Pulling Out the Savoy Truffle

Reflections on music, literature, politics, and pop culture from retired rock musician, writer, and college professor Jim Booth. Email comments to Jim at jim@jimbooth.org.

Location: Advance, North Carolina, United States

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Social Distortion and the TV Generation

"I am the slime in your video...."

Frank Zappa

Check out this Brian Fairrington cartoon a friend sent me. (Click on the Fairrington cartoon for 4/7.)

True enough cartoon in its simplistic Republican way, but I think far too many parents are ill equipped to cope these days. The information/consumer/demagogue culture we live in is beyond the navigating capabilities of too many of its painfully ill-educated and poorly informed voyagers.

A media saturated culture overwhelms everything in its path. We're experiencing the Johnstown flood of information - and like with that disaster, with this one there's little time to do anything other than try to keep from drowning in trivia. When one has to struggle to discern news from entertainment or political scheming, passing along the best information to one's offspring becomes an exercise in frustration....

Makes explaining/modeling/fomenting societal change almost impossible....

Perhaps this explains the lack of a coherent protest movement against Dubya and the Iraq debacle or, as I and many others with the Hollywood lingo like to call it, "Vietnam II: The Sequel.... "

Or maybe if we as a society spent less time worrying about when kids should be allowed to become pro athletes (affecting less than .5% of the population) and more time worrying about the competency of our citizenry to handle basic social responsibilities such as parenting (affecting about 80% of the population), we wouldn't be faced with any more baleful celebrations like that 5th anniversary of Columbine we had yesterday....

To return you to consideration of the cartoon for a few moments, anybody out there who doesn't think TV rots the mind?

If you do find redeeming value in television, let me persuade you otherwise - American Idol comes on tonight, I think. Try 10 minutes of that, then tell me TV isn't the opium of the masses....

Haven't you noticed that Discovery, TLC, and the other "learning channels" have all gone to programming that consists of interior "decorating," true crime "reporting," and celebrations of war of one kind or another?

It says a good deal about us as a society, a culture, and a country when some of the most socially responsive and insightful programming we can access in our 200 channel TV universe is on Comedy Central....

We are a nation of sheep being tended by wolves and jackals, and if we get slaughtered it's our own damned fault....



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