9.12.05

The Soft Glow of Monstrosity

TV scares me. I am not some luddite, and I am not about to bemoan the poor moral guidelines governing, and presented, by/on TV. No, television scares me because I enjoy it so much.

I am a person with a ‘low entertainment threshold.” That’s a term I think I made up, and it means that I am easily entertained; I am not incapable of criticism, and I do have a limit, but in general I can watch pretty bad shows and still enjoy myself. Frankly though, I have no time to watch bad shows.

“Of course he has no time, he is married and in seminary”

Unfortunately, it’s not what you think, not at all. I have no time to watch bad shows because there are so many good shows to watch, and watch them I do. This is exactly why TV scares me; it seems to be getting better and better at entertaining me. It used to be that I had to struggle to find something to watch. I enjoyed Star Trek (before Deep Space Nine), I liked movies, and like every one else on this planet I watched the occasional episode of Simpsons. Its not that there was nothing else on; I just didn’t really get into any of it. Now I am inundated with the number of shows I enjoy, and this doesn’t even get into Japanese Anime.

This was, after all, the goal right? We seek entertainment, leisure, the ultimate individualization; I can do/eat/watch/have what I want, when I want it, and how I want it. The commodification of all things marches on, and I am a happy consumer.

Yet there is a growing awareness, a shadow spreading from the nether regions of my mind, and it whispers to me in those moments before sleep. It whispers that I am being consumed, eaten away and replaced by pulp, or by cool whip. I am shown flashes of a different life that I can almost want, almost see, and I am left to wonder. Words from Neil Postman fade in and out: “Am.s.ng o.rse.ves to de.th."

And amidst it all I have to think. Millions of dollars are spent on research, on advertisement, on supermarket layout, color schemes, and the right music to play, the effects of various input on human decision making, and it works. How much am I being controlled, and who might I be apart from TV?

2 comments:

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Anthony said...

do you want me to insert my rant about how postman is an eltitest who hates fun, and doesnt know good culture, or do you want me to just go...

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