I've already expressed my disgust for television and the culture that goes along with it. Sadly, I was reminded again today why I find myself shaking my head when I catch snippets of programs.
I was watching the local news, which is depressing in its own right, but directly following the newscast was Entertainment Tonight. This show represents a lot of what's wrong with the world today. Intimate details of largely inconsequential people are shared and followed and analyzed by "experts" and (this is what amazes me most) millions tune in. For instance, I learned that some male celebritie's twins are suffering from an overdose of some anticoagulant and that one of the Olsen girls has a kidney infection and finally that Neil Diamond wrote the song "Sweet Caroline" inspired by images of Caroline Kennedy. You know, I feel that this stuff is really important. That the lives of people who make millions of dollars for acting in poorly written movies are very important and should influence, if not inspire, my own actions. Then I snap back to reality and realize that these people are living a life of luxury for doing absolutely nothing and the only contribution they make to humanity is occasional misguided and over-publicized donations to this or that charity.
Perhaps my point can be better made in an examination of the writer's strike. This strike is gaining huge amounts of media coverage, indeed I've seen a segment about the strike every time I turn on CNN or read headlines. I've read about the great impact this will have on television and that soon our shows will cease to be written and re-run anarchy will ensue and the minds of so many will be left misguided and conversation-less with no new episodes of Grey's Anatomy or the Daily Show to discuss the next day. When was the last time a "regular" labor union strike go so much attention? When was the last time that the impact of labor union strikes were considered in terms of workers rights and the struggle of the working class instead of the impact on lives of luxury and petty entertainment? I ask these questions not to imply that TV and entertainment shouldn't exist, but rather to illustrate our lost our society is, how obsessed we've become with false worlds that are created in the minds of writers and controlled by reality show staffs. Actual realities are ignored and replaced with ratings-wielding realities.
I call my writing pessimistic and depressing. A friend, however, described it as "...being honest." I mean not to upset people, but being cynical towards daily life is the only perspective that makes sense to me. Clearly, the majority of people who may or may not be depressed or angered by my opinions are just choosing not to evaluate what's really going on. We've managed to put social problems to the backs of our minds and experience our world relative to the technological and media-centered world that is created on televisions. It upsets me to an extent that I cannot have conversations with people without being accused of being too serious or pessimistic. My view of life and world is largely optimistic, an optimism derived from critical evaluation of the world that is falling apart around us. I see a lot of problems, and I see the biggest influences on the lives of people choosing to ignore these problems because they don't sell and make people feel fuzzy inside. I know though, that these problems cannot be ignored, and I am finding that there are more people out there like me (not neccessarily of the same opinion but same philosophies and methodologies for looking at the world). I know that the future will be hard to swallow but that humans will triumph and learn to deal with social and cultural problems.
I have to remind myself of this quite often during the day as my pessimisms and cynicisms are often brought to the fore by the way society functions today. I'm really not as evil and all hating as I seem, I promise.
5 weeks ago