April 22, 2010

China Needs More TVs

baywatch.JPG
we're mad as hell


Sumner Redstone is the Chairman of the Board of CBS, UPN, Viacom, MTV, BET, half of the CW, and Showtime, and he is 86 years old and close to the end of his time.   And woe is us.  We're in a lot of trouble.

So, a rich little man with white hair may die.  What's that got to do with the price of rice, right? And why is that woe to us? Because you people and 162 million other Americans watch TV. Because less than 3 percent of you people read books. Because less than 15 percent of you read newspapers.

Because the only truth you know is what you get over this tube. Right now, there is a whole, entire generation that never knew anything that didn't come out of this tube. This tube is the gospel, the ultimate revelation. This tube can make or break presidents, popes, prime ministers. This tube is the most awesome goddamn force in the whole godless world. And woe is us if it ever falls into the hands of the wrong people.

II.

And that's why woe is us that Sumner Redstone may die. Because this company could be in the hands of-- anyone.  There will be a new Chairman of the Board sitting in Mr. Redstone's office on the 20th floor. And when the 12th largest company in the world controls the most awesome goddamn propaganda force in the whole godless world, who knows what shit will be peddled for truth on this network.

So, you listen to me. Listen to me. Television is not the truth. Television's a goddamn amusement park. Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, sideshow freaks, lion tamers, and football players. We're in the boredom-killing business.

So if you want the Truth, go to God. Go to your gurus. Go to yourselves! Because that's the only place you're ever going to find any real truth. But, man, you're never going to get any truth from us. We'll tell you anything you want to hear. We lie like hell. We'll tell you that Grissom always gets the killer and that nobody ever gets cancer at the Baywatch house.

And no matter how much trouble the hero is in, don't worry. Just look at your watch. At the end of the hour, he's gonna win. We'll tell you any shit you want to hear.

We deal in illusions. None of it is true.   But you people sit there, day after day, night after night -- all ages, colors, creeds. We're all you know.

III.

You're beginning to believe the illusions we're spinning here. You're beginning to think that the tube is reality and that your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you -- You dress like the tube. You eat like the tube. You raise your children like the tube. You even think like the tube.

This is mass madness, you maniacs.






Comments

Unless there were TV we wou... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2010 12:47 AM | Posted by zaci1: | Reply

Unless there were TV we wouldn't even know why airplanes are grounded here in Europe, since thats why we even know for the huge, dangerous amount of volcano ash, which, unlike smog, can't even be seen with the naked eye (or even an non electronic microscope). People even offered to fly out and check if its even there, but no, thats prohibited, TV of course never had a like for verification of data... My point - it's not even about America only anymore.

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There's a hierarchy, and it... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2010 1:13 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

There's a hierarchy, and its borders are subject to individual knowledge. How do you determine what is important? Do you have time to? If I tell you that you'll be better recieved in an interview wearing plaid, would you believe me? Why? What if a whole network of people say so? How do I assign value to input? It's lonely outside the box.

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There's nothing to fear... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2010 1:16 AM | Posted by Nik: | Reply

There's nothing to fear

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"Because less than 3 percen... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2010 1:29 AM | Posted by Matt: | Reply

"Because less than 3 percent of you people read books."

Source? I believe that it's low, but... Barnes and Noble have to make money somehow, right? Right?

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That's why I'm so glad I ca... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2010 1:50 AM | Posted by TQR: | Reply

That's why I'm so glad I can now buy a portable tv, I feel so empty without the constant sensory bombardment and watching "reality"...

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This entire post is a quote... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2010 1:56 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

This entire post is a quote from Network. Incidentally, Network hits on the exact same ideas as TLP. I don't really expect you people to read either, but, c'mon, you haven't seen Network?

But w/r/t the ostensible subject of the post: I'm not sure that vying for more benevolent media oligarchs is better than no media at all. Like, I know Sumner Redstone is better than the alternative, but I prefer to unplug from the whole pop-culture thing as much as I can (even if complete withdrawal isn't possible). Pop-culture, while not something that you can (or may even want to) get away from entirely, is like any potent mind-altering substance: best consumed in small doses, and infrequently.

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We need something to kill t... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2010 3:28 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

We need something to kill the pain of all that nothing inside
We all just want to die a little bit
We fear that pop-culture is the only culture we're ever going to have
We want to stop reading magazines
Stop watching T.V.
Stop caring about Hollywood
But we're addicted to the things we hate
...
So what do you want?
You want to be famous and rich and happy
But you're terrified you have nothing to offer this world
Nothing to say and no way to say it
But you can say it in three languages
You are more than the sum of what you consume
Desire is not an occupation
You are alternately thrilled and desperate
Sky-high and fucked

Let's stop praying for someone to save us and start saving ourselves

Let's stop this and start over
Let's go out - let's keep going

This is your life - this is your fucking life
We need something to kill the pain of all that nothing inside...
---"Dogma," Nicole Blackman and KMFDM

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perhaps a little guy debord... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2010 7:05 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

perhaps a little guy debord is appropriate http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/debord/society.htm
1.
In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation.
2.
The images detached from every aspect of life fuse in a common stream in which the unity of this life can no longer be reestablished. Reality considered partially unfolds, in its own general unity, as a pseudo-world apart, an object of mere contemplation. The specialization of images of the world is completed in the world of the autonomous image, where the liar has lied to himself. The spectacle in general, as the concrete inversion of life, is the autonomous movement of the non-living.
3.
The spectacle presents itself simultaneously as all of society, as part of society, and as instrument of unification. As a part of society it is specifically the sector which concentrates all gazing and all consciousness. Due to the very fact that this sector is separate, it is the common ground of the deceived gaze and of false consciousness, and the unification it achieves is nothing but an official language of generalized separation.
4.
The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images."

It goes on and on from there.


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"nobody ever gets cancer at... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2010 9:06 AM | Posted by DCP: | Reply

"nobody ever gets cancer at the Baywatch house."

... or lifeguard stand... and they're out in the sun all day! Super susceptible to melanoma!


All seriousness... that speech from Network was one of the greatest ever filmed... ironic I saw it on TV? So Network is 34 years old... the generation Howard Beale was talking about runs things now? yikes

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/3 of high school graduates... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2010 9:52 AM | Posted by Adam : | Reply

/3 of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.
80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.
70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years. (Source: Jerold Jenkins, www.JenkinsGroupInc.com)

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re:"This is mass madness, y... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2010 10:31 AM | Posted by markps2: | Reply

re:"This is mass madness, you maniacs."
a B52 for the schizophrenic STAT.
LINK

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embedded links don't work o... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2010 10:33 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

embedded links don't work oops
http://ambulancedriverfiles.com/2007/04/shit-magnet/

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Anonymous - "It's lonely ou... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2010 11:22 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by brainchild: | Reply

Anonymous - "It's lonely outside the box."

Ah, but it's even lonelier inside the box. If you're being inauthentic then you're never actually creating real connections with anyone. What is lonelier than someone who keeps the TV on all the time so they don't feel so alone? Or has to constantly be with people or on the phone to even experience their own existence? You watch tv, you aren't seen by it. Inside the box, you don't really exist...

Outside the box there is at least the potential to make real connections with people and oneself. It's a hairier, more complex and more sweatily and imperfectly human place to be but, hey, that's reality and love is stinky.

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I kind of think that TV may... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2010 11:24 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I kind of think that TV may be going the way of the book. The internet seems like the major media source. I am reasonably young, and I own a TV but don't have cable. I use the TV exclusively for playing my XBox and Wii. A lot of people in my age bracket are similar. (often they will have cable but rarely watch it)

Internet definitely has some major differences from TV. For one, it is far less centralized, and far less controlled. (a good and bad thing - less context, less accountability, but also more diversity of message and less 'money influence') For good or bad I think internet media will be imprinting itself on the newer generation's brains much more than TV will.

Additionally I think it is worth mentioning that a bad book can be just as retarded as a bad tv show. A good tv show can be as smart as a good book.

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I do not have TV. Down with... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2010 11:25 AM | Posted by rox: | Reply

I do not have TV. Down with the TUBE!!!
Wow that is a REALLY low percent? Say it isn't so!!!

I must confess... since children I haven't read much at all. Other than Nap Time and Bed Time, it's pretty hard to do anything other than play games sing songs and try to keep up with cooking and cleaning.

Some day though, I will read again!

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Debord's Society of the Spe... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2010 11:50 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Debord's Society of the Spectacle - nice! Thanks for posting this because it made me think of how Facebook fits Debord's theories perfectly, even more so than tv or movies.

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I know this has to be irony... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2010 12:26 PM | Posted by greenpad: | Reply

I know this has to be irony of some sort. WB, UPN don't even exist anymore, and the internet is a huge portal for uncensored news. And I know you know that, so I have to wonder what I'm missing when you quote this article....you're insinuating something, I just don't know what it is.

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1/3 of high school graduate... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2010 12:35 PM | Posted by Adam: | Reply

1/3 of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.
80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.
70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years. (Source: Jerold Jenkins, www.JenkinsGroupInc.com)

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Calm down! <a href="http://... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2010 12:40 PM | Posted by Alex-5: | Reply

Calm down! http://md-kart.webalias.com/cheer.jpg

You tell people: "Listen to me. Television is not the truth." I think to make them understand you should tell them that television IS the truth and ask them is this the kind of truth they want? Because it's a solid fact that television is the truth for many, for absolute majority. Some here say "I don't watch TV" - you don't need to. People around do that for you. You live in _society_ and the fact that you don't watch TV doesn't matter. And is it true that you do not watch? I told the same thing to myself in the past I actually didn't see the TV for more than 10 minutes a day (while having breakfast in the morning). But that was enough I knew what was happening there generally, I knew what show will be later today. I didn't need to watch them, those who did would tell me at work or in the bar...

For many TV is the substitute of life, a simulacra as Baudrillard would say. I know lots of people who can watch a movie in the evening and say they spent a great evening. But they didn't do anything. Just lay infront of a TV set. Or did they? I'd say they assosiated themselves with the heroes of the movie, they've been Indiana Jones or Terminator in the middle of the jungle under the crossfire. And they didn't even have to move a muscle! Next time they want go to play a game of basketball they'll consider it twice: you can have almost the same excitement infront of your TV why should you have your legs aching tommorow??

Science has a name for that. Addiction. Watch the movie "watching the detectives" if you think Violet is insane for acting the way she does - you're clinical. And your diagnose is that you live inside your TV.

The real shocking revelation for me was that this world really has a perfect control system attached to every human. And nobody 's at the wheel, the 'mashine' is slowly rolling downhill towards it's destruction. But if somebody gets behind the wheel I can't imagine him being up to any good...
And it's real fresh news to me just a couple of days ago when thanks to the_last_psychiatrist I read here the Bay Watch article. It's like finding out you have a cancer - what would you prefer: to know that you'll die in 6 month or not to know this?

Damn it's the thing with philosophy you want to write just a few words of approval and thanks and end up with typing a book ))

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Additionally I think it ... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2010 4:37 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Additionally I think it is worth mentioning that a bad book can be just as retarded as a bad tv show. A good tv show can be as smart as a good book.

An excellent and oft ignored truth. The medium isn't primary. I used to read a lot more books than I do now. Have I gotten lazy? No. I have the Internet. My total hours spent reading hasn't changed, nor have my interests.

TV shows are the most maligned, but again, it's a summary dismissal. If I don't find geology interesting enough to read a book on but am engaged and pay attention to a video about it, isn't that better than nothing? It reminds me of the "For Dummies" series of books. They're easy to dismiss based on their title alone, but they generally cover the same material as a more academic tome. Maybe it more embarrassing to be seen reading one, but if it's more effective for you, it's better than struggling with a more distinguished text.

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No-no, its not about qualit... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2010 5:11 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Alex-5: | Reply

No-no, its not about quality, not at all! However good or bad the books or the web is you read it once. Might be twice for a book. You read a webpage and you close it. But TV is always there repeatig same commercial everey break 1000 times a week. And the way our brains work the comercials (and other TV stuff) imprints on it loads better then what you read/hear/see once. And people around don't read the same books but they watch the same shows and you talk about something you have in common, common expirience. And TV is out of competition here.

Imagine another situation: a guy on the street or on a subway walks to you and tries to advertize you a can of Cola. You I'll tell him to go to hell, that freak! But it's a fact that in your house you fell much more relaxed, you feel protected. So when you hear a Cola Ad comfortably sitting in you armchair your first thought is not "Where is the catch?!" it is "He might have a point there".

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Actually, it's not just TV ... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2010 6:27 PM | Posted by brainchild: | Reply

Actually, it's not just TV or the medium - it's what's driving the medium and controlling the content/meaning... Advertising. (That's why Facebook is such a perfect example of Debord's theory, it's primary purpose is to gather info on consumers and as a medium for advertising and advertisers.

If you live in an urban environment you're surrounded by advertising pushing exactly the same values as TV. Everyone likes to think they're cleverer than advertisers and not effected by advertising - the truth is that we all are unless we live in the woods away from all media. In the same way, people like to think that the internet is somehow different but it only is if you use it differently and, even then, advertising is ubiquitous (even if Google's algorithms are still less than perfect at targeting consumers). The same media moguls that control tv would also like to control the flow of information to create a captive online audience are busy trying to control it. It's no coincidence that most of this is being done in the US (even though the players are multinationals).

I can't find it but there was a great video made by MIT years ago about the convergence of Google, Amazon and some of the other major players that track users and control what content you see. If you don't yet understand how the internet fits into the Matrix it's because you're mistaking the Matrix for reality and the representation for the real thing... We all live in the Matrix, it's a question of how aware we are of just how subjective our own "truth" or experience of reality is or if we believe that our subjective experience of reality is actually objective reality.

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Alone, one of these days co... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2010 7:30 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Alone, one of these days could you do a post playing devil's advocate against your own theory?

So far, there hasn't been any other theory discussed by you or in the responses that can compete with your "narcissism" one. The narcissism theory doesn't seem to have any holes/exceptions, unlike other theories, e.g. evolution. It seems as though everything is narcissism--even alternate theories and postulations.

Just wondering...or maybe I'm mad as hell...

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I dunno, more actively prop... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2010 9:27 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I dunno, more actively propagandistic tv would be.... boring. I think this might be a self-limiting problem.

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or perhaps the guy who's "s... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2010 9:45 PM | Posted by handle: | Reply

or perhaps the guy who's "supposed" to be saying this is (under Alone's theory) a narcissist. not for his ideas, but because he's doing it for increased ratings (plot of Network). Kicking and screaming. So it's all a show--he's not actually changing anything substantial, just ranting. In a similar way that Bill Oreily kicks and screams ... now how do we go from kicking and screaming about change to action that brings about real change in society?

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What is the matrix? A matri... (Below threshold)

April 23, 2010 11:41 AM | Posted by the: | Reply

What is the matrix? A matrix is foremost an inevitability...

Do the third world countries, where the basic instruments for constructing a matrix (the one we have in the 'developed' world) are absent (i.e the tube, radio, and even the requisite infrastructure that could enable the mulla to be fetishized) then live in what Alone is clamoring for?

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the - I'd say "yes" it's st... (Below threshold)

April 23, 2010 12:09 PM | Posted, in reply to the's comment, by brainchild: | Reply

the - I'd say "yes" it's still a social/cultural matrix just not The Matrix in the Hollywood movie sense (which uses a lot of sorta Eastern religous concepts more than what Foucault and Debord were talking about it seems to me). A different matrix but they still live within a belief system that defines what reality is for them - the very nature of our cognition makes it inevitable that we experience the world subjectively. Advertising exploits this aspect of cognition. What we can be aware of is our own subjectivity and the narratives we project onto existence. It's not that matrixes are or have to be innately destructive or divergent from objective reality, it's that our current cultural one is exploitative and creates misery because it doesn't align with real human needs but actually tries to exploit desires.

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Still I wonder if TV is pus... (Below threshold)

April 23, 2010 1:45 PM | Posted by Felan: | Reply

Still I wonder if TV is pushing the ideas onto the people or if it is a reflection of the people.

Before mirrors were common people were interested in being pretty. The mirror offered them their reflection and made it easier to create the image they wanted.

In a way I think television parallels that but for society.

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"Do the third world countri... (Below threshold)

April 24, 2010 3:02 AM | Posted, in reply to the's comment, by Alex-5: |