Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Longterm Effects of Manipulated TV Content

I would hope by now that everyone who owns a television set and/or watches one regularly, has realized the incredibly powerful effect it has on society in general. I took notice of it's power over 10 years ago. At the time I was managing an Italian restaurant named Piasano's. One night I received a phone call from the owner warning me to be prepared for an insanely busy day the next day. I asked him why and he explained that the new episode of Sienfeld, which had aired that night, featured a plot wherein the characters were trying to get to a fictitious restaurant called Piasano's in order to try the house special, Calzones. I laughed at him and told him he was crazy if he thought that a 30 minute sitcom could effect our business so dramatically. I was wrong. The next day we had a line out the door, from open till close, of people clamoring to order calzones. It increased our sales 1,500%. It was more significant than the 2 Rave reviews we received in the local paper or years we won the People's Choice Awards. All together!

That is one of the effects of TV. In the short term in can cause fads, riots, and wars. We all realize that by slanting the news to one side or the other, TV can convict or vindicate anyone in the public forum. Look at the ongoing war crimes of Israel against the Palestinians or Lebanon.
What most people fail to see is the long term effects of TV on the very soul of a society.

"I'm certain that man is made both good and bad by our institutions. These institutions are responsible for the shaping of our personalities, our morals and the patterns of our social relations."
-Charles S. Johnson

Now aside from the obvious relationship between availability of information and the public opinion of events, the topic I am writing about today is the connection between the successive introduction and development of certain character types and the acceptance of evil by society. To put it bluntly, the poorly written Police Drama and its influence on the Subjugation of the Free World.

Dragnet was the last Cop Show that had characters who actually upheld the law. Since then we have been forced to endure the many incarnations of a singular character. The tough cop who is absolutely committed to protecting society, but in order to do that job, in world where everything is set to the advantage of the petty thugs and slimeball criminal, this cop must bend or break the rules. From Police Woman to Hunter to Miami Vice to The Shield and NYPD Blue, there has been a nonstop descent into the acceptance of a concept so flawed it's funny. Or at least it would be funny if we were not stuck with it's bastard offspring in the real world. Instead of teaching the masses philosophy such as "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely." or "With great power comes great responsibility." the Prime Time Crime Mime has taught us that it is possible to engage in total irony. You can not uphold the Law by breaking it. They are mutually exclusive activities. End of story.

Meanwhile back at the Precinct... So the story continues. 40 years of this slow indoctrination into Oxy-Moronic thinking, coupled with the total avoidance of anything pertaining to critical thinking in our educational programs and what do we have? A leader who openly defies the Law, Law Enforcement agents who behave worse than criminals and a society who not only accepts their victimization, but also cheers the abusers on like heroes. The ends justify the means? No... Allow them to justify their means and we will all come to bad ends. No matter how much you identify with your favorite TV character, remember, that is just bad hack writing and cliches. In the real world nobody is infallible, incorruptible, or particularly interested in going that extra mile for anyone or anything, including you and me or right and wrong.


K9 said...

/bark bark bark

prime time crime mime! like that.

who said kill your tv? they were right. i am dismayed often by how idea is shaped. what can be done?

move to the country. grow a little gar-den...(this is a song it think) drop out, be quiet and ride it out. selfish? i guess so.


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