Where It's At...Part III
Television...The Visual Garbage Can

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By Brian Sidler - Former Music Writer For Chicago Music Magazine

(Chicago, IL 20 October 2007) Let's talk about an effect here. Let's call this effect...the law of diminished expectations. What do we mean by that? Well on this particular head, we mean that when one becomes accustomed to something that isn't so good in terms of our entertainment and information mediums, we tend to dismiss the effect that it has on us and use it anyway.

The problem is, a few generations of young people throughout the world who didn't know life before television, have nothing to compare it to..."it"...being life, by comparison...with television and...without television. So the psychological filter of the people who've seen life before television and those that know nothing but life with television, is quite substantially different in terms of perceptive reasoning when processing this information on the fly...or as it's happening.

This "filter" is important. And now, throughout most of the world, it is all but gone. The pre-depression generation, depression generation, post depression generation, WWII war baby generation and the now the early boomer generation of the 20th Century that would know the difference about what life was like without television, are beginning to fade from prominence in terms of societal political content and direction. Too, the educational standards that prevailed during the educational and formative years of these peoples have been severely diminished by the school systems in most places on the globe. So, the idea that there are things which should be adhered to from a more steady and quasi traditional point of view, seems also, to have been completely voided from societal consciousness. And there, forms the negative...to the detriment of all of us in the English speaking and free world.

The vector here is, you can't tell somebody how to have a bit of class when conducting themselves. You can't teach it by telling someone what to do. You have it, or you don't. It's an instinct. And if you do have "class" you have it as an instinctual absorbed behavior, and that was also likewise...an absorbed behavior...by example, not something spoken, from those that preceded you and that you modeled yourself after by virtue of your admiration for that individual or group of individuals. In other words, it is osmotic. We humans are much like, believe it or not, wolf packs in the wild. That is to say, there is an order of things in human existence. What that order is, is the point in consideration and how that order is disrupted by televised input.

Now, the considerable shift in accepting different methods of decorum in public as well as, individual expression in public has been severely eroded.

The Baby Boom generation wasn't right with everything it did. On the lighter side for a minute, isn't that just so nice of us to admit? But anyway, for that matter every preceding generation had its set of peculiar foibles and faux pas. The Boomers didn't invent sexual expression in public they expanded it. Its been steadily on the rise since before the Greeks and Romans. However as the population increased as well as the means to communicate on a broader, mass scale, so too did the acceptance of it as part of public life. To wit...the Roaring Twenties in America. The same goes for alcoholism or the use of any intoxicant for that matter.

As for rank consumerism and the accompanying acceptable mores of human consumption...the comedian George Carlin said it best on one of his earliest album releases: "If you nail two things together, some schmuck'll buy it." To date in fact, his latest venture on HBO employs this theme. It leads off the whole show.

Television is now meant for one thing and one thing only...marketing conquest and brainwave control of the populations of any particular country, linked to their understanding of their worlds around them and what they should be doing with their time. The question arises in our conscience, are we better off with it? Other than the case of broadcasting an urgent message for the public good and safety, do the other uses of television at this point in time, given the state of communication arts presently, of this medium, compliment our lives or form a basis for depredation? Certainly, one could argue that watching the news everyday no matter how poor the presentation, is important, thereby forming a basis of validity on that single head. How sound is the affirmative to that question?

We think...not very. The modern world did quite well with a radio and "listening" to programming rather than "watching" it. Listening is a much more in depth process on some levels. Blind people live by listening and hearing their environment, do they not?

What is also very disconcerting is the use of ROCK along with it. Some few years ago, there was a comedy bit performed on Saturday Night Live which used the comedic sensibilities of Will Farrel and the SNL crew, which lampooned a rock band during a recording session and the use of a cowbell rhythm and its appearance as an eminent track integral to the song. It was reminiscent of Spinal Tap. For those of you who have seen this and can recall this bit, we can find no more fitting of an editorial remark than this. For those others we would say to you, that ROCK as being espoused by the entertainment moguls in the fat cat media centers of the world is tired, overworked, underpaid (to the performers of it) and totally void of any of its former luster. We can find two words in summation and most fitting: It Sucks!

Along with the use of Rock in the medium there is advertising. This particular subject will be looked at more in depth later, however we would express briefly and again, that advertising, the manner in which it is purveyed, the state of the art in terms of it's content, and the manner in which it continues to develop likewise...SUCKS!

We are again also reminded of one of our favorite lampoons where, in it, a piece of poster art, a high brow woman holding a bejeweled cigarette holder and caught in profile in sort of an Aubrey Beardsley-ish black and white rendering, is caught in caption saying: "Classic Hollywood: Who invited all these tacky people anyway?

Tell us people, is your sex life the only thing that you can focus on (of course we think not) in terms of the meaning of your existence? Is the suggestion by the advertising community worldwide which is, "if you buy this, you will be ultimately more sexy to someone else", a maxim whereby we should continue to reflect our most worthy considerations? Do these tacky assholes think, that this is going to continue unnoticed? Should the News Organizations of the world receive continued support with its use of this medium as a manner of main sustenance? Should a message of any nature be put forward at any expense, especially at the continued patience of all of US, the audience? Should the advertising moguls of the world be considered as anything but pigs with no imagination? As for the production centers of NYC, Hollywood, London, Paris, et al…is sex and death and the various forms of stories you can weave it into, the only thing that you can imagine to do? We think it all too disgusting for words to ponder. Yet, we must turn our attention towards it for the routing out, of it.

Should the tail (literally!) continue to wag the dog?

So here's the next place we're jumpin' from:

So, when the same principle is applied to the effect that garbage television and radio can have on populations, there are many instances when we can see more or less that this is so. But let's return to the "law" of diminished expectation.

This is a very insidious, silently disquieting residual of the culture we find ourselves unwittingly immersed in. We use the word unwittingly because we have not too much to say about what is purveyed to us along these...ahem...channels. Unless you think that audience response testing units are, or should be the arbiter of what it is that the producers of the worlds television studios shall in fact bring to full bore fruition and force feed us, along with equally rank, manic commercials bent on urging us in any particular mercenary direction the sponsors wish to suggest.

The argument: One could always turn the channel to a different one, right? However, when you have 200 other channels equally as low rent as the one you just turned away from, yet wishing entertainment from the medium (and it could be a much better used medium, looking from the standpoint of singularly, a "medium" as such, it's excellent for communications) what should you do if you want something of quality, imagine it? Watch the television in your minds eye and turn the electric one off? Perhaps. But how many people have that gift, were it to be called such, to be able to do that? Well, not many...daydreaming is something so few of us have any time to do anymore considering the fact that we're all scrambling to ease our living strain so we can pay the fat cats (of the government/corporate megaplex for making the guns that allegedly keep us all safe from the bad guys) our taxes on what it is we make. Isn't that right? Are we missing something? Again, we don't think so.

So, The collective...ummm...that's US, are being subjected to this garbage daily, when actually, since we're all involved in the "War On Terror", we could all use a good vibe. Did they forget the Disney movie Snow White? Ya know, "Whistle While You Work". After all, if they're going to treat us like the dwarfs, can't they think to be at least a bit more tactful than they are? Why do they assault our collective intelligence? Is there ever a time when having enough money in the bank, is in fact enough money to have?

We don't think that anybody can raise the objection that lumping all the fat cats together is not a legit demographic. The politicians - political moguls, and corporation moguls, media moguls, industrial moguls, et al...all cavort and cajole with each other and laugh about their last golf outing, (and what a boojy game that's become) while their wives gossip about each other, who is wearing what, or the latest crap in whatever the subject of the day is. Does anybody doubt that this demographic, is not in fact a reality. Is this not a true plutocracy? Does anybody doubt that this is not in fact a complete oligarchy, replete with all the players we see in the mass mediums of communication as quote, unquote...the movers and shakers of this world we all seem to be present in? We ask you, who the hell do they think they're kidding?

Well...we don't think it is unrealistic or unreasonable to consider this as fact, whatsoever! We don't think you do either. As a mater of course, we think most of you who read this are of the same considerate, deliberative conclusion. The free-speaking peoples of the world have far more in common than anything our duplicitous diplomats could advise, would divides us. Yes?

Let's continue to break this down. And with your gracious attentions, may we? What is really going on here? The world of commerce includes all of us, right? Whether we are at the head or the tail, right? Everybody (us that are fortunate enough to find jobs, meaningful or un) is contributing to the GWP (Gross World Product) right? Those that are at the top are calling the shots, right? The free market or laissez faire capitalism, is the directive of popular consent for quite some time now, right? It's the personal right for you to choose how you will battle for independence within this structure, and that is what all the shooting is about, right? Which is to say we're fighting over different systems of the governance of populations and a particular population's ability to produce useful commerce which contributes, to the greatest extent possible, the betterment of the GWP.

Here's the questions in terms of the preceding questions: Why shouldn't there be great music and in general, great entertainment when we need it most; while we're locked in this struggle, that they ("they" being a term, advisedly used) got us into? Just because they have bad taste and they've taught several generations, by now, to have bad taste, should they continue to foster such tactic to enrich themselves? Why, just because it makes them money? Why is money such a God? Do you mean to say that luxuriating ourselves is the end all, be all of existence? Is it not true, that the more aggrandizing any particular culture becomes in terms of its decadence, that it loses it's power by the same proportions? Has not history taught the collective, from top to bottom, that this particular societal malady always repeats itself? Was the late President George Washington, wrong in proclaiming those statements, (as captioned in Part II The Sellout) to the people of America? Is it any less true now, no matter what country you're from?

Please consider this.

Well history does repeat itself, doesn't it? We'll not go into the hundreds of examples we don't think it's necessary, most who'll read this get the picture. And it's a sad statement to make. Why should history repeat itself?

In answer to the above question, it repeats itself because the collective seems to have an attention deficit when it is preoccupied with aggrandizing itself. The mad rush for material comfort as advertised on the channels of the TV's around the free world is what spurs rank consumeristic pursuit. The thoughts implanted into the population..."Ya see, your life will be much with this, than without it"...at the behest of the worlds most powerful advertising engines, the corporate megastructure which continue the advocacy for their products. Well that's commerce, one might say. Sure, it is. However commerce at the expense of higher sensibilities is showing signs of residual abuse. How could anyone not see that?

Kids in America, have to be searched for weapons on the way into school? People have to be scrutinized at airports for weapons? Why?

The reasons are so compounded and confounding that forensic science has become an art which must be practiced at a skill level, never before thought possible or necessary! How can the rise of violence in the world be accounted for? What, population growth and thereby a scalular proportion is attributable to this fact? Such convenience in terms of an answer can hardly be accurate. What accounting can we make? Is it a collective chemical imbalance? Are the things we eat, the depletion of the oxygen supply and other such factors effecting our collective brain chemistry to the degree that there are just more brain damaged folks to begin with? Where is it coming from?

What we are suggesting with all the inquiry we are directly provoking is that this mad rush for consumeristic joy has many of us asleep at the wheel. This is the sublimation we are talking about in part one of this article. This sublimation likewise makes us complacent about, and with...the status quo. The truth is, there are not enough personnel in the engines of progress against this insidious direction to counter it.

Here's some more questions that have to do with "THE SELLOUT." How many cars can you drive at the same time? How many sets of golf clubs can you use when you are playing a round? Hey, if you've got a bad swing do you think a new set of Pings is going to make a difference? How much food can you eat at one sitting? How many eye pencils, eye shadow, lipsticks, etc. can you use at one time? Does having a diamond make you a better person? Do thin people have a moral leg up on fat people? Does having the latest fashion make you more acceptable. Is having something new better than having something old? How much living space does a family of four really require for a comfortable existence. Is 12,000 square feet of floor space better than, 1800? How much is increased in terms of real life by the increase of that measure?

How many pairs of shoes do you need? How many dresses do you need to go out with on any given occasion? What is more important self worth or net worth? Let's cut to the chase, what is more utilitarian, good looks, or being good?

The vanity we are implying inherent in these lines of questions is the bottom line delimiter. We are implying that rank vanity feeds rank consumerism. We are implying that by giving into the advertised notions of what a good life is, as espoused by the commercials we watch, which pay for the terrible programming we are subjected to, contributes to the depredation of the entire collective.

So then, we go to houses of worship on certain days of the week depending on your particular leaning or birth religion and the preacher gives you your dose of guilt for having these notions...an hour or two later, goodbye guilt, hello Budweiser.

Ya know what? It's not even necessary that you agree with every conclusion that we have taken the liberty to draw as example for what it is we think. We would suggest however, that there is enough here to find agreement with rather than the counter.

And when you listen to the theme songs of the programs coming across the world channels. When you hear the kind of beat used in the compositions for commercials. Tell us, doesn't it sound like Rock, and in many instances excerpts from songs we know and love by themselves, without the product standing in the way?

Well people...they're using the music to conquest the commerce!

Quite frankly, something stinks in Denmark and it ain't FISH! Or is it?

My name is Brian Sidler and I write about music, et al.


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