Sunday, January 15, 2012
Paid programming fills valuable airtime with 1/2 hour commercials that preach the health benefits of electric blenders and takes up space that could have been used for innovation. Thanks to your profit-centered commercial motivation the general public is subjected to 1) hairy-armed, brawny men yelling at us to buy their cleaning products, 2) once overweight ladies trying to convince us that their nutritional supplements should be a part of a daily healthy lifestyle, 3) unbelievable demonstrations of little plastic cups that should be employed in place of nature's shells to hard boil eggs, 4) mean-faced, spitting owners of gold buying services shaking hundred dollar bills in our face, and 5) some guy named Vince jumping around with a clothes brush telling us to get rid of our pussy hairs (he actually uses that term, I'm not trying to be stupid). This is not advertising. These are acts of ugliness and a personification of the phrase attributed to P.T. Barnum – "there is a sucker born every minute".
You, television industry leaders, have taken what could have been a positive element in the lives of millions of viewers and done nothing but try to prove H.L. Mencken's “No one in this world, so far as I know has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people” with a preponderance of senseless reality shows, idiotic game shows where every contestant appears to have "a beautiful wife and three lovely children", mindless pseudo-celebrity-ridden talk shows and three hour so-called newscasts complete with opinionated news readers, self-professed pundits of every persuasion and weathermen who presume to tell me what I'm eating is wrong. Why? Simply because these shows cost little to produce. And the associated profits resonate with shareholders. And after all, bonuses are given for slick frugality, not quality.
Well your three hundred dollar haircuts have caught up with you – television's days are numbered. You have given new technology, with its interactive, personal experience, a reason to be.
Parents would much rather have their children using their free time playing video games or surfing the web for age-appropriate sites rather than watching an "arts" channel showing poor, disturbed people who pack their houses to the ceiling with crap or confrontations with hapless addicts in hotel rooms. Young people, instead of purchasing a cable television package and having their intelligence insulted with freaky bounty hunters, embarrassing talent shows judged by so-called stars (sipping their sponsored soft drinks), and "entertainment" programs that do nothing but follow the antics of celebrities of no particular redeeming social value, are now getting their news from the web and downloading the programming they want to see when they want to see it. Quality dramas, educational programs, sporting events, and movies. Older folks are flicking off the tube and discovering YouTube, watching a video, taking walks in nature, reading books on tablets, getting together with friends on Skype or rediscovering actual in-person visits and even playing (shudder) board games. Even 1080 HD, 3D, gazillion-inch flat screens and PBS can't save you now.
Now, people have options. And instead of spending the last 40 years building reasons why they don't need these options and need not switch to them, you have done nothing but give people every reason to do so.
As Gomer Pyle once said, "Shame, shame, shame!"
Posted by Rand MacIvor at 5:08 PM