57 Channels and Nothin' On
I don’t watch TV anymore. My kids watch things I don’t like to watch and I get so busy surfing the net for news and such, that there really is no time left to feel bad that I don’t get a chance to watch even five minutes of TV these days. This leaves the boys so happy to have full testosterone-fuelled reign over the TV remote control! They can watch all the basketball, football, wrestling, Family Guy, South Park, and Jon Stewart they want—though I must admit, I do go peek at the TV when I hear that funny man on sometimes! If and when I do get a chance to watch TV, it is such a disappointing experience for me. News channels roll video and empty words about the war in Iraq, with no analysis, characteristic of American news, talking about more dead soldiers and civilians as though they are reporting a traffic jam on Highway 101, and the slew of reality shows parading on TV, where people’s personal and private lives are aired for the cheap entertainment value it might offer the audience. I think it isn’t just degrading to participants in reality shows to flaunt the sad and ugly parts of their lives so publicly; I believe it is also degrading to me as a viewer to watch a woman have it out with her husband on the air, or for a former “best friend” to confess having had sex with her friend’s boyfriend, feeling proud of it, too. Maybe I’m too old-fashioned now, but none of this appeals to me anymore. I am reminded of my favorite song by Bruce Springsteen, 57 Channels, in a part of which he says: ……. We switched ‘round and ‘round ‘till half-past dawn There was fifty-seven channels and nothin’ on Fifty-Seven channels and nothin’ on Well, now home entertainment was my baby’s wish So I hopped into town for a satellite dish I tied it to the top of my Japanese car I came home and I pointed it out into the stars A message came back from the great beyond There’s fifty-seven channels and nothin’ on Fifty-seven channels and nothin’ on. ……. You can watch the video of that song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qugDVJ1JU54 . Some other time, I will tell you how Iranian programs on TV are even worse than American ones!