For an old hound dog, communication is simple. If I’m hungry, I bark; for a walk, I bark; for a belly scratch, I bark! Somehow, my old pappy knows just what I mean and usually accommodates my needs. Apparently, it is much more complicated for human beans.
Do you remember that game you played in grade school (a friend thought it was called telephone) when a short message was started at one end of the class and passed from person to person until the last student repeated a story which was far removed from the original? It gets far worse when the communicator is bent on deception!
Which brings us to the subject of your beloved “Telly,” wherein a fair amount of questionable communicating goes on. Television, or TV, as we now refer to it, debuted in the 50’s (pappy’s first sighting of one of these miraculous devices featured a seven inch diameter black and white screen and sported only two channels – Uncle Miltie and wrestling). The wrestling program, better termed “wrassling,” was violent, but totally fake, and it caused very few concussions! By the mid 60’s there was a lot more content, most unfortunately of dubious value, and TV was dubbed, “a wasteland.” I suppose if one desired to ascribe a short term for TV now, it could be called “a horror show.” Now, of course, there are hundreds of channels to choose from, and the level of inane poppycock staggers the imagination. The amount of violent shows is frightening, and the news shows are at best biased and some are downright deceitful. A fair amount of blame for the deep divide over social and political issues now present in our dear old US of A can be attributed to these “news” programs, sometimes referred to as “infotainment.” Some of our politicians and these pundits seem to want half of us to hate the other half, and vice versa! My old pappy still believes that an overwhelming majority of us citizens are a lot smarter than these rascals think.
This wonderful machine could have been used to deliver additional education to a populace sorely needing more knowledge. There is some educational material on the telly such as PBS, the History Channel and Animal Planet, but at least 95% of those hundreds of channels are devoted to pure dreck!
Ho Boy, and how about the advertising – either promoting wasteful consumerism to outlandish levels or attempting to turn us all (young and particularly old) into legal drug addicts. This is subliminal messaging taken to the nth degree – only better education has any hope of reversing these atrocities. Actually, subliminal messaging can be used as an extremely effective method for persons wishing to effect positive and efficient attitudes in their daily activities. Our education systems need to instill critical thinking skills early and often so that people can recognize the Madison avenue con games.
Oh dear, I forgot the weight loss programs advertised constantly. Its hard to believe that everyone by now doesn’t look like a svelte movie star!
In summary, The Telly, a potential force for good, gone bad!!
Comes the now ubiquitous cell phone! My old pappy did a lot of traveling back when he was gainfully employed (wow, there’s a term that’s rapidly becoming obsolete), and finding (working) phones on the road was challenging to say the least. So, the cell phone is a real blessing to business travelers and a great safety device if trouble occurs anywhere. Poor old Winston Churchill is probably turning over in his grave over the damage being done to his beloved English language by texting, and many people are disturbed by what they perceive as a terrible loss of social graces among the populace. Certainly, wherever one ventures, there will be hoards of people texting their hearts away, oblivious to their surroundings. Possibly, not the least of unhappy outcomes from all this communication activity may be an epidemic of carpal tunnel syndrome in the not so distant future.
The internet is a relative new-comer to the world of communications, but it has had a profound impact on the availability of information. You can now google anything and get a flood of info – again some critical thinking is required in sorting the gems from the chaff. This easy access to everything in the world can also enable exuberant consumption, of course. A bit more knowledge might temper our urge to buy, enabling us to distinguish between needs and unnecessary and unwise wants.
Another aspect of the net is the emergence of “social media.” Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, instant messaging and others are allowing unprecedented interaction between both friends and strangers all over the world. It actually amazes pappy how all this communication capability can be provided with little or no cost. Someone, somewhere, apparently believes that advertising on this medium will be as lucrative as on TV.
An unfortunate aspect of all this frenetic activity is the loss of privacy as providers record everywhere you visit and everything you say. Of course privacy is becoming obsolete anyway in this era of dangers which the governments are attempting to minimize. (As one of the newly minted billionaires said recently, “Get over it!”)
On balance, pap and I agree that the net has better fulfilled the promise of helping people be better informed than has our dear old TV set.
Thanks for tuning in to this old dog. Next week, pap and I will tackle Healthcare, Yikes!