Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Dude, Where's My Tesla?

I’m not going to beat around the bush – I love Tesla Motors.  I love them like a fat hipster child likes gluten-free cake.  Honestly, I would let them tattoo their logo onto my body if in exchange, they gave me a Tesla car.  I say this because given the price of one of their cars at the moment, I figure a tattoo on my body will get me the Tesla Model S before my signature on a cheque does.

Now if you don’t yet know about Tesla Motors, then I hope this article finds you well, beneath that rock you’ve been living under for the last few years.  That might sound harsh, but saying you’ve “never heard of Tesla” tends to evoke the same response as when your mum asks you “what’s a ‘Google’?”

To get you up to speed (excuse the pun); Tesla Motors is a car company that’s revolutionising the electric car market.  It’s named after Serbian inventor NikolaTesla, is based on technology he developed in 1882, and having been founded in 2003, it’s a precocious little 12-year-old that loves playing with cars and dreams of doing big things.  So to celebrate almost one year since the company opened its first showroom in Melbourne, let me take you through the checklist of what I think makes Tesla so fantastic.  Think of this as a reverse ‘roadworthy check’ because after reading it, we may have to check if our roads are Teslaworthy.

   The Name

For starters, the company carries the name of one of the greatest minds in history – Nikola Tesla.  Just based on that, if you have the money you should buy this car.  Otherwise, how often do you get to do this?  The answer is NEVER, because I'm pretty sure there’s no such thing as a ‘Stephen Hawking sedan’ or an ‘Einstein SUV’ out there on the road.


The Tesla cars have fewer emissions than a doctored Volkswagen car test.  They honestly couldn’t be any more environmentally friendly if they stopped automatically to hug every tree they drove past and their engines ran on the sweat of hippies.  A motor vehicle hasn't had a smaller carbon tyreprint since Fred Flintstone’s family car.  A Tesla could even help you land the greeny girl or boy of your dreams, without having to use exclusively hemp-based products and attend music festivals that require you to sleep in a tent on a farm.  When it comes down to it, you can’t fault a car that both looks good and is good for the environment.  It’s an almost unbelievable combination!  It’s like dating a beautiful supermodel and then finding out she enjoys a low cost of living and she farts wi-fi signal.

   Running Costs

With the super charge, you’ll actually be able to half-charge your car in 20 minutes or do a full charge in under an hour.  To put that into perspective, it takes almost twice as long to charge an iPhone and the battery in that will in all likelihood go flat before the battery in a Tesla.  Oh and it’s free to re-charge too.  That means you could literally turn your powernap on that long drive into a powernap for your car too.  For most people, this eliminates the need to ever buy petrol again.  We charge our phones, our computers and now our cars.  You don’t have a jerry can for your Toshiba, why would you have it for you Tesla.

   'Cool Factor'

Tesla’s proven that electric cars can be cool and it’s made the Toyota Prius look like the unfortunate cousin that never lived-up to its full potential.  The cousin no one really likes to talk about, much less spend time travelling with.  Or to paint a clearer picture for my readers who (like myself) were in school during the 90s, Tesla is the kid that arrives in the schoolyard and is rocking matte-look wax in their hair when everyone else is still sporting undercuts and wet-look gel.  It’s the James Dean of the automotive industry and you could call Tesla Motors the “rebel with the cars.”  It's no mean feat that Tesla’s even managed to combine the prestige of being seen in a luxury car with the unabashed joy of driving a dodgem car.  They’ve made an elegant car powered by electricity that you can have fun driving, while eliminating the emphasis on collisions and carnies jumping on board without permission.  It’ll mean you’re driving something nice enough to get you accepted into high-end valet parking, but environmentally friendly enough that it won’t be vandalised by activists when you’re driving out.


Depending on the model, a Tesla can travel around 500 kilometres on a single charge.  The last thing that was able to go that far using just electricity was fictional and named ‘Thor’.  And before you complain that you’d like it to have a bigger range, relax.  If you’re travelling more than 500 kilometres in a single day, you’re going to need to pull over for a rest and you can charge it then.  And if you’re in that much of a hurry that you want to drive more than 500 kilometres without stopping, you don’t need a Tesla, you need Virgin Airlines!


Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is perhaps the coolest CEO of any company... ever.  He’s like Steve Jobs combined with Richard Branson mixed with Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne.  He’s an inventor with a successful and innovative company, he’s associated with a cool car, he’s appeared on The Simpsons and in all likelihood he has a servant named ‘Alfred.’  And if you don't believe me, Morgan Freeman AND George Clooney drive Teslas and both of them were in Batman films!  (*Cue dramatic "dum dum duuuum" sound effect).  Another #thuglife fact; Musk has reduced his salary from $78.2 million in 2012 to $1 in 2015.

Do you hear that?  That’s the sound of every nurse and public school teacher reading this quitting their bitching for a second.  Essentially, the difference between his pay and that of a sweatshop worker – stock options.  Nike should get onto that.

   The Speed of No Sound

These cars are quiet, yet they’re fast – like they’re '0-100kph in 3.1 seconds' fast.  That’s quicker than a Porsche 911 and an Audi R8, meaning you could potentially be the quietest and fastest street racer ever.  Tesla Motors has even made the fastest 4-door sedan in the world.  You know what that means – family drag racing night!  And if drag racing isn’t your thing, enjoy this; these cars are quiet enough for you to clearly hear the kids ask from the backseat “are we there yet?” but they’re quick enough for you to be able to respond immediately with “we’ve already arrived, now get out of the car and stop hitting your sister.”  The Tesla's essentially the silent disco of the automotive industry – a fun time had with no complaints from the neighbours.

   Parts & Accessories

In addition to being all the fun of a toy for grown-ups and unlike most of the toys you nagged your parents into buying you as a child, the Teslas have no assembly required, the batteries are included and there are minimal parts and accessories.  In fact, a Tesla only has six parts that need regular replacement; four tyres and two wiper blades.  That’s less than most elderly people!  It’s also even less up-keep than the NutriBullet and you won’t look like a tosser when you tell your friends you bought one of these.

   Did I mention how cool it is?

Let me repeat something in case it didn’t sink in before – a Tesla car just beat a V8 Supercar in a drag race… twice.  That’s something with a battery beating something that runs off fuel, oils and gases.  Theoretically that shouldn’t even be possible, but it is.  It’s the underdog of the automotive industry and at this rate, soon kids are going to be reading a new book in school entitled “The Little Tesla That Could.”  If Janis Joplin were alive today, she’d have forgotten about Mercedes and she’d be singing “oh lord won’t you buy me a Tesla.”

   Technology & Design

Tesla cars are like a smartphone that you can drive as opposed to everyone else who’s basically got a Nokia 3310 and talking about how happy they are with the new version of 'Snake'.  Oh and some of the cars now even have the option of ‘autopilot mode.’  Autopilot mode!  For when you want to be your own backseat driver.  Okay so maybe you can’t actually get in the backseat and let the car drive you on its own, but you can at least have a good sneeze or lengthy pick of your nose without fear that by doing so, you’re going to drive up the rear of the car in front of you.  Either way, congratulations!  You’re officially the owner of your own fully functioning 'Transformer.'  Even better, it doesn’t come with Shia LaBeouf and it has no intention of starting a robot war with other cars.

Overall Rating 


So there you have it, from business model to product design and from concept to reality, it’s clear that Tesla’s the good guy company in a world full of Bond villain organisations.  One thing’s for sure though, there’s a heck of a lot more than just 007 reasons to love them.

** For more info, updates and photos, follow me on Twitter & Instagram **

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

19.5 Things I Learned About Life from Watching ‘The Bachelorette Australia.’

'The Bachelorette Australia.'  It's been the best thing that's happened to Wednesdays since they got assigned the nickname 'Hump Day' and the best thing that's happened to Thursdays since they started getting shout-out credit for every "throwback" photo on social media.  It's more than that though.  It's more than the entree TV meal before my main dish of 'The Blacklist' arrives.  It's even more than a wonderful opportunity to sit in on people's dates and watch as things either go so right or oh so wrong.  It's an opportunity to laugh and to learn as well.  So, from 'bro codes' to 'group dates' to just generally "being there for the right reasons", here are 19.5 things I've learned about life from watching this season of 'The Bachelorette Australia.'

1.    If you put 14 guys in a house with one girl, all of them will fall in love with her.  Seriously!?  You ALL felt a connection with Sam!?  Not even one of you was a bit like “meh, I guess she’s okay.  Not really my type but I love the house”!?  Does no one respect the sacred laws of probability!?

2.    The two things guys love more than anything are roses and kissing.  Seriously, get us in a lounge room together and it’s all we talk about.  Oh, and we talk about dates, but only because that’s the best place to combine the roses and the kissing.

Now we get to talk about it over cocktails tonight boys!!!

3.    Roses have massive power for ensuring people don’t leave your house.  It's like receiving a new invitation for the same sleepover party everyday and you just can't help but say "yes!"  And I’m talking real roses not just ‘Roses’ chocolates.

4.    It’s super important to reiterate when out on a date with a girl that you’re there for the right reasons.  ESPECIALLY if you’re not.  I’m not even sure what the right reasons are, no one does.  Make sure you don’t mumble either, because the last think you need your date thinking is that you’re only out for dinner with her for the “white raisins.”

5.    I own the most boring suits ever.  I don’t own one that’s tailored to within an inch of its life, I don’t own one that’s multi-coloured and I definitely don’t own one that looks like it’s made from the shiny blue material found on the inside of my dad’s guitar case.  There’s “peacocking” and then there’s this.  It’s like over-groomed peacocks “peacocking” in suits made by Roger David.

This show should be called 'Suits' and 'Suits' should be called 'The Bachelor/Bachelorette.'

6.    When men get in a group and compete for the affections of one woman, they develop clairvoyant abilities.  That's why you hear all the bachelors saying things like “I can see my future with Sam”, “I definitely see a future with Sam.”  That’s all good and well that you can see so far ahead of you both, but right now if you could just slip me next week’s lotto numbers, yeah that’d be ace.

7.    The road to the 'friend zone' is paved with compliments and there are no roses growing beside it.  If you’re sitting opposite a girl and she’s telling you that you’re “so lovely” or “such a sweetheart”, you can be sure you’re either in the 'friend zone' already, or you’re in the far right over-taking lane, in the back seat of a car she’s driving and speeding to get you there.

8.    If you attach “ey” onto the end of your name, a girl looking for a serious relationship will now look at you like her misfortunate “special” younger brother who still has to be home-schooled once a week.  On top of that, ALL of the viewing audience will think you’re an obnoxious little tosser.  Prime example; ‘Plumber Dave’ Vs ‘Dummy Davey.’

'No Man's Land' face: The look you give when you can't swim to 'Relationship Island' but you're locked out of the 'Friend Zone' as well.

9.    You can play as fast and loose with your profession as you want when on a date.  As long as you got paid to do something once, you can claim it as your profession.  I’m looking at you Michael “professional footballer” Turnbull.  Me personally, I’ve MC’d for the band ‘Little Mix’ – therefore I was on stage with them – therefore I was in ‘Little Mix’.  Solid.  At least lie and say your dad is the new Australian Prime Minister dude!

10.    Employment in Australia will never be an issue because there are so many jobs out there that I had no idea even existed.  What is a ‘rope access technician’ Richie!?

11.    The bigger the ratio of guys to girls in one place, the more the collective I.Q points of the male contingent drops deep into double digits.  And when that happens, if you’re a single guy near an attractive girl and there are cameras on you, beware because they are capable of making you do anything!  “Oh what, you want me to wrestle topless playfully with these puppies on national TV while a cameraman takes photos for no catalogue whatsoever AND I don't get paid?  Why of course, please show me to my patch of grass!”  Heaven forbid you’re a bachelor who’s a coeliac, because you will definitely eat a loaf of Tip Top white bread if you think it’ll get you a rose.

Will & Zoolander have a lot in common.
Neither of them have any idea how they found themselves in these positions.

12.    If you’re a guy that doesn’t come from a broken home or you don’t have an uncomfortably intimate relationship with your mum, you’re in the minority apparently.  Seriously, your mum is your best friend dude?  Either you’re just making that up to earn ‘Bachelorette points’ or you went to the worst primary school ever.  PS; I think I just found out why you’re still looking for love.  It's because love knows where you are, what you and mum get up to when you’re there and it’s hiding from you.

Looking for love is hard with such tiny eyes.

13.    The number one fear in society is not ‘public speaking’, it’s apparently ‘heartbreak.’  Everyone on this show is afraid of having their heart broken!  How is that even possible?  Have none of you ever watched the Stephen King movie 'It' and then tried to go the circus at night?  How, when Sam asked what their biggest fear was, did no one seriously say “clowns and the secrets the dark streets of Melbourne’s western suburbs hide?”

14.    Girls love when guys take them on really extravagant dates and guys love going with girls on really extravagant dates when other people organise and pay for them.  “Today, we’re having a 5-course degustation lunch, on top of Mt. Kosciuszko where we’ll be taken by helicopter.”  It’s pretty much the adult equivalent of when you’re a little kid and you ask your mum for money so you can go buy her a birthday present.  Except, unlike now, you didn’t want to sleep with your mum when you gave her the present.  Well, maybe Richie did.

Because neither love nor cash grows on trees.

15.    Guys who are desperate to get a girl to like them or guys who have a really limited vocabulary, love paying compliments that sound super cheesy, aren’t based on physical appearance and are as much the opposite of sexual as they can think of.  Hearing a guy tell you that you have a “beautiful soul” or “amazing spirit” should raise red flags that he’s either dropped out of high school before VCE, he thinks you’re a ghost or he wants to “give you his long-stemmed rose.”

16.    If you have tiny eyes, bleach your teeth so they’re whiter than an albino’s bikini line and dress like you took jeans from a child’s wardrobe and a dressing gown from your nanna’s bathroom, it’s okay as long as you have a cool profession.  It’s like Barney Stinson’s ‘Crazy/Hot’ scale; if you dress ‘this poorly’, you must have ‘this cool’ an occupation to make up for it.  However made-up it may be.

No caption required.  Worth several thousand words.

17.    Guys under the age of 25 make really annoying boyfriends apparently!  I had no idea about this when I was a guy under the age of 25!  This is because they haven’t got the balance right between ‘loving & loveable’ and ‘over-bearing & unbearable.’  Davey is the prime example because he just gives you the impression you’re not getting a boyfriend, you’re getting a big child.  Like he’d smother you with too much affection but then do annoying stuff like leaving floaters in the toilet and crumbs around the house.

18.    'The Bachelorette Australia' is maybe a tad racist.  Maybe I’m wrong.  I mean, what better way to display the rich multicultural diversity of Australian society than to have a single white woman choose between 14 single white men, three of whom are called “Dave” or a variation on that name.  If it was any more ocker at times, every episode would open with the bachelors having a beer with Alf Stewart in the Summer Bay diner.  This looks less like the “Bachelorette Mansion” and more like “Bogan Island.

Oral-B isn't the only thing super white about 'The Bachelorette Australia 2015'.

19.   It’s okay for you to frequent a brothel/escort service.  It’s not seedy as long as you refer to it as just a “one episode Bachelor/Bachelorette special.”  The difference is, when you make your choice, you only give away one rose... except it’s actually not a rose, it’s a cash payment.

19.5.    And finally - overalls have definitely not made a comeback, and even when they were in fashion, my sister and I wore them better.  Boom!

Because we were the shit long before overalls were shit.

** For more info, udpates and photos, follow me on the links below:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/stefan_popovic
Instagram: http://instagram.com/stefpop

Monday, 19 October 2015

Serb Youth Radio (The Podcast) - 19/10/15

Listen in to the podcast from tonight's show!!! A Serbian youth radio show that's as satisfying as a jumbo pack of 'Smoki' but with none of the regret and self-loathing when you get to the end of it! We talk the #NoKosovoUNESCO petition, Milorad Cavic troubles and getting 100,000 signatures with Filip Filipi on the line from Canada. On top of that, music and sports news from the country that made tennis cool again and put Brazilian footballers in their place! It's like a shot of radio rakija for your Monday-itis!


** For more info, udpates and photos, follow me on the links below:Twitter: https://twitter.com/stefan_popovic
Instagram: http://instagram.com/stefpop

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Veliko Lajanje Sitnih Pasa: Odgovor Albancima pred početak 'Euro 2016'

Ovo je otvoreno pismo upućeno Albanskom narodu, fudbalskim navijačima, fudbalerima i svim Srbima koji danas verovatno dele slične frustracije kao ja, ali možda ne znaju kako to da izraze.  Juče je bio dan pomešanih emocija.  U jednom trenutku smo saznali da je Nole po šesti uzastopni put osvojio turnir u Pekingu.  U drugom trenutku, gledali smo kako je fudbalska reprezentacija Srbije poražena od Portugalije i onda, kao so na živu ranu, saznali smo da su komšije Albanci pobedili Jermeniju i da idu na Evropsko Prvenstvo u Francusku umesto nas.  Kao kad saznaš da ti je neprivlačan i nezaposleni poznanik našao devojku dok ti moraš da sediš kući sam u Subotu uveče.  Nacija kojoj Francuzi nerado daju vize za ulazak u državu, sada će im biti gosti na ‘Euro 2016’.  Nepoželjan gost je ipak dobio poziv za žurku iako loše igra i jedini poklon koji bi mogao da donese je dron.

Bez obzira na to, ne pišem ovo iz zavisti ili zbog toga što mislim da oni nisu zaslužili da idu na ‘Euro 2016.’  Ne, iza ovog stoji nešto dublje u meni.  Nešto što objašnjava kako mi se u času promenilo raspoloženje kad sam stao za trenutak i razmislio o situaciji malo bolje.

Albanski navijači posle pobede njihove reprezentacije.
Meni, kao verovatno većini među nama, delovalo je bezobrazno dok sam gledao kako Albanci slave kvalifikovanje za Euro 2016 i kako Srbe i Srbiju izazivaju i psuju.  Bilo mi je nenormalno, nelogično i nejasno kako neko može tako da se ponaša ili toliko da se raduje samo kvalifikaciji.  Šta li bi tek bilo kada bi osvojili turnir!?

Onda sam razmišljao kako Albanci nisu navikli na velike uspehe kroz svoju istoriju, a kamoli sportske.  Oni nikada nisu imali čast da gledaju kako su im žene prvakinje evrope u košarci, ili odbojci.  Kako su im košarkaši svetski i evropski prvaci.  Kako im vaterpolo savez mora da traži veće prostorije jer jedva ima mesta za sve medalje, pehare i nagrade.  Nisu imali privilegiju da gledaju kako im fudbaleri stoje na krovu sveta i evrope. Da imaju svog Noleta ili Španovićevu.  Njihova skupštinska terasa je mesto gde golubovi mogu da bezbrižno sede i kake jer nikada nisu morali da se sklone da naprave mesta za doček uspešnih sportista.  Umesto da imaju svoju Milicu Mandić koja se bori i dobija zlato na olimpijskim igrama, njihovi dobiju batine od Liama Neesona na filmu.  Mi imamo zlatne generacije, a oni crno tržište.  Mi žalimo što na ispitu nismo dobili najbolju ocenu koju najčešće dobijamo, dok su oni presrećni jer su prvi put u istoriji jedva dobili prelaznu ocenu.

Skupštinska terasa Tirane.          Skupštinska terasa Beograda.

Njihove prozivke i psovke, ne samo da me više ne nerviraju, nego su mi sada čak i žalosno smešni.  Smešni su zato što sam shvatio nešto vrlo bitno i to je da narod koji nikad nije imao ničim da se ponosi, ne može ni da zna šta je ponos i kako se on pokazuje.  I kada ne zna kako da bude ponosan, bude to što jeste, narod koji je teško podnositi a kamoli voleti.

Kad sam sve ovo shvatio i sam sebi pojasnio, tog trenutka su prestali da mi budu neprijatni i bezobrazni vec nacija koju treba žaliti.  Bilo mi je žao što postoji narod koji slavi kvalifikaciju dok mi najčešće slavimo pobedničke pehare.  Bilo mi je smesno što narod koji nas nije mogao pobediti ni na prevaru kada smo bili najslabiji, pravi se da je bolji od nas.

Kako stvari stoje danas 13/10/15; 'dvoglavni orao' značajno jači od 'dvoglavnog labuda.' 

Zato na kraju, ovu poruku šaljem njima.  Vi niste bolji, niti ćete ikada biti bolji od nas. Baš zbog toga što već niste, a mislite da jeste.  Baš zato što se bavite malim stvarima, što živite kao sitne duše dok mi gajimo velike sportiste i ljudine koji slave ogromne pobede.  Vi ste samo mali ljudi sa zastavama “velike” Albanije.  Ali vam čestitam. Stvarno, svaka vam čast na velikoj kvalifikaciji, samo javite gde će biti doček vaših fudbalera u Tirani kad ispadnu u grupnoj fazi.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Reality Check: The Absurdity of Serbian Reality TV

Reality TV – it’s all the fun of watching unlikeable people argue for hours on end, combined with all of the satisfaction of seeing uneducated people getting paid to do nothing. 

It’s important that I start by highlighting something pretty important; the term ‘reality’ is a pretty fluid concept, much like ‘summer weather’ and ‘duration of an Australian prime minister’s term in office.’  On top of that, ‘reality TV’ is playing pretty fast and loose with it.  From shows like “Farma” (The Farm) and “Maldivi” (The Maldives) to “Veliki Brat” (Big Brother) and “Parovi” (Couples), Serbian reality TV depicts reality in Serbia in the same way that “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” accurately depicts employment in a chocolate factory.  Or in the same way that the TV show “Real Housewives of Melbourne” depicts…. well, real housewives of Melbourne.  Not surprisingly therefore there’s been some backlash against reality TV in Serbia in the last few weeks in the form of petitions, protests and social media posts.

This is what the opposite of a 'fantastic four' looks like.

To illustrate the insanity of the situation right now, we have refugees from the Balkan wars of the 90s still living in makeshift shipping containers but we’re providing free housing for a TV show to convicted criminals and starlets with I.Qs that match their bra size.  In the show “Maldivi”, a large group of people are paid to stay in a studio reconstruction of a hotel in the Maldives.  In Serbia, many families struggle to pay for themselves to go on a short getaway to a real hotel in Romania.  In “Farma”, contestants have free housing and receive a steady pay-check at the end of each week.  That is in no way an accurate depiction of reality in Serbia.  Here’s an idea for a show; cameras follow an extended family living in an overcrowded flat, on the 5th floor of a building, which has no lift.  Each week, the family has to figure out a way to pay the increasing bills, food and living expenses on well-below average wage, which their employer is still 6 months late on paying.  Oh and here’s the kicker, the dad is a philosophy professor working as a taxi driver, the eldest daughter is a medical school graduate working at a retail outlet and the grandmother has her pension reduced each month.  When you see that on Serbian TV, you can start to call it “reality TV.”

This brings me to the contestants – a mixed bag of the worst of society in one place.  A combination of convicted criminals, yet-to-be convicted criminals, has beens, wannabes, men with untouched mono-brows and women with drawn-on eye-brows, people of no substance and others that are just substance abusers.  In one show you’ve got a guy with the nickname ‘Zmaj’ (Dragon) who, although he looks like one, would probably be rejected to reprise the role of Khaleesi’s pet.  Then you’ve got a bimbo who goes by the name ‘Tijana Iphone’ (I’m guessing because she’s largely made of plastic) and then another one called ‘Atina Ferrari’ who I can only assume goes by that name because any wealthy old Italian man can get inside her.  Then there’s Kristijan Golubovic, a convicted drug-dealer and armed robber.  The sad irony is that Kristijan Golubovic was once in a documentary called “See you in the Obituaries” and yet now we have to see him everywhere but there.  It would be remiss of me not to also mention Stanija Dobrojevic, a woman who’s basically famous for being famous.  She’s kind of the ‘Paris Hilton’ of Serbia, but with even less intelligence and no worldwide fame.  So I suppose she’s less of a ‘Paris Hilton’ and really more of a ‘Belgrade Hostel.’  I mentioned in a previous article that Serbs can lay claim to giving the world Nikola Tesla, the ‘man who lit the world.’  Well now it seems we’re giving attention to people that, let’s just say, aren't the brightest bulbs in the tanning booth.

Clockwise from top-left: Stanija Dobrojevic, Ilija Grahovac 'Zmaj',
'Tijana Iphone', Kristijan Golubovic.

It’s worth mentioning that people are doing it tough in Serbia, and it seems the producers of these shows don’t get that, or maybe they just don’t care.  I say this because it takes a special collection of jerks to produce reality shows where a collection of uneducated members of society are paid to not work, while the show is targeted at viewers who in many cases are educated but are unable to find work to match their qualifications.  It’s the equivalent of seeing the plight of disease, drought and poverty in Africa and then having a reality show there for upper class contestants called “The too much water, cash and free vaccination happy hour!”

Whether you watch reality TV in Serbia or not, you almost can’t avoid seeing these clowns and knowing who they are.  It bothers me that I can’t escape it.  It bothers me that I am aware of the names ‘Zmaj’, ‘Savija’ and ‘Ekrem’ yet I have to scour the internet to find the name of the director of a children’s hospital doing great work in Belgrade.  A friend showed me how on the leading Serbian news site, 7 of the top 12 news stories on the homepage were about these reality shows.  7 of 12!  To put that into context, that’s the equivalent of you buying a dozen eggs, then opening the pack and discovering the supermarket has replaced 7 of the eggs with marshmallows because even though they’re not what you’re after, they want you to try them.

Previous generation's entertainment versus the current generation's.
It's like a 'before & after' shot for crystal meth use in the Balkans.

So why are some people watching reality?  Perhaps the strangest reason I’ve heard is “well it was on TV.”  Well here’s the thing, just because a dog craps on your doorstep each morning next to your morning paper, doesn’t mean it’s your breakfast and you have to eat it.  And stop referring to reality TV as a guilty pleasure.  Ice-cream and Nutella are guilty pleasures.  This brand of reality TV is definitely not needed in Serbia.  If you really have your heart set on listening to a room full of people sitting at a long table shouting over one another, you don’t need a reality show, you have Slava (Saint’s Day celebration where relatives and friends gather).  Added to that, daily life is dramatic enough, if you want to hear gossip about other people’s lives you can talk to your baba and the people in real life are as attractive if not more so than the people on the television.

I suppose in the end, this is all you really need to know – reality TV serves no other purpose than this; to show us that we’re all human, but to remind us that there are people out there a little less human than the rest of us.  There are cheap and even free sporting events and live shows on every day and night in cities all over Serbia, so go find them, enjoy them and maybe even take part in them.  Supporting the arts, sports and academia will give us a future we can be proud of.  Reality TV just waters the weeds of society while the flowers dry-up and all we’re left with is a future we’ll surely be ashamed of.  At the heart of it, if given the option people will always welcome creativity before they take reality.  It’s why there’s a movie franchise called “Star Wars” rather than “Road Rage”.  So let’s create a better reality.  One where the criminals are imprisoned rather than being paid and the bimbo starlets remain anonymous rather than become famous.  One where the academics are employed and the artists are celebrated.  As I said, there has been some backlash against all of this – but not enough.  We have to realise that no matter how much the producers may call it “reality” TV, it’s actually a nightmare and it’s one we’re going to need to wake ourselves up from.