap parlour tricks?
Now add to the curious mix that The High Society was presented by researcher and journalist Justine Delaney-Wilson, who claims to have carried out the interview with the minister in question while writing the book about cocaine use in the middle classes, is back peddling slightly. Ms Delaney-Wilson and RTE initially insisted they had audio recordings of the minister, but have now admitted that they don't exist.
So what's going on? Who is the government minister powdering his nose regularly? Where does that nun get her supplies?
Why would RTE support a show that it knew to be full of fiction? Where is the buck going to stop on this one?
As the one year anniversary of Anthony Campbell, the young man murdered in cold blood on the floor of Mylo Hyland's cocaine funded home, fast approaches, what are we, Joe Public, going to do about the flood of cocaine this country is currently riding on. Do we legalise it? Stamp on it? Tax it? Actually go after the users as well as the dealers? What? Because if ministers and nuns and, oh I don't know, everyone and their mother is using then what hope have we of quelling the tide? If RTE are to be believed it is already in our homes, it is everywhere.
Or is it hyperbole, are things as bad as they seem?
I don't have the answers to this, I can only speak for myself. I won't be using cocaine over the holiday season, I won't be using it any time in the future, I won't be having a quick line at any parties. I won't shrug and say 'oh well, everyone does it' I won't use it. I won't support it. Because the truth is, high society or not, cocaine is everywhere, and while it is being shipped and distributed and sold by ruthless murdering scumbags, we are all culpable.
So to RTE and Delaney Wilson, why did they even bother? There is a story here, a real story. There is a cost to society, there are people suffering, recovering, reeling, grieving, they may not be high society, but they are real flesh and blood. No need for actors, not need for missing tapes and reconstructions.
There is already a human face to cocaine use.
And you sure as shit don't need to pay the wages of the actor's guild to provide it.
Labels: Want a bit of salt with that?