So You’re Offended by the Super Bowl Half-Time?
All this pseudo-outrage over a bare-breasted moral meltdown at the Super Bowl half-time has me scratching my head. Yes, people have the right to bloviate all they want to, but the solution to the problem of crude dudes on the boob tube (pun intended) is so obvious a blind man could see it:
TURN OFF THE STUPID TV AND LEAVE IT OFF!
On Super Bowl Sunday I took my wife out to dinner. Neither of us was even remotely interested in watching prime time commercialism run amok. (We made sure that the restaurant did not have a TV blaring in the corner, either.) I refuse to get my war news from the major networks. TV prefers to sanitize war. It delights in showing the rescue of a cute blond-haired soldier but not a badly burned Iraqi boy. Disagree? The following was ABC’s Wednesday night promo on April 9, 2003.
Tonight at 9 PM don’t miss The Bachelor. He’s handsome, he’s single, he’s heir to a fortune. What lucky girl will he choose? And at 10, it’s an ABC News Special Report: The Battle For Baghdad.
Barbara Ehrenreich once said: “When you watch television, you never see people watching television. We love television because it brings us a world in which television does not exist.”
You wish. “We’ve managed to turn this into a truly viable American holiday” said Bob Thompson, a professor of culture and TV at Syracuse, referring to the Super Bowl. “But the centerpiece isn’t the Christmas tree or the turkey, it’s the TV set, and cuisine you can pick up at the convenience store.” Now that’s sad.
Remember the joke about the guy who got a fortune cookie with a message in it that read: “Help, I’m being held captive in a fortune cookie factory?” Well, in a twist on that, I can hear TV addicts murmuring, “Help, this idiot box of mine is spewing forth idiocy!” Like, duh.
So here’s a question: What if you just stopped wasting your brainwaves on the airwaves? Oh, I hear people moaning despairingly, if only producers would police themselves and protect us from fiascos like the one that took place during the Super Bowl burlesque show. My answer is, You’re whining about what? Get real, folks. There’s so much idiotic trash on the tube that it’s become a joke, albeit a very serious one. Once again, the solution that says “Clean up your act, or else!” is as effective as trying to hang ten without a surfboard. The network Big Boys will only resort to their arsenal of money, lies, and excuses.
The greatest danger in our society these days is not network programming. Rather, it is the insidious tendency of We the Viewing Public to relinquish any modicum of common sense. We have become a nation of glued-to-the-tube numbskulls who prefer “Reality TV” to life as our Creator God intended it to be lived. The irony is that those of us who are most aware of the problem—not to mention the solution—are willing to sacrifice their evening worship services and choir rehearsals for ephemeral amusements such as a silly football game.
The bottom of the bottom line: Breaking up IS hard to do, as the old song says. If we were really serious about cutting our television umbilical cords we would have no alternative but to find other ways of entertaining our lonely psyches—ways that might actually require creativity or, may it never be, activity! Meanwhile, why should we go through the trouble of facing our problems when we can hide them inside a 36 inch box? Dead fish prove it’s easier to go with the flow than to swim upstream.
So let’s stop pretending. We have no intention of doing what our common sense demands and turning off our TVs. And, since that’s the case, it sure don’t make an awful lot of sense to browbeat the TV execs for feeding us the Mad Cow Fare we crave.
February 4, 2004
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com. His latest book, Why I Stopped Listening to Rush: Confessions of a Recovering Neocon, will be released this year.