Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Simple Ways Good Television is Bad

Here follows a recitation of a small number of the ways in which participation in television is bad. This may prove fruitful in its own way, because I'm continually surprised, place after place, perspective after perspective, by rot-ready people whose deeper traits come out illogically such that you find out they don't have a consistent self so much as a set of desires which may conflict with each other provided they don't interfere with desire itself. This list does not apply to watching a video made by someone you know, nor a closed-circuit-type recording shown only within a set of buildings, nor that sort of thing, but only to the for-profit (even when disguised as a nonprofit service) crap that we can all probably identify, the same way we can distinguish, say, consumer porn from the romantic scene in some stage drama ("I know it when I see it" haha). Edited and partially redacted in places, this could be an Ad Age special release on ways television could be effective, and the lamentable fact that many people could hate the latter and distrust the reality of this current piece is noted.

Popularization of television itself. Watching television makes it more popular and more powerful. Since they can tell to some extent how much it is being watched, participating in it makes them be, and appear, more successful at what they're doing, and your tiny piece of attention, besides meaning that they've won a battle whose outcome might matter to you in some small way, magnifies their reach and likelihood/ability to attract new people to their product. In a moral sense, by participating in television you are supporting it and being part of it, thereby helping others spend seconds or lifetimes consuming it. So too with products advertised on television, without which television would have less power; people constantly believe advertisements don't affect them, and to an extreme if not total majority, they are in error.

Given how bad television is (take your pick), be it degenerate or sleazy or irredeemable or ungodly or culturally supremacist or designed specifically to destroy culture or otherizing or whatever other thing you think of it--and they're pretty much all true; their nature of simultaneously holding all disgusting natures is part of why they suck so much and why they can get everyone not just you--helping it grow helps all those things grow, and since the owners and content-creators overlap, and since paying even slight attention helps them a lot, you want to stop using. People who are against police brutality and people who are against coddling criminals should both be disgusted by and avoid the television.

Consumption of time. Related to all the others, but expressly including voiding the time of living organisms, television is that much distraction from doing other things. "Oh, Stuie and I could've never come together if we hadn't watched Breaking Bad together!" is cute, but in the way that time works, it forestalls whatever other things that you and Stuie could have done, or that you could've done with X other people instead of with Stuie. Like all the items in this list, television consuming time should be a duh, but is a concept missed so often we see why this planet is going. Time spent watching television is time not exercising intensely, or improving the mind, or forming community bonds, or going to a church or a park or making food with real physical people, and not only births, but keeps alive, those strenuous vicarious dead things we love to do now.

Corruption of children. All of the items in this list can be strengthened by noting that, in supporting or spreading or freeing or whatever for television, you're strengthening the stuff it can do to the as-yet unborn, or those otherwise unable to make decisions in their full adult capacity.

Justifying politics. The notion of politics and politicians being universally despised is easy to see, and TV thrives on it. Covering it, narrating it, creating it, and popularizing it, television and politics are necessarily interlinked, and it's appropriate that only something as bad as our politics could be covered with a straight face by something as noxious as our television. The two will live and kill together, need each other and love each other, and in participating in television in any way, even the special show about how politics sucks, you are constantly voting for more of it. Whatever reasons you have to dislike politics or believe it isn't fair, they are reasons to avoid its friend television who is also a dealer, in fact they work together constantly.

Mass Thought. Like we stupidly prefer to pretend that advertising doesn't affect us even though it demonstrably does, television helps remove standalone-thought-capable individuals and produce components of mass thought and thought via participation, leaving most people unable to think things independently, while still able to muster great enthusiasm for participating in thoughts they're provided. In certain worlds, this might be okay for a time, but in this world, it means people can't develop any independent ideas and they're able to cotton only to ideas provided by the television. With the television in hands hostile to humans on Earth, the consequences have been grim.

Television is Sedentary. Again, this is an issue that would not be a problem in some other places, but in "modern" countries on this planet, where being physically inactive at dangerous levels is endemic, entertainment based on sitting and watching is a problem. A healthy planet, where people are wrestling around and playing stuff most of the day, then stopping in the evening to watch some performance, television or not, does not suffer this ill, but what we here call "the real world" has a major problem with it. The supporting of television on this planet in any capacity is similar to being part of a charitable organization that ships Twinkies to overweight children, along with comic books where heroes eat Twinkies to strengthen their super powers, or some other type of stuff that encourages said chubby kids to stuff themselves. A hypothetical really healthy person who does weights and cardio all day and then watches a little TV in the evening may be personally exempt from these consequences, but the contribution to others' health sickens a society, and makes it likely that the buff dude's distant descendants will only have fat people to interact with and learn about life from.

As a medium with a particular agenda and controllers, television as we know it has many other dangerous consequences for the Terrans who imbibe it, but these are separate issues. The point here is to discuss what is problematic about the medium itself, in this place and this time period, and why it should not be in any small way condoned or assisted. It is the poisoned drink given by the enemies of life, and I don't think there is any chance that it is going to be spat up or refused, but like many things we do here, let the record show that the notion of refusing it entirely was at least available where no one looked.

Television here is not "faithful" to anyone or anything, which is why people who think there's too much police brutality and positive coverage of tough police on TV, and people who think sanctioned minority criminals are blessed or defended by television and police unfairly vilified, are both correct. Similarly, people who hate war, and think the TV gives a positive image of it, and people who think TV's poor perspective of our military prevents us from kicking butt the way we should, are both correct. All groups should be completely disgusted by TV and avoid it, and treating the monolith like an open forum where "all opinions" are permitted, therefore of course there's some disagreement, is, besides being patently false given ownership charts, rather missing the point. And TV knows it is a lying hypocrite and it knows how it presents mistruths constantly, because the same scheduling executives who approve of patriotic coverage of, say, the bombing of Baghdad also approve of tearful programs about the survivors of Baghdad. Most people tolerate this because they pretend that owners believe in a diversity of opinions, while in fact the unitary opinion of how good it is that gentiles fight and kill each other, but constantly feel guilty about it too, is nothing like diversity. Even so, as in many things here, the fathomless stupidity of those who gobble it up makes it seem that tricking them into a contented final slide is more humane than leaving them without some "Nairobi's got talent" schtick.

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