I don’t watch a lot of television. If it’s not sports related or about traveling in other countries, I’m probably not second by second current on what’s happening on TV.
However, if you ask how my daughter is progressing in her volleyball career, or how my Honda Nighthawk motorcycle is running, or with which organization I most recently volunteered, I’ll certainly be able fulfill my part in keeping the old conversational ball rolling!.
The main reason for my lack of watching television is pretty simple. For me, television has long outlived one of its original purposes of informing and bringing new information to the masses. Today there are literally hundreds of programming options a customer can choose from, but with such a fragmented market – and everyone apparently fighting for the same minimum customer IQ level – the foremost purposes of television has become to incite fear, promote conjecture, and increase pure stupidity! All wrapped up and made presentable in a nice dress or suit!
Of course I know the broadcasters have a choice to show the types of programs they want, and marketers also have a choice in which shows they choose to support. But, I feel I also have a choice on how many hours of my life I’m going to trade to be involved in all of this television driven madness!
So, continuing to develop my premise that the modern primary purposes of television is to incite and make you watch it – more so even than providing methods for people to discover truth – here is in my opinion a typical start to a typical day in American television and it’s effect on our collective perceptions of the “real” world.
According to a May 5th, 2014 post on their website, Neilsen – a leading global information and measurement company, that provides insights & data about what people watch, listen to & buy – estimates that there there are 116.3 million TV homes in the USA. Up .4% over 2014. Nielsen also estimates that nearly 296 million persons age 2 and older live in these TV homes, an increase of 0.5 percent from last year. To put that in perspective, a US News & World Report article estimates the entire population of the USA to be 317,297,938.
For arguments sake and to simplify, let’s theorize that – for whatever reasons – only half of that 296 million number watches any measurable amounts of television. Some are at the high-end, some at the low-end, others are right in the middle. That’s 148,000,000. To make things even more tidy, let’s round the previous number up to 150,000,000.
So, everyday the majority of these 150 million television watching people have real life interactions with each other. Some of our group of TV viewers are co-workers who might sit together in the same cluster of cubicles at work. Other viewers are complete strangers, who might stand in line together in a checkout line somewhere. Some viewers become friends, some viewers find they don’t like each other, some viewers become angry and want to harm other people. Either way, this group of viewers have these millions of unrecorded, unplanned and unrehearsed interactions several times a day. Most of it falls unto the category of just everyday stuff, not exciting. Not plus or minus.
But, take a very select few of these same interactions and run them through the American television poor editing, poor due process, and in many cases poor objectivity machine; and they instantly become subjects that all of the self-appointed intellectual heads have to dissect ad nauseam on every channel for us peasants to digest. Apparently we can’t break things down and retain the information on our own so we need it done for us every hour on the hour!
As mentioned, there are several hundred channel choices and therefore many channel programmers. Apparently, most programmers feel that in order to be viewed as current and relevant to advertisers, they each must show the same highly edited “Breaking News” clips over and over again to keep or gain their share of viewers.
The format is always the same, run the unconfirmed, the pure conjecture, slanted viewpoint stories until the more concrete substantiated information comes out. That way you can create multiple streams of story lines about the same event! And for good measure, make sure to continue to identify people by the unsupported, non-scientific, non-legal “racial” parameters that were assigned to each “group” more than 600-700 years ago. Names, which I like to point out were NOT established by the people themselves!
I think many people forget that the whole purpose of creating these “racial” categories was to position groups against one another so as to take their lands, property, and people. In my opinion, the objective is still the same today with the additional objective of making you feel good about it! (Look at how many “ethnic” looking people are on television these days going crazy over products we don’t need! See how much progress “we” are making as a society?”)
The Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Gardner stories ALL follow this format. The reason these stories keep being shoved to the forefront, when MANY more kids are killed by people who look just like they do – all around the world – is not to help solve any problems, but to continue stirring the pot for ratings pure and simple. Create more shows, have more national debates about non debatable stuff. (In my opinion, the Eric Gardner story is different in that his widow/family should file civil charges against the city, county and state! Complete misuse of force.)
So, each morning 150 million potential television viewers awake to be told what happened last night and what it now means to our society. The stories have to be shown at such a high saturation level so it appears that it is EVERYWHERE and EVERYONE is talking about it! Through shear repetition, television persuades viewers to discard the millions of real interactions they have had with each other and make their decisions about other people based on the short video clips and sound bytes provided by the media.
And of course, viewers don’t get a break at night. My own unofficial review of night-time television yields that same results. The evening viewing line up for one channel with national distribution looks like this: ‘Blackish,’ ‘Fresh Off The Boat’ (Coming Soon), ‘The McCarthy’s,’ etc. Apparently this represents some sort of progress from earlier shows: ‘The Jeffersons,’ ‘All In The Family,’ ‘Good Times,’ ‘Julia,’ etc. Old jokes, old premises for a new audience.
To get back on track, this post is titled ‘Arbitrary Boundaries’ because one reoccurring observation over the 11 years that I have been presenting ‘Other Awareness Project – 95% Guilt & Anger Free!’ and talking about self-identification – rather than race & ethnicity – is that in every presentation just about every topic or example the audience tends to put forth as compelling evidence of how the world is changing for the better – change the world has never seen before – is based on an incorrect idea or poorly supported concept that the people who created all of these “racial” categories put forth as propaganda barriers for each category of people. In many cases physical force or punishments were the tools used to make everyone accept their ideas as fact. It hasn’t been that long ago that it was illegal to teach people to read.
From an early age we are taught completely illogical stuff. These type of people can’t do this. Those type of people can’t do the other. Virtually nothing of any significance happened on earth until the Greeks and Romans came along and became the fathers of astronomy, science, etc.
But, if you make some time to read a few books – books that will never be provided in your American classroom. Or, read articles written by your people – written way before some Europeans started telling everyone else who they were and what they were capable of – then I think you will spend less of your valuable time fighting and living inside the arbitrary boundaries that have been constructed around you for you.
As I say all the time, “The only real difference in people, despite what you think your race or ethnicity is – is that successful people DO NOT let other people define who they are and what they can become!”
You were made to travel the earth and experience everything on it!
Michael James Brown is the writer /producer of ‘Other Awareness Project – 95% Guilt & Anger Free!‘ A now 11 year project that looks at why intelligent people – using current information – still call themselves arbitrary and poorly defined “racial” categories. Categories that are not supported by science, religion, or any legal systems. Categories that a person’s ancestors NEVER called themselves! Are we solving any problems – real or perceived – by continuing this dialogue along these lines? Previous career titles include: Marketing Operations Manager, Creative Services Manager, Director of Operations. In his spare time, Michael rides his motorcycle around to real cities, having real conversations with real people. He is already aware that the OAP presentations and topics do not fit the expected mold and therefore he will never be invited to speak on any national media shows! 🙂 (http://www.otherawarenessproject.com) (http://facebook.com/otherawarenessproject)