Television is Like This

Television is like this:

Imagine you're fourteen years old again. Imagine you are a fourteen year old male. You've hit puberty. You've thought you were in love once or twice. You've experienced a lot in fourteen years, really. And lately you've become painfully conscious of other people. Nolonger do you run and play with mindless, uncaring joy as a child does. But now you are all too aware of the outer world's assumptions, expectations, and opinions of you.

Your tastes are changing. You've become interested in music and art on a new, perhaps more spiritually profound level. Sure, you're still just a dumb fourteen year old, and you probably think whatever they play on the popular radio station is great, but you are learning to experience music and other forms of art in a new way; a way that seems to impact you personally; that speaks to you directly.

And you've just begun to entertain a sort of rebelliousness and angst. You now find yourself unconsciously probing the boundaries of your world; bringing challenge to the so-called conventional wisdom, and to those authority figures who, until now, guided and predisposed all your understandings.

You are a fourteen year old male. You're evolving. You're growing. You're becoming spiritually aware. You've been on this planet fourteen years and there's a million miles ahead of you, sure, but your personal journey of self-discovery has undeniably begun.

And let's suppose that as you are undergoing all these changes and awakenings, the outside world, all your friends, all the people you've been told are cool, whose footfalls are to be noted and imitated, are all at once telling you, in the friendliest, most sincerely compassionate manner, about all these things they think you would really, really like... as a fourteen year old male.

They give you names of bands and television shows. They give you authors and movies. They give you artists, games, women, foods, and flavors... So helpful are they to point you at those things which they believe you, in your present state of mind and at your level of intellectual, emotional, and spiritual development, would find illuminating, intoxicating, diverting, and entertaining; that would make your world - your very life - a richer, more prosperous, more meaningful and enlightening journey.

And with all these kind suggestions overflowing the basket of your open arms you take yourself to a video shop to pick up the number one film, that very gem of celluloid theatrics that all your friends and peers joined together to laud above all other works, as that which would most pierce the fourteen-year-old male soul.

You bring it home, put it in the player, and press play. And it's fucking Barney. 'Barney the Purple Dinosaur - the Movie.' Or it's an hour and a half installment of 'Elmo's World.' You're a teenager, the bud of a man, and they've got you watching 'Hannah Montana on Ice.'

Then you turn on the radio to the sound of the DJ pitching you into one of those "great songs" by one of those "awesome bands" your peers mentioned. And it's an 'Alvin and the Chipmunks' cover.

You look again at the list of foods to try, and they're all Gerber brand. The women meant to satisfy your raging hormones are boyish and dull, the games are peg-in-hole, and the artists all color-by-number.

Television is like this: Imagine you're a twenty-eight year old male and the whole world is trying to give you just what it thinks a being of your emotional, intellectual, and spiritual maturity will want; will desire to see, consider, and discuss. And every single one of them is so sure they've got it right that they all, a thousand different media outlets, each employing hundreds of thinking, reasoning human beings to choose and produce the content they find worthy, all of them independently but simultaneously conclude that what will benefit you most, what will most endear you to them, what you really truly want to see and hear is "Dave Letterman had sex with staffers."


Lord send me boyish women and Elmo's World.


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