Friday, June 12, 2009

Television Trauma

Today, a terrible and gut-wrenching national trauma comes to a head.

No, it's not the issues of gun control and racial tension as a result of the murder of a guard by a deranged white supremacist at the National Holocaust Museum.

No, it's not the issue of abortion as a result of the recent murder of a doctor (in church, no less) who performed abortions.

It's the transition from analog to digital television.

Yes, my friends, today is the day on which everyone with an older, analog TV set who has not obtained and installed a converter box to replace the old rabbit-ears antenna will find himself the proud owner of a large paperweight.

The horror, the horror!

I really don't understand how the poor folks who had old analog TV sets managed to survive without the 7,462 channels of television provided by their local cable systems. How could one manage in today's world without access to Jewelry Television, SOAPNet, The Church Channel, and 479 different sports channels?

Television offerings were the subject of a discussion at the bus stop yesterday afternoon. One of my fellow riders, a lady pursuing her masters degree in History, was lamenting that The History Channel had morphed over time into an "all World War II, all the time" format ... and that when she complained, they met her halfway by introducing shows like "Modern Marvels" which feature exciting topics like "The History of the Wrench." This could, of course, be an exciting show if you're one of those people who buys Popular Mechanics magazine for the centerfold, but somehow it falls a bit short for most of us.

The ultimate outcome of the transition from analog to digital television is that we'll have the same 7,462 channels of crud ... we'll just receive them in a crystal-clear high definition format.

It was the great radio and early television star Fred Allen who once said that television was a medium, because anything well-done is rare. I often wonder what he'd have thought about modern cable TV with its almost endless opportunities for niche programming. Need a show about cooking marinated emu intestines? It's probably out there. Want a "reality" show about attractive young people thrown together in utterly unrealistic situations? Got that, too. How about fly-fishing in streams which flow from northeast to southwest in states whose names begin with "A" and have populations between 13-28% gay? I'm sure you can find it in the "Sports Band" your cable service offers.

Whatever happened to the great shows like "Green Acres," "Mission: Impossible," and "The Great Adventure?"

Oh, yes - there's a channel for them, too: TVLand.

Groucho Marx was right - television is very educational. Whenever someone turns it on, go into the next room and read a good book.

And, sadly, even the book is likely to be digital today.

Have a good day. Cartoon Saturday coming tomorrow.



Amanda said...

I'm proud to say that since 5 May, I have watched 2 hours of TV. That is an enormous accomplishment for a TV addict like me.

While I am very strict with Aaron's TV time, I'll admit that part of the reason why I get him to bed by 7.30 in Palembang is so that I can sit in front of the idiot box awhile.

Leslie David said...

Bruce Springsteen said it best before cable proliferated the way it did:"57 channels and nothing on."

michelle said...

SOAPNet is good for one thing - they show the Original BH 90210 :D

I'm actually surprised they didn't delay the switch again... with the way some are acting you would think the Y2k meltdown was getting ready to happen again ;)

Mike said...

So THAT'S what happened to my television! Why didn't they tell us this was going to happen?!

twinkie said...

I really don't understand the whole analog vs digital thing. All I know is I'm covered.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

I'd never resort to digital for books! Never! My eyes couldn't take it.

anOCgirl said...

there is nothing worth watching on tv except the news and glenn beck crying. books are way better!