I have been watching old series lately. One of the series is Ally McBeal. There are some things I can relate to from her characters and there’s something interesting about how crazy her work environment is. Watching old Ally McBeal makes me realize how some things have changed, especially when it comes to acknowledging minorities. There was this scene in the court where a transvestite, an obsessive compulsive disorder guy, a dorky and nerd-like people were marginalized from the society. They sued the company for firing them because their personalities and odd attitudes somehow damage company’s reputation. Somehow I think it’s not relevant anymore. Nowadays, we live in a place where differences are celebrated. People want to be different. Being different is not always connoted as being weird. Being “mainstream” is no longer the only life choice. It’s been 13 years since ‘The Oddball Parade’ episode was aired and some things have changed in how we view minorities.
I remember a teaching week about archives and how researchers are using archives to see social situation in a certain year. I believe that old movies can also be used as research material to see how political situation and social change take place in certain era. Television is widely acknowledged as a powerful tool to cultivate fear about the situation outside the living room. Gerbner spent more than 15 years of his life researching about this. He claims that heavy TV viewer are reluctant to believe that the world is a safe place. They become suspicious toward others and become paranoid to walk alone at night. Well, i won’t discuss much about his research. What I want to highlight is the power of TV to set agenda and influence people’s opinion about certain issues. In the old Ally McBeal episodes, I can also see how careful sensitive issues were portrayed in the television. LGBT issues was once a reluctant issue to air on national TV. Lately LGBT issue bombarded national TV. Even the US president addressed equality issue in his inauguration speech. Well, it’s in USA. Countries like Indonesia with strong religious culture might struggle and reject the issue for another 10 years or more. But I believe such liberation will follow. I cannot wait to be part of community where differences are embraced and acknowledged.