I hid the truth when they allowed me to write about entertainment and art.
So here it is. At the heart of the modern day of the topic is what I avoid. It’s a TV. I haven’t gladly seen it for 25 years.
I’m editing a story about “television” (how do you define it now?), So I know some about it. For example, I know that “Mare of Easttown” was not the story of the Devon Horse Show.
Still, all the while, I’m a remote Lip Van Winkle. I learned to live without TV, and I like life. In a quarter of a century of time when I wasn’t devoted to seeing, I did a lot. I don’t have much time left.
And as I progress, I like to soften and adjust my arousal and sensitivity to the world. And I realized that I couldn’t do that in the presence of an alert screen.
I don’t want anyone to hate TV. This is a habit and there is generally evidence that most of the world does not want to live like me.
Choice of dystopia
If you want to give a brief discussion of television, there is a book by Neil Postman called “Amusing Ourselves to Death” that reveals everything I started thinking about.
It was 1985. What he wrote was what we called “television” at the time. In 2021, we called it “reality.”
Postman abstractly assembled his argument about two great literary dystopias of the 20th century, Huxley and Orwell.
Despite paying attention to “1984”, Postman thinks. I think our future is from “Brave New World”.
In Orwell’s book, Postman wrote: In “Brave New World” they are controlled by giving joy. In short, Orwell was afraid that what we dislike would ruin us. Huxley was afraid that what we love would ruin us. “
In Huxley’s dystopia, libertarians and rationalists “did not take into account humans’ nearly endless appetite for distractions.” The TV is Soma.
Every time I hear “at a glance”, I remember the mail carrier. Unless your business sells binge, I can’t think of a binge plus verb that leads to a good idea.
When my daughter was young, we had her watch a video on a VCR player we still had. Our little library had the first five years of “Sesame Street”.
Those episodes had the sweet slowness that Rogers also saw. Don’t be afraid of quiet moments in front of your children.
“Sesame Street” was taught not only to Appalachian children at the time, but also to urban children. And it bridged their lives with long, laid-back pieces, as the old man himself spoke modestly, like a mail carrier riding in the rugged eastern part of eastern Tennessee.
Or a long clip about two boys biking to the zoo. There’s no conversation at all, no tracks underneath, but Chicago’s free jazz is exploding.
Another repetitive clip just pointed out where dad and little girl knew when they got on the city bus and passed by.
When Tom Hanks made Rogers’ movie “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” people thought his acting was Hanks himself, a good man. But he told The New York Times that he had to work hard on the slowness of Fred Rogers’ show while filming it.
At someone else’s house, we happened to see the modern “Sesame Street”. Bright and enthusiastic, like a Sugar Smack commercial.
Still, it was an old “sesame” episode on a television playing a VCR that conveyed the parent’s warning. Those old “sesame seeds” turned out to be impressively dangerous to the mind.
From time to time, I edit wire stories about hermits living in every corner of the forest in northern Maine. Authorities often hid him in jail because he didn’t know what to do with him or what else to do when they stumbled upon him.
I read an interview with one such man. For decades he didn’t know the media, only the trees and stars above him. And they put him in a local prison. The TV was always on there and he watched it.
He described one of those long commercials: some skin conditions make a woman’s life miserable until she finds this cream and it releases her. And his nerves weren’t burning numbness, and he was unexpectedly weeping over it.
He added to the reporter that “crying in jail is not a good thing.”
“Unscripted” is a weekly entertainment column produced by a team of writers.