Friday, March 10, 2006

The Dumbening* Of Umerika

This fucker has been festering in my gut for several weeks now, so stand back while I get it out.

The Girl was watching the Winter Olympics closing ceremony a few weeks back, and NBC did the obligatory featurette on the shroud of Turin. The tone of the special had a very 'Touched By an Angel' feel to it, and they reported that "no one has any idea how this image came to be".
- this is the point in the evening when I started screaming at the TV, but we'll get to that later-
They went on to talk to religious scholars and pretty much concluded that the shroud was, truly, a fucking colorform of the 'Big J'. This was on a major network during prime-time.... WHAT THE FUCK?

What I was screaming:
"The fucking pope declared that fucking rag a hoax back in 1389. What the fuck is wrong with people, are we more gullible than those flat-earth lovin', plague-rat pettin', witch burnin' mother fuckers? Jesus tap-dancing Christ, the fucking shroud was fucking carbon-dated to the 13th or 14th centuries. There are dozens of explanations of where this fucking holy cum-rag came from, the least fucking likely answer being a mother-fucking drippy Jesus. FUUUUUCK!"
Or something to that effect.
The point is that I'm screaming at an inanimate object at the top of my lungs, The Girl is looking at me like I'm trying to stuff a rabid honey-badger down my drawers, and the dog went off to hide in the bathtub. I then sat down and begrudgingly continued to read my magazine.

Well, that stuck in my (proverbial) craw, and over the past few weeks I've noticed several other examples of this phenomena. The worst is on the Discovery Channel, the National Geographic Channel, The Learning Channel, and the History Channel; these used to be the educational networks, now they're just sensational, empty, fucking pablum. It's all crap about tattoos, cars, motorcycles, sports disasters, home renovation, ghosts, cryptozoological creatures, and U.F.fuckingO.s. Turn this shit on at any time of the fucking day, and you'll get some shit like this:
Is this actual footage of an alien autopsy , or video of Ed and the Old Dog double-teaming a blow-up doll? Well, no one knows for sure, but after this commercial break we'll have some German weirdo with HUGE fucking eyebrows and a pentagram pendant talk authoritatively of how this video proves that Bigfoot and the Druids founded Atlantis.

What happened? No wonder everyone in this country is so fucking stupid, Americans are led to believe that all of this crazy shit is fact. All of the aforementioned programs build up these myths, rather than debunk them. It's fucking stupid. Arrrrrrgh!

If you want to stare at a void to forget your lousy existence; then, by all means, go nuts with this dreck. If you want facts, watch Penn & Teller's 'Bullshit'.

And a special fucking note to TLC:
You're named the LEARNING Channel, not the 'Wild-Ass Speculation Channel'. Get your shit together; I live 2.5 miles south of your world headquarters (Discovery too) and own enough firepower to depose a 3rd world government - Don't give me a reason.

The "If you cant say something nice..." addendum:
I have to say that the History Channel's new series 'Declassified' is superb. It's your typical 'Inside the CIA' program, but with rapid flashing violent images accompanied by nu-metal guitar riffs between segments. For some reason, I fucking LOVE it - It's like catnip to me.
I Tivoed the 'Joseph Stalin' episode, and have watched it 3 or 4 times already - whenever it comes on, the dog hides (so you know it's good).

*yes, I know "dumbining" isn't a word - Neither is Umerika, you jackass.


Michael K said...

Josh, as my mom is always telling me, you need to give it up to Jesus. Lay your burden down and let the LAWD carry it for you. We are all* welcome in the LAWDS kingdom. Remember that God believes in you even if you don't believe in him.

*Except for muslims, buddhists, hindus, jews, scientists and liberals.

The Old Dog said...

I understand your anger. I, too, can't stand listening to idiotic TV productions that drag that shit out once a year. You're right about those channels. After they ran out of material and realized that there's more money to be made in schlok shows, rather than close-up shop, they dumbed down - way down.

Although, I really like a good UFO or Loch Ness Monster show. Even after the Loch Ness hoax was admitted too, they continue to throw it out there. I love it! They know their audience is the guy on the men in black episode of X-Files who says, "I didn't play Dungeons and Dragons all those years and not learn a thing or two about courage!"

And yes, that is me and ed with a blow-up doll. When it became public, we were pretty worried about the consequences, but when it became apparent that nobody recognized us, we relaxed for several years. The fear began to set in again, though. It's really a relief to have it finally out in the open. Thank you.

edP said...

Regarding the alien autopsy - only Old Dog and I know for sure...

...the truth is in there.

Gundy said...

You forgot about the shows about Nazis. Elise used to call the History Channel the "Hitler and things that can kill you" Channel.

I simply can't watch television. When there's something good enough to watch, I download it, commercial-free. Yes, I do it illegally, but it's the only way I can have it my way. I stopped downloading music illegally last year because the music industry provided a system that I found agreeable. In the process, I've found that the less exposure I have to commercials and passive "waiting for the show I want to watch to come on", killing time viewing, I have a much lower tolerance for the true crap that hits the screen.

What kills me is the fact that the rest of the country either lacks the hardware and know-how to do the same, or is quite happy to baste their brains with colostomy bag entertainment. I'd feel better about it if they stopped breeding, but that isn't going to happen any time soon, so the system needs to change.

We live in the age of Media-On-Demand. Not only can we can watch exactly what we want, at the exact time that we want to watch it, we can also watch it wherever we go. We can also wait to find out if something is good enough to deserve our attention. If the entertainment industry would only embrace this concept, the wheat would get separated from the chaff very quickly. Couldn't all shows be as good as Lost and Arrested Development? Do I really need to wait through The War At Home for Family Guy to come on after The Simpsons? Why isn't Comcast the Napster-To-Go for cable television yet?

Is this what's killing us in our old age? Are we riding the line between the intellectual elite and Joe Sixpack and realizing that Something's Wrong? What's in the sausage?

Gundy said...

Oh that's right, I forgot. If we were only getting laid more, we wouldn't care how Jesus made a bodystamp for the Pope's scrapbooking class.

Prairie Dawg said...

Fuck that shit. You guys can go stick your heads in the sand. I'm going to find out who really killed JFK tonight at 9:00!

Chris B. said...

My little wifey was concerned for my mental well-being the first time she caught me yelling at the TV. I think it was a Bears game.

The Learning Channel is no different from CNN or any other station driven by viewership and advertising. Sensationalism (and sex) sells.

Gundy - if you could see what people actually watch "on demand", I think you'd be even more disillusioned.