Elvis Presley, Hawaii – Nukes and Television

Via Satellite

This weeks news has certainly been a mixed bag. I went on to Twitter to escape the storm of ‘isms that has dominated world media of late. I was reminded that it was 45 years ago today that Elvis Presley broadcast his performance Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite live to the world. When I say the world, It excluded a few countries, like South Africa.

Sanctions often hurt everyday people more than they hurt rich or powerful people. South Africa was a pariah state on the world stage at the time A bit like North Korea is today. As an Elvis fan, albeit a child one in 1973, I felt outraged that child me never got to see this broadcast until years later. Then I remembered that we never had televisions in SA until 1976.

When tv was launched, everyone that could afford it rushed out and bought a set. Some of us who had to save up for one ended up spending our money on something else. After watching tv elsewhere, we decided they weren’t worth the money. The combined efforts of international boycotts and local censorship meant there was very little to watch. The TEST pattern was the main feature, followed by the News. SABC News kept us posted about the Bush wars, local riots and why the police and military needed extensive powers to search us, stop our cars at roadblocks and take all measures necessary to keep us safe

Nukes & Television

Looking back, it now seems a bit odd that we had nukes before we had a tv. Odder still is how little headlines have changed. Now North Korea has the nukes. I wonder what is on their tv sets? Do they now have reports on war, riots and explanations as to why the state needs compliance to keep citizens safe? Are roadblocks and searches part of everyday life? If so, then the isolated citizens of this country become much easier to relate to.

Have we really come that far since Elvis’ groundbreaking broadcast via satellite to the world? I am left feeling a bit old & tired. Should the media be obsessed with debate, outrage & ism-opinion when there might be other things we should be paying attention to? In this name & shame society is it possible that we should weigh what a person actually does when evaluating their words?  Should we pay less attention to paragraphs of opinion about what a few words meant?

I don’t know. Never before have we lived in a world where everything we say or do is recorded, stored and # tagged so anyone can dig it up at any time. If I won the lottery and became important, what on earth could be said about me? Would my children expose me for being pro corporal punishment (now that it is the same as beating them?) Would I be branded a slag because I wore red shoes in the 80’s? Hopefully, I will never find out.


Hawaii, famous for that first satellite broadcast 45 years ago, made news this week with the false missile attack alarm. It frightens me that despite the horrific impact that this event must have had on locals, that our media chooses to focus not on human drama, but rather on this weeks latest ‘isms.

I don’t want to underplay the misery & hurt that ‘isms can cause – They should be reported & debated if they cause harm. Context & proportion matter too. The media print stuff that we, the readers, demand. There hasn’t been much about the impact of this human trauma in our news. It was mentioned fleetingly, but nothing about the horror it must have caused for people like me & you. Every day, average people – Okay, let me just say it – Real people.

Me? I am going to watch the satellite concert from 45 years ago & remember a time when there were really serious things to gripe about. and preserving physical life was more important than my opinion. When hurt feelings were said to mould our individual characters, and when no matter what they said, everyone loved something about Elvis Presley.

I will think about Joe Citizen in North Korea & the people of Hawaii.

Image is CC – Attributed