Sunday, February 6, 2011

'Følelser og fornuft'

If Jane Austen were alive today, she ought to sue TVNorge for copyright infringement. But as it is, the fact that she has no descendants is immaterial, the copyright has expired. Alas.

I really don't intend to fill the blog up with TV reviews, but I just have to post about this show. I'm watching it right now, it started a little less than ten minutes ago. It's a six part series about one of the most bullshit ideas out there - Thought Field Therapy, TFT. I have no idea how they're going to stretch this out into six hour-long episodes ... I don't think it's worth five minutes of air time. But this is what you get with commercial television - whatever bullshit the viewers think they want, that's what these people will serve up. And I'm sure I don't need to tell any of my Norwegian readers that TVNorge is by far the worst offender there.

Anyway ... this is IMO where TV, which can be a great thing education- and entertainment-wise, but is most often what we may call neutral, crosses the line and becomes actively dangerous. And this doesn't just apply to Norwegian TV ... in fact I think that in a lot of other countries, the situation is significantly worse. The fact is that people are idiots. Individual persons can be intelligent and knowledgeable, yes (so please don't take that statement personally). This does not change the fact that people are idiots. Our school system is nowhere near as good as it ought to be and our current media reality encourages dumbness and ignorance. Argh. Don't get me started. Back to the point.

People know too little and understand less, so what they need is correct information and, above all, help to sort and interpret the information they do get. That is where TV shows like this one are dangerous and actively harmful. They fill the viewers' minds with bullshit and present it like there's something in it ... we may not be able to say exactly what yet, but there must be something, because you can see for yourself that it's working. Oy vey.

There are soo many alternative therapies out there, and they are more and less bullshit, but TFT definitely belongs in the complete & utter bullshit box. It's not really based on anything, the guy who invented it just pulled it out of his ass. You can read a description of it on Wiki, here. All serious research that has been done on it shows zero effect beyond placebo. No wonder, since it has no relation to anything in reality. TFT is a global movement and its practitioners and supporters are engaging in a number of repulsive and immoral practices around the world, particularly in developing countries. You should read up on it, it's really disgusting. >:-(

The major TFT guru here in Norway is the star of the TV show, Mats J Uldal - who at one time wrote an ... interesting email to my friend Gunnar, which you can read here. It's a feast of altie BS, and Gunnar of course tore it to metaphorical shreds on his blog. AFAIK he never heard anything more from Uldal after that. Gee, what a surprise.

So, what is wrong with this show, specifially? Well, just looking at this one episode (since it's the first, I obviously haven't seen more than the one) ... here's a list.

They are obviously looking to prove that this actually works. However, there is nothing in the show beyond anecdotal evidence - in fact, the entire show is all about creating anecdotes. o_O Scientifically speaking, this is entirely worthless.

Uldal gets way more screen time than the two opponents that have been allowed to speak, and he is also presented in a much more appealing setting than the two of them. They did a good job though, in the little time they got.

Uldal also gets away with using meaningless altie language - like when he's asked what kind of person this usually works best on, and he says that it tends to work really well on people who are ... what did he say again ... 'more open to the energies'. WTF? That is a meaningless statement, it means nothing ... ! and the reporter, or whatever she is, just sits there and lets him get away with it.

Pretty much no critical questions are asked of him. He is not asked to confront the total lack of evidence for TFT, and none of the despicable practices carried out by the TFT movement.

There are very few critical questions asked of the participants, even when they lay themselves extremely open to them. The first one is asked in the follow-up session whether she still uses the technique - this after saying that she is practically cured of her crippling fear of needles - and says no, because it's too complicated. And why does she think she is so much better? Oh, it's all TFT, totally, pretty much no question. Wait, what? She just said she doesn't use TFT. And this calls itself journalism, I shouldn't be surprised.

Even when the reporter does ask somewhat critical questions, she still clearly steers them in a supportive direction. Leading questions are not good journalism.

There is no explanation of what constitutes evidence for a treatment, or how we should go about acquiring such evidence.

These are some of the really obvious flaws in this show, which I will gladly admit has lowered my respect, if that's the word I want, for this channel a further few notches. Especially when I think of what a six-part TV series about could have been. They ought to be ashamed of themselves.

And when I see that in the next episode, one of the 'patients' will be a celebrity - a popular and respected actress - I really don't know what to say.

1 comment:

Paz said...

To be honest I have little sympathy for those that spend money on this sh!t, I say well done you might as well have used the cash to wipe your backside and flush it away, at least then it had some use (forgive the vulgarity).
But when quacks like this treat people with real problems then they should be locked up