OPINION | Keeping control is not a Mission Impossible

TOM Cruise’s recent brush with death while filming Mission Impossible 6 has me musing on my own brush with fame.

Tom Cruise works the audience: Television is a powerful force of influence. 
It always has been, and it appears that it will continue to be so for some time.

Tom Cruise works the audience: Television is a powerful force of influence. It always has been, and it appears that it will continue to be so for some time.

Not saying I’m Tom Cruise; I’m much taller and much younger, and really, our looks are possibly our only similarity.

But years ago, I was working with some TV producers on an idea for a late night chat show.

I was one of the script writers, but I secretly wanted to be the host – a deadly secret all the producers knew, so they asked me to do a spot on night TV.

A television host afraid of television is like a Carlton player afraid of losing; so, I reluctantly did the TV spot. 

An elderly lady watching me acting the fool on TV said to her daughter “Who is that goose acting like a priest?”.

Her daughter, who was supposed to be a friend of mine, replied “Mum, that’s actually a priest acting like a goose!”.

Watching the TV spot later in the comfort of home, my embarrassment was not acting the fool, but how fat I looked on the television.

I know dieting is slimming, but wearing black is much quicker and easier. 

“The camera never lies” you say, but it does tell lies. Big fat ones!

Somebody consoled me with “the camera puts on five to 10 kilos” .

Then I heard, “you shouldn’t be worried about external looks. You’re a priest, so you should be more worried about what lies on the inside of a person” which is true as the blubber lying inside us makes us look so fat on the outside.

Television is a powerful force of influence.

It always has been, and it appears that it will continue to be so for some time. 

It feels as if television has been around forever and yet, she’s still a baby.

We have not even begun to tap her potential, and still a baby, we still treat her as such. 

The majority of televison is still fun and entertainment – she is still a toy– yet she cradles and influences our timetable and even our values like a mother. 

Television can rest our mind as surely as our bed can rest our body, and it can keep us from bed and disturb us as much as a real-life stalker.

She can inform the mind better than an encyclopaedia, or deceive and misinform like a crafted con artist.

Our TV feeds us good and bad as surely as does our fridge.

TV can give us something to talk about at work with those we otherwise have little in common.

TV can bring a family together for hours and cause the family to discuss and laugh over the events of that show at mealtimes and for years to come; and yet TV can isolate individuals, cut off conversation and even place us in what seems a mild form of hypnosis (just look at someone’s face while they’re watching TV).

I’m still finding it weird how some “smart TVs” turn on with the word “Hello”.

It all comes down to balance in our life through recognising television’s special ability to take control.

It’s so sad when someone can honestly look at their television and say “You complete me”. 

If you’re watching too much TV, it’s not Mission Impossible to simply switch it off.

Stay in control of your life.

Don’t just sit there in defeat and confess to your TV “You had me at ‘Hello’”.

FATHER BRENDAN LEE

Fairfax Media columnist

Twitter: @frbrendanelee