Thursday, December 20, 2012

Stay Tuned
      When your nightly news team signs off at 11:30 pm, they remind you to stay tuned for the morning news starting at 5 am. There you will get a another reminder to watch the noon news, where you’ll be teased (that’s the word they use in the business) to glom onto the evening news beginning at 5 p.m. And so the cycle goes.
    The business of tv is to deliver the most possible eyeballs to advertisers. So the stations want you to sit in front of the vidiot box 24/7. This desire is obviously at odds with the sponsors who want you to get off the couch and go out to buy the stuff they’re peddling.  This contradiction is well on its way to being solved thanks to online shopping that allows you to sit and spend at the same time.
    When the weather turns foul, or there is yet another massacre of innocents, the tv stops telling you to watch the next newscast. Instead, it wants you on round-the-clock tenterhooks anxiously awaiting the upcoming update, alert, flash, extra, late-breaking bulletin, special report and/or exclusive interview. If you actually obeyed the dicta of these giant media corporations, your family and friends would soon become people you never hear from anymore.
    By the same token, if in this Christmas season you attempted to consume everything tv told you to consume, you would become obese, insane, insolvent and doomed to a terrible death. In short, the flat screen flattens you.  The more of it you take in, the sicker and stupider you become. 
    Interestingly, though we almost all watch tv and interconnect with the internet, the polls and surveys tell us that we mistrust the media and abominate the commercialization of everything from holy masses to unholy massacres. It’s all money now say the seniors, sad over the loss of the America they knew before the market and the media disappeared citizens and replaced them with globalized consumers buying the same junk in Hong Kong or Hartford.
   Yes, it is all money now.  But fewer and fewer Americans have enough of it to make a decent life, let alone heed the marketing orders delivered by the boob tube.  Will we ever pull ourselves away from the latest update and begin evening things up? 

Cliff Note
Stop biting your nails. The "fiscal cliff" is a fraud worthy of Bernie Madoff. For a cogent briefing on what it’s all about by a Wall Streeter and a Republican economist (both of them erstwhile), I highly recommend Bill Moyers' show from last Sunday.  Don’t miss it. Here's a link:  Over the Cliff.