Blow up your TV

By Joe Tassi | Jun 28, 2009

Blow up your TV. I mean it. Take it out of the house and blow it up on the front lawn. Then no one on TV can tell you about the advancing enemy because you just blew the enemy up.

OK, maybe there is an ordinance restricting explosives from being used within town limits, but I think you could smash it with a sledge hammer without committing any civil offense. If cold turkey withdrawal is too scary, if that still seems too extreme, how about just shutting it off or restricting what is watched. And let’s observe more closely our reactions to what we watch and how it makes us feel.

To all the Fox, CNN, MSNBC fans out there I ask: Does "The O’Reilly Factor," "Situation Room with Wolfe Blitzer" or "Hard Ball with Chris Mathews" make us feel better after watching? Or do these shows just prey on and ratchet up our fears, promising open debate while exclusively promoting the agenda of their corporate masters, bellowing party line talking points lock stock and sound bite, feeding the ravenous pack until the dogs (us) no longer like the food?

Since Jan. 20, 2009, we have heard about the economy, bank bailouts, the ailing auto industry, Afghanistan, the Dick Cheney rewrite history world tour, Boss Limbaugh’s ascension to the Republican throne, Arlen Spector’s defection to the Democratic Party, water boarding, closing GITMO, what to do with incarcerated terrorists (not in my super high security prison), Pelosi vs. the CIA, pay for play for Obama’s former Senate seat, and now President Obama has nominated a Latina for a seat on the Supreme Court. Whew I’m exhausted.

If that's not enough, the drug companies keep pounding us relentlessly with advertisements for new drugs that might help the symptoms of our diseases if the side effects of the drugs don’t cause heart attack, stroke or kill us outright. And aren’t you glad that older men can still get a drug induced erection at will. I’m sure their wives are. Media is a drug and we have become addicts.

When I was a kid TV programming was aimed at an eighth-grade audience. In other words the general public, you and me, were assumed to be no smarter than an eighth-grader. I wonder what the assumption is today.

When we are afraid we either submit or react, sometimes violently. Social uprising can generally be neutralized with police or military force and so our most likely course is to submit and live in fear of the advancing enemy of the moment. Another possible course, however, might be to simply reject programming designed to keep us living in fear. If we stop watching fear-based programming, advertisers will stop spending advertising dollars and networks will either offer viewers more suitable programming or they could cease to exist. As consumers we have always had the power. They need us much more than we need them.

Breaking our addiction to fear won’t be easy or happen overnight but it’s worth thinking about. Or, you can just blow up your TV.
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