The network tv season has just about reached its conclusion. Summer re-run season is upon us and in a meaningful way it no longer matters at all. I am effectively down to one show (“The Middle”) that I truthfully consider entertaining. It’s been about two years since “The Big Bang Theory” was funny. “Last Man Standing” which used to add a tiny amount of right wing commentary in with the family sit-com formula had a comatose season that telegraphed the news that this season would be its last. “Kevin Can Wait” is a pale shadow of how funny “King of Queens” sometimes was and nothing else on the tube even mildly interests me. So, I’ve finally had to face it. There is no reason to watch network television anymore. Cable is slightly more promising. There are a few series that I hear are entertaining. I’ve been watching earlier seasons of Silicon Valley and it is funny but hardly worth paying for HBO. I can probably stream whatever I want on Amazon or Netflix or Hulu or blah, blah, blah. So, I can probably also join the ranks of those who have cut the cable and use the internet as their data and entertainment umbilicus. But for me that’s weird.
The baby boomers were raised by the boob tube. It seemed like it was always on. It was the background music to our lives. ABC, NBC and CBS were our babysitters, our teachers, our neighbors and in a strange way our friends. We sort of depended on them to tell us what cars were cool, what other kids were wearing and what music we should listen to. Now I guess that has been replaced by the ubiquitous cell phone link to you-tube and facebook and whatever is trending on Twitter. Well, I don’t do cell phone, but I guess the internet on my laptop is the equivalent. So now I amuse myself with that. But it’s not the same. Sure, I’ve replaced the network news with a handful of blogs and news aggregators. And I search for reviews of movies and cable shows and books on the right-wing blogs and for the most part I can find what I want but something is missing.
In the 1990s I went to work and could talk to coworkers and find out about shows like Seinfeld and Home Improvement and it felt like we all shared a similar perspective on the humor or the take on current events. The writers of the shows reflected the common culture and the sensibilities of the country at large. That’s completely gone. We are fractured and alienated from each other to such an extent that it almost isn’t meaningful to talk about one country as existing anymore. I guess we are at least two peoples. And unfortunately, the group I’m in doesn’t have a media. We have the rudiments of one. But it’s much harder to make it work effectively and it doesn’t feel as seamless and comforting as the old one was.
So, this post is just me thinking out loud and reflecting on where we are. I can remember one day during the Iraq War driving home from work and listening to NPR on the car radio. The slanted and dishonest reporting was so unbearable that I vowed never to listen to another show of any kind on Public Radio or television. And just saying it felt good. But it was the beginning of a long process to identify alternate sources and structures to patronize and support. I buy my fiction from sources that do not force a leftist narrative on their authors. I never click on a news article from the NY Times or the Washington Post or Politico or any of the other leftist mouthpieces. I never watch a Colbert or a Jon Stewart routine. I don’t go to or rent a movie with a leftist slant or agenda. I support politicians who vote for the things I want. I sent a substantial check to Donald Trump during his campaign. I only support charities and organizations that reflect my values. I fill in the gaps around the places where the cancer had to be excised.
And I write this blog. I give my opinions and I spread the word on any people or sites that I think are right wing and useful. And I try to entertain and give encouragement.
So where are we? At the beginning. Is it good enough? No, but it’s a beginning.