Television Has Improved
In our political cycles this is the time of year I pity professional political writers, for “February is pitiless, and it is boring. That parade of red numerals on its page adds up to zero.” Being an off-election year just makes it worse, only a minor action of a possible HMS shutdown garnering negligible interest for a new Republican low of stupid.
In this black void of nothing to write about attention will be briefly turned to television, an enormously powerful force in all our lives I regard with the highest suspicion and alarm. That infernal box has enormous potential for harm, it can deaden and fool the brain in incredibly subtle ways, the bodily flabbily regressing along in inert sloth, yet in my time with our Earth I’m very surprised to see real signs of improvement and progression with television.
[holds up hands] Now, I totally give you, national television journalism is still a corporate wasteland of woefully inadequate perspective and shoddy professionalism. A lot of rightful attention in web writing is paid to its destructive and regressive dishonesty and I fervently hope that continues, and will participate in it myself.
I’m also not a qualified television critic, I can only pass along the tiny perception window I posses. Formerly if it were up to me the thing would be turned on for football and baseball only, seriously, but others in the house are always watching, there’s nothing I can do about it, so many years of slow exposure has made me watch more television than I normally would have.
Never saw a live episode of Seinfeld of countless other sitcom shows, I’m not the sort of person who is entertained that way. I’m always on a slow burn about how local sports franchise coverage has coerced me into an absurdly expensive cable bill, god I hate my freaking cable company, I’m not paying for Showtime so I never saw any that huge crime family drama thing (Sopranos?), or Breaking Bad, never saw any of it.
What I have seen in the last decade is the emergence of what I call reality-transformation shows, simple subjects like cooking, construction, and auto restoration that has me surprisingly, happily recording and watching, I’m crazy about Mike Holmes and Make it Right, I always watch Danny Koker and Counting Cars. I like Drew and Jonathan Scott of Property Bothers.
Real people who certainly do not have a corporate agenda doing real work, for once praise almighty Jesus and every angel with him real labor and work is highly valued and paid attention to, what it actually takes on a human labor level to produce and transform something is celebrated. That has to be considered a significant improvement.
Yes, the Cooking Channel has a terrible corporate marketing regression that somehow cooking has to be a competitive game, oy I know how stupid teevee can be, but still there are many very good cooking shows were one can learn a lot, I regularly watch Ina Garten, Trisha Yearwood, and Lydia Bastianich. Without getting into it, I admire and respect Guy Fieri and regularly watch Diners, Drive-n and Dives, I like to see all the little people and their stories.
[holds up hands again] I know, I know, the Science and History channels are mere intellectual shells of what they could be, and only television could come up with something like Pawn Stars (God), but the mere fact they exist is something, and I’ve found the astronomy shows to be breathtakingly good in high definition. I admire Phil Plait enormously and follow him on Twitter, astronomy discovery has been amazing in the last 20 years.
As limited and shortsighted as much of it can be, History and Science still have their own channels, compared to the arid utter wasteland of past television intellectualism this too has to be a vast improvement.
Perhaps I’m finally accepting more as I age, but given the Disney limitations imposed upon them I find my local KGO-7 television journalism to be acceptable on many levels these days. Any station that has such a stalwart fighter for the little people like Michael Finney will always be highly regarded by me, many of his issues plainly transcend into good liberal politics, and the experience level of production and anchor is exceptionally good, it’s not my imagination, for local TV journalism it’s not a waste of time. Man the new weather and mapping technology is good.
Showing nothing but the dreary, cold lock of this dreary bleak month for most of us, I’m afraid. It’s cold outside, shutdown is here again, February oozes nothing but dull drudgery, but television has improved. It’s something.