Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

I'm just trying to develop an online body of work (even if the work is throwaway nonsense) to advance my writing career.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Television Incision

What's all this nonsense about a woman president? It's a freaking TV show! It's advertised every day on television, radio and Internet and there's so much hype, you'd think a woman was really leading the country. Well, one isn't; it's just a television show!

Granted, I'd probably vote for Geena Davis if she ran for the office. She's taller than our current President and unlikely to be caught with, say, Monica Lewinsky, like our last president. She has always seemed bright to me, and I don't think she ever snorted cocaine or ducked out of Vietnam. But she's not really the president and, if she's as smart as she appears, probably won't try to be, either.

Broadcast networks have become so adept at "creating buzz"--an entertainment term meaning "spreading lies"-- that they've convinced large segments of the general public that televised poker is watchable. Poker is boring live and in person! If a friend of yours asked you to sit and watch while he and half a dozen losers came to your house wearing sunglasses and headphones, then proceeded to bet all their rent money away, would you take him up on the offer? If the answer is yes, will you please mail your rent money to me? It's not like you weren't going to blow it, anyway.

Another prevarication sweeping the nation is Reality TV. I'm not talking so much about the fact it sucks, although it certainly does; I'm talking about the "reality" part. What's "real" about it?

"We're gonna put you in a contrived situation and thrust conflict on you. Then we'll give you the chance to make chump change if you're willing to humiliate and debase yourself."

"Forget it, I'm outta here."

"Okay, you can go back to your job."

"How much for the humiliation and debasement again?"

It's no more real than "The Wizard of Oz" was; the difference is, these people have no talent.

Another thing I can't stand on TV is college football. I find college football rather dull, but that isn't my principal objection. I support anyone's right to watch uninteresting things, as I sometimes do myself. What I hate are these 47 year old men who haven't been in college in 25 years--or maybe never even went to college--painting their mugs and shouting drunken epithets at the top of their lungs. Or the really pathetic ones who went to one university and get their kicks ridiculing another university; that stuff isn't terribly amusing even if you're still in college, let alone when you've been out for 2o years. Listen: I DON'T CARE WHERE YOU WENT TO COLLEGE! Okay?! If I care, I'll ask; otherwise, don't tell me!

How about this? "Wednesday night, a television event..." If they can't think of anything else to say about a program, it's likely to be billed as a "television event." What if they threw a network executive into a black hole? Would that be a "television event horizon?" Do I even have to rail about how pompous it is to call something a "television event"?

Then there are the biggest liars on television: the local news. The key word in local news is "children." What are your children eating? What are they doing? Are their schools safe? Are their toys safe? Tune into the local news tonight or your children might perish in a fiery crash! All sorts of misleading techniques are employed in order to frighten you into watching. I'm surprised the national networks haven't appropriated this method: "Watch 'Friends' tonight or you'll lose all your friends." "If you don't watch 'CSI: Miami' tonight, you'll be murdered by a Miami street gang, even if you live somewhere else!" How long before this happens?

Seven paragraphs in, and I haven't even mentioned award shows yet. Let's not bother this time.


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