“Every time someone watches reality TV a book dies.” My friend Marc Newquist told me I’d said that to him a while back and it resonated with him. After mulling it over, he’s decided to cancel cable television. His five sons showed no enthusiasm for this idea. Two openly glared at me. Yipes.
I’ve always believed that certain television programs destroy brain cells. If we tortured spies by forcing them to watch children’s shows Barney and Teletubies for a week, they would spill all their secrets. Adult programs involving the Kardashians, Paris Hilton, or ambush/confrontational shows like Jerry Springer, and competitive dating also lower one’s IQ by glorifying selfishness, stupidity, and other forms of immoral and uncivilized behavior. Should we as a society reward bad behavior with fame and money? Doesn’t that encourage more bad behavior and send a signal to young people to do the same? I propose it is cruel to broadcast auditions to talent shows when many of the candidates have a painful lack of talent. Okay, it’s hilarious, but low-brow, knuckle-dragging humor at best.
Confrontational shows with themes like Who’s your daddy? and Guess who’s sleeping with your boyfriend? destroy brain cells and foster violence. Emotions run high and, with the already limited intelligence of participants,–measured by the fact that they accepted an invitation to be on the Jerry Springer Show–chairs and fists are destined to fly.
While documentaries, historical shows, scientific discoveries, and such reality shows have merit, they also garner lower ratings, attract fewer viewers, and generate less income. This is an indictment that our civilization’s standards are in free fall.
Hillary Clinton stated that on her ride into a war zone her plane had taken fire, and she had to scramble for cover when they landed. Videotape of her arrival shows a group of school children greeting her with flowers. Where was the media to call out this lie? Well, certain members of the media also have a distant relationship with the facts. The so-called News Anchorman Brian Williams recently admitted he ‘may have’ exaggerated the dangers of a helicopter flight he took a few years ago into a war zone. So his helicopter ‘might’ have taken a hit by a rocket-propelled grenade? Uh huh. And he landed unharmed? Yeeeeah. Ooookay. And he repeated this fiction until men and women in uniform called him out on it. To Clinton and Willams, I say look up the term STOLEN VALOR. Kudos to the honest soldiers who dragged these lies into the light of day.
Pardon the rant, but with an election year coming up, I felt compelled to share my opinion that our society is in sorry condition if it relies on the media or politicians to tell the truth. It seems to me that news and entertainment have blended into something closer to fiction.
For truly fine fiction, locate a bookstore or library. Or download the free Kindle App and search Amazon for free books. You’ll find hundreds of classics for free. I think it’s time to scour my library for books for Marc’s sons. I feel I owe them that.