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Irreverent Thoughts on Television

A jaded analysis of the visual medium called Television.

by Michael H. Thomson
April 6, 2004

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Lately, a lot of the news I?ve been getting is from television. In fact I?ve been watching a lot of television news, movies, talk shows, and documentaries for the past month. I?m not a regular television watcher, so I?m really enjoying observing how things have changed since I started watching Howdy Doody and Crusader Rabbit back in the early fifties. Here are some of my observations:

24/7 news programming ? how remarkably innovative this is. A constant repeat of the same stories over and over again ad nauseum. Whether it?s Fox, MSNBC, or CNN, you can count on a bombing in Israel, the Lacy Petersen case, the war on terror, Martha Stewart, a George Bush speech to a can opener factory, a John Kerry speech to a bean pickers local, and? the terrible effect Janet Jackson?s breast is going to have on her career, to bombard your senses every fifteen minutes. The North Korean?s invented brainwashing; our news networks have refined it.

Fox and Friends ? This is a very funny show until they try to become fair and balanced.

Imus in the Morning ? The old hippie has his moments, but I think his imitation of a curmudgeon is dreadful ? I can do better than that!

Tim Russert ? Tim could convince me that my grandmother was a Nazi.

Andy Rooney ? My mother taught me never to say anything disrespectful of the elderly.

That guy who wears girl?s make-up on Entertainment Tonight ? Didn?t the Hebrew God smite Sodom and Gomorrah because of people like this?

George W. Bush?s press conferences - George, you need to work on your approach to the podium. Soften up that march, walk, strut, or whatever it is that you do. Pretty soon your enemies will start comparing you to Mussolini. Relax those shoulders. Take some muscle relaxant.

John Kerry?s press conferences ? There must be something wrong with my TV or maybe it?s my age ? John, you need to get a haircut ? it?s still touching your shoulders!

Oprah ? I can only emote so much, then, I want to drink mass quantities of beer.

Sixty Minutes ? I will really mourn when Mike Wallace retires ? or dies!

O?Reilly ? I wonder what the statistics are for people having strokes while watching his show.

Larry King Live ? They need to take the word ?Live? out of the title. It?s terribly misleading.

Hardball with Chris Matthews ? Whineball would be a better title.

Dan Rather ? be fishing.

Tom Brokaw ? I really like Tom, but do you ever get the impression that this guy takes a lot of antacids? Maybe he could present better if he sat down.

Peter Jennings ? Can?t really say anything positive or negative about Peter ? I haven?t watched him since 9-11-2001.

My greatest disappointment ? Scanning 135 channels and not finding Howdy Doody or Crusader Rabbit anywhere!

Sadly, my one month love affair with TV is over. It was a shallow relationship anyway, with no promise of a lasting committment. I must say goodbye. Procrastination has come to an end. Today, I renewed my newspaper subscription and... my library card!

See Mike Thomson's website: ThomsonTalks and blog: Motives for Murder

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Elinor O. from Out in the California desert writes:
January 31, 2005
I gather from your article on watching television for a month that you were bound and gagged, forced to sit in front of the TV, and watch every channel in succession. I suppose someone fed you, but going to the bathroom must have posed a problem. It is something I have been meaning to do for years. I envisioned my purpose to analyze network content so as to avoid the more disgusting shows, and count up the number of sales channels, the ones devoted to diet, exercise and cosmetic improvement, etc

but have never had the will power. Thank you for doing it for me! I too miss the Ed Sullivan Show!

Mike Thomson from Paeonian Springs, VA writes:
February 1, 2005
I was very close to the condition you describe. I had one of my serious down in the back episodes. Books, TV, and limited computer use kept me away from pain remedies. I actually have a favorite program now - its as good as ER - which my wife is addicted to. Its on FOX on Monday nights and its called 24. It may not be politically correct for me to like it, but I really do!

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