Thursday, November 20, 2008


There's a something under the header that seems to prove if you don't have television you can find plenty to do. Click and see.
It's time I ran a rant (I don't hardly ever do that, I'm told). (But then I have been told I've got good looking legs, too.)
I was raised way back when all TV was in black and white. Advertisers were more careful about their claims, too. Well, mainly. I mean, every cigarette brand claimed it was the mildest. Every car claimed it was the best and most reliable. Every beer said it was the best tasting and smoothest. And so on. And on.
But it was nothing like the horrendous television of today.
We had Roller Derby, but nothing like the bloody fake of modern wrestling. We had baseball games, but we didn't have commercials every half inning. And the players didn't take drugs of any kind. Well, we knew some of them emulated Babe Ruth and trained on beer, though.
Married couples had to have separate beds. No cuddling up in the same sheets. (I sometimes wondered how they managed to have children. If he crept over to her bed or she to his.)Comedians didn't need to use curse words and off color phrases to make audiences laugh. You laughed because they were actually funny.
Football was a fun sport built on talent. There weren't commercials that showed up every time a football was kicked or a time out called. Or a player injured. Or just because. We could really enjoy watching a game.
When a star showed up on their own show, they were applauded at the end of the show so that they knew we liked the show and their performance. We weren't held to ransom before they would let us see what they were offering. If a "star" wanted our praise , they had to earn it first.(Yeah, some shows didn't deserve much in the way of applause. Same as today.)
Newscasts had real news stories. Not fluff, not mainly weather reports that really didn't say anything. Bad readings and mispronunciationswere corrected before they went on air, statements that were obviously biased and misleading were vetted carefully. The 30 minute shows were not filled with way too many ads (most of them to tell us less than intelligent viewers that their station was the best).
There were real heroes (at least for the kids) on TV then, too. Hopalong, Matt Dillon, Superman (without the sexual angle) and on and on. Clean living and straight arrows. There were no junkie detectives, no mentally confused sex crime solvers, no cops hampered about who were the real bad guys, nor what they were guilty of. (You know, like it is in real life.)
We survived without shows that had guests fist fighting for the slack jawed audience's pleasure. All shows insisted that featured players use the mid-west accent because that was most easily understood by the vast majority of Americans. There was no hope of success for TV that ignored easily understood English.
Yes, there were mediocre shows (a head of the FCC once called television a "vast wasteland" in a formal speech to Congress). For the most part, these survived one season only. Shows that had valid morality to teach in a palatable manner lasted for a number of seasons.
An interesting article:
The state of Maine gave a test to about 15,000 eighth-graders to assess their writing skills, including their ability to form a logical position.
When the state refused to release the results, a newspaper filed a Freedom of Information Act request and learned that 78 percent of the kids failed, which was 50 percent more than failed the test the previous year.
Maine's Department of Education explained the results were "inconclusive", and they discarded them because students reacted emotionally to the test.
"Kids got ticked off at the [question]," explained Education Commissioner Susan Gendron, "so it was not an accurate reflection of their writing skills." The essay-based test asked the students to support or refute the statement, "Television may have a negative impact on learning."
It is also a bit amazing how defense attorneys can, in one instance, claim their client was affected by all the violence on TV and in another case, claim their defendant just could not be affected by the TV violence. And win the respective cases. Somewhere, a big duh needs to be added to that.
But my very biggest gripe is about advertising on the one eyed monster. Seemingly not satisfied with 30% or more of the air time being taken up by commercials, now the stations are advertising throughout the shows we're trying to enjoy. They drop their obnoxious logos on the screen, then run an ad above or along side of it and the, gentle reader, have the nerve and crassness to stick another ad next to that conglomeration. A solid strip of advertising that, in my case make me resolve to NOT watch theadvertised show and have reservations about tuning that station in again. But the majority are doing that now. What part of "Quit trying to ruin my enjoyment of this show. Save your advertising for a specified slot."
And that goes for football, too. Keep your damned (sorry, Scarlett) ads for a proper place. It is time the American people rose up and in a loud voice screamed "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"
Where's Newton Minow now? We need someone like him.