It's probably a good thing that I've
never been a Nielsen TV viewer, a political poll-ee or a market
research survey subject. Because I would apparently skew the results
to the point of unacceptability. I just don't seem to fit in. (I mean, I support Mike Gravel, for God's sake. Mike Gravel: the candidate for people who just can't deal with Dennis Kucinich's overwhelming popularity!)
Cases in point:
I assume people are trying to do the right thing, most of the time, and that the default stance toward others should be one of politeness and compassion. Men aren't from Mars*, women aren't from Venus; can't we all just get along? But every time I read best of craigslist, or the cruel comments on a tragic news story on SFGate, or just what our pundits and elected officials are up to, I'm reminded that the world is full of haters who love to hate. Where is all this toxic rage coming from? I mean, I'm at least as cranky and pessimistic as the next person... but it wouldn't occur to me in a million years to actually go after and attack someone whom I don't even know.
- So NBC is taking its shows & promo clips off of YouTube, and media-watcher types are saying that's going to be a big hit for YouTube's traffic. But dang it, I watch YouTube as an alternative to all that predigested media crap, not as an easy delivery channel for it. Am I the only one who would rather see YouTube full of people's Australian political videos and funny movies about their cats than a million boring 30-second clips of "My Name is Earl?" I mean, is TV really such a rare and precious commodity that you need to waste valuable Internet time watching it on top of the hours you get pumped into your living room every day?
- Except, of course, for those crazy foreign exceptions. Like this soccer video (from Russian TV?) and this completely inexplicable Japanese game show.
- Despite my annoyingly vocal anti-TV stance, we watched about an hour of Discovery Health Channel the other day while folding load after load of laundry, and I got the chance to be smugly horrified by FOUR commercials. Three of them were for various anti-bacterial/ -viral/ -biological cleaning products--a longtime pet peeve of mine. A little well-developed germ resistance is good for you. Sanitizing the heck out of everything in your controllable environment, in addition to pumping toxic substances into the air, is just going to make you less able to deal with the pathogens in an uncontrolled (i.e., outdoor) environment. Plus, it opens up the possibility of germs developing resistance to currently effective antimicrobials. Oh, wait--I forgot. Kids don't go outside any more. It's dangerous. And evolution is a hoax.**
- The other commercial that produced that familiar emotional twofer of "ha ha, consumers are silly sheep" and "what the hell has this world come to?" was for the V.Smile Baby, an "infant development system" that's essentially an Xbox for the under-two set. Yes, under two. Because it's never too early to start plopping your kid in front of the TV with a box that goes bing. What's especially terrifying is the "Baby Einstein World of Discoveries" mode that supposedly teaches infants to use Baby Sign Language. What a great idea! Let's take a carefully researched and developed program that fosters closeness and communication between parent and child and turn it into just another animated schlock-chunk on the screen. I wonder: do they teach the sign for "turn it off, Mommy, it's hurting my brain?" Seriously. Go watch the demo.
OK, I'm well and thorougly disgusted now, on the verge of turning into one of those haters whom I profess to hate. Time to go interact with my kids. In front of the TV of course... we've got to socialize those homeschoolers somehow.
*obv., they mostly hail from Uranus
**yay, now I'm going to start getting hundreds of hits from knuckleheads Googling "evolution hoax!"