Think Of The Homeless

There are over 30 million Americans who live on the streets of our nation. Can you consider giving something to a shelter near you? Your fellow human beings need socks because they walk everywhere. Food and shelter are great too, if they will take them. So please give.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Reviews by Hubie Goode: TV or Not TV

TV or Not TV

A long time ago, in a place far, far away, people rose with the sun. They had a good meal in the morning and then headed out to the fields, or black smith shop, or whatever was the method of work used to bring in sustenance to their lives. A person worked for what they needed or wanted, and all too often, as was the case in the old west, they lived their lives on the edge just to get by, sometimes for a greater cause, like freedom, or for something more personal like love.

Whatever may have been the types of lives people lived in the past, entertainment was reserved for the yearly festival, the barn dance or the travelling show when it came to town. Going even further back, when modern convenience wasn’t the focus that it is today, most of the world lived like many third world countries of our own day. Something like electronic media was reserved for the King and his family, and it was the hallmark of what made them separate from the throng. For the common man and woman, sleep, eat and work was life, and they spent most of their waking hours involved in those activities.

Living well has often been advised as the pursuit of excellence, or balance. Either you have something that is personal to you that you do well, and you forge that thing into a usable piece of equipment, for gaining better living standards, or even for bettering mankind, or else you broaden your personal life with a multitude of interests. If you don’t have a talent or an ability to sharpen, then you become a boon to your fellow man, your society or even eventually mankind itself. You raise good kids for the future, you give help to the needy, you make your imprint known to others. 

Blowing four to five hours of your evening after work watching television is more tragic than you might realize. For you will never get those hours back. You will never return to that amount of time you had for yourself, or your fellow man while sitting in front of a television watching other people do their jobs. PBS is one thing, but mindless sitcoms and non-ancillary dramas are quite another. Spending time with imaginary character friends neither improves you as a person or cares for the  people out there who could benefit from your involvement in their lives. You have quit. You have dropped out, for about a third of your daily existence. Considering that you sleep half your life away, this leaves very little time for you to develop the you that you could be, that you should be. It leaves you with a life spent being less than optimal and memories that have more to do with events that never really happened than any authentic reality you could have.

I challenge you to even try for a week to ignore your media involvement. And I mean all of it. TV is but a small cog in the machine now, even though it used to be the BMOC. TV may have some excellent choices for those who are diligent, but the majority of the dumbed down American public doesn’t enjoy excellence, it enjoys pandering, sophmorisms and plain trash. When the trash gets a little old, the public doesn’t go away forever, they just replace it with other media. It’s surprising how poisonous our culture has become, as the common man or woman heads blindly for the cliff’s edge, all the while perceiving great things about the whole exercise. 

A Downward trend

Social epidemiologists have found a disturbing trend, an explosion of depression in the American public. Depression is not only happening on a wider scale, but also at younger and younger ages. Each generation since World War II, and there is about four of them now, have experienced more and more depression as the years have gone by.  In the Archives of General Psychiatry, it has been observed that during the years from 1970 to 1992, depression in American women had more than doubled. The head of the American Psychological Association has come straight out and admitted that America is in the grip of an epidemic of clinical depression. 

How is this happening? Are we victims of some unknown virus? Are microwave ovens altering the atomic structure of our foods and making them unnatural for our bodies? Does fluoride and chlorine in our water supply hold a danger we barely understand? Is life too fast and are modern requirements too demanding for out natural state of being? Are we too alone?

Brainwashed America 

It’s interesting to take a look at Mexican immigrants as they come to America from below the border and then attempt to assimilate themselves into the American culture. Studies have shown that when immigrants first arrive, they are better off psychologically than the Americans they become acquainted with. They had only about half of the usual dysfunction. However, as they Americanized, they became more and more unstable.  After about 15 years the rates of drug use, anxiety and depression doubled from 18 to 32 percent.  This rate is common among Americans, but not immigrants from other countries. 

Mexican men born in America were shown to have five times the depressive episodes than their Mexican born contemporaries. Mexican women have seven times the statistical use of illegal drugs than their Mexican born contemporaries. Education figures mirror this occurrence as a mapping  of children’s scholastic abilities from foreign countries drops significantly with each emerging generation. The smartest kids from Japan, for instance, can’t avoid having lower performing kids  who are born here in America, and so it drops a level with each family generation. The hard, irrefutable facts are these: Americanization makes you dumb and unstable.

What You Put Into A Computer Is What Comes Out Of A Computer

But, again, why is this happening? Is it lack of community, junk food, media brainwashing, the blunting of emotions that comes from a violent and sexualized media environment? A study of the American Medical Association laid some of the blame on the deleterious effects of television and mass communications. Accordingly, they say, we have lost real touch with humanity and replaced it with imaginary experiences which do nothing for our body, mind and spirit. Media has led us to become a nation of spectators of life, not livers of life, and all for the chance to get us to spend our money for corporate benefit, while we merely sit by and consume until the next moment when we can consume again. We watch nature shows instead of hiking with a buddy, or laugh at jokes on TV instead of developing a socially responsible sense of humor, or we watch sex, instead of holding someone close ourselves.

The internet is no better for us. If we spend all night sending emails or posting on facebook, and then go to bed, we have only virtually engaged other people, we haven’t held anyone’s hand, met anyone’s eyes, or perceived anyone’s sorrow. We’ve become insensitive to the automatic things that make people react with people because people in the TV and picture icons on Facebook can’t have any give and take with us. They are only there to fill the time between meals and work and sleep. Your soul knows this. An online community is much too removed to be of the correct benefit to us, and whether or not we realize this consciously, we still perceive it, and it is like eating without having flavor in our food.

In a book called: When Corporations Rule the World, the blame is squarely put upon the rat race we live in. We are all caught in a downward spiral of alienation. The capitalist grab for money and more of it, widens the expanse between ourselves and our family and friends. This creates an inner emptiness that is hard to understand, especially since advertisers would have us believe that their products will solve our problems, if only we will send our money to them. Unfortunately, while they live in big houses and drive Lexus’ cars, we get poorer and poorer and less satisfied with our lives, and so we turn on the TV until we go to bed, to listen to more advertisers. Well, you get the idea. 

It’s interesting how TV seems to know this sort of thing is true. They have made a cottage industry out of the boorish, loudmouthed and clueless character. In 1999, a team of Harvard researchers studied the effects of chronic TV watching. They found that too much TV resulted in an increase in the lack of public involvement, sociability, and an increase in casual rudeness. In fact, they also found that it increased the regularities of “flipping people off”. TV seems to know that if it has a hand in creating a rude public, then they had better create imaginary buddies for that public  that are as reprehensible and unmitigatedly loutish as the public at large is, or at least those who go for the trash in TV.

Just think about the common man of today as compared with the slower, more sane lives people led only three hundred years ago. Today we are steeped in electronic media. Always on the go, never a moment to ourselves to focus on the reality of our own day to day lives. Persistent low level anxiety, frustration, despair, major mood swings and a palpable need for attention in the media circus. But still we believe that happiness is right around the corner, just get that raise, that vacation, that Soloflex®. Revolution is on its way, folks. Just add a disgruntled public to the economic woes of today and the monarchy will soon be losing it’s heads.

TV was once great. The problem is that, like our education system, corporate greed hijacked the best that TV could offer. Better to keep the masses poor and on the couch every night, so we can have all the things of empowerment that they can only wish for. 

Parents need to start the revolution by undoing the “Bewitched” attitude of television, where it is the focal point of the living room, and this goes for mister computer too, or anything that is going to take you away from living your own lives, or your kids own lives for that matter. We as a people need to lessen our dependence on those things which are not human, and which focus on imaginary, usually detrimental ideas which only create dissatisfaction within us. We need to only buy small TVs and have them on a shelf in the closet, while we spend more time with each other in real life. It’s our lives that matter, not some pretend drama or wish fulfillment comedy which only steals our time, and our lives. Considering, of course, that the majority of those who stood in line outside of retail establishments for black Friday and then left with wide screen TV’s , its easy to see that the sale has been made, the public mesmerized. 

We’ll be right back after these messages....

If indeed, we were ever truly here at all.

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