Television remains a vast wasteland…

Greetings and Salutations….

I was poking around the flood of channels available on Directv (whose website channel guide STILL insists that Knoxville, TN is in the Central Time Zone), and, after a burst of advertising I was left musing over this question: While sex has always been used to sell products, is America a better place for having blocks of several minutes of advertising for vibrators, condoms pushing the fact that they are coated on the inside AND outside with chemistry that enhances orgasm, and phone numbers to call to make it easier to hook up with one’s preferred sexual partner?

I am all for free speech and such, and I am sure it is a hugely profitable market (after all, the pornography trade only started suffering a recession of sorts when the internet made it trivial to find and download images of naked folks in an amazing variety of configurations), but, do these folks really NEED to advertise? Unless things have changed radically in the chemical makeup of humans over the past 50 years or so, I suspect there are enough hormones floating around to keep the market nearly saturated as is.

Also, I have to say that, considering the gullibility of the American public these days, I fear that the over the top results promised by the advertisements may well cause a level of disappointment with reality.

In the 70s, television was referred to as the “Vast Wasteland”. There was a time when I not only agreed with this point of view, but, also actually believed it could not get any worse. Well, I was wrong, and, almost every year, the medium proves it to me. I have a friend who pretty much keeps his television tuned to the “retro TV” channels – watching such classics as “The Andy Griffith show”, “Sanford and Son”, “All in the Family” and the like. I have to admit that I often enjoy kicking back and watching these shows too, as they do take me back to a time when life seemed less complicated and challenging (Although I suspect that, considering the knee-jerk political correctness and thin-skinned nerves of today’s citizens, it would be impossible to get either “Sanford and son” or “All in the Family” taped, much less aired). The overly gritty realism of many of today’s dramas, while interesting in the same way that watching a train wreck is interesting, does little but add shock value to shows in order to try and grab eyes and so justify the costs of advertising on the programs.

Now…having said all this, I will say, too, that one positive thing that has happened, thanks to the proliferation of channels available to the viewer is that there ARE more informative and science-based programs available that examine the reality of tasks like building huge projects, dealing with the unpleasant side effects of civilization, exploring the world of manufacturing the items that we use each day in our lives, and, fixing the problems that can arise when some of the really big machines and structures we create fail. still, alas, it seems like these are small points of light glowing dimly in the vast cesspool that sloshes through our airwaves….

I do not know if this is a real problem, or if there is a “fix” for it…but I really do wish that the folks that track demographic information would find that blood and gore dramas are losing viewership, and, some of the more intellectual, science-oriented programs were gaining a following. It would be a ray of hope that America MIGHT be able to escape from the downward spiral it seems to be on (See my previous post, titled The Beginning of the End for a little rant on THAT cheerful subject!

Pleasant Dreams


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