It should be said that I am a lover not a fighter, and what I love most is beauty in any form. However, this can result in... overly high expectations. As a person who too often sits on her pedestal of self-righteous judgment, monitoring how the world is "going down the tubes" and martyring herself on the Hellfire of what she deems contemporary incompetence, the articles of this blog will offer my cynical, social, intellectual, and pop cultural observations, which will both serve to vent my frustrations and-- after some counteraction-- convince me that the human race still has a chance. Sometimes you have to remind yourself that "Life is Beautiful," always was, and always will be, even when it isn't, wasn't or won't seem to be. “I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.” — John Burroughs (Photo of London Library after the Blitz of 1940).

Monday, December 30, 2013


The Housewives franchise has done much to damage the name "woman." These
inarticulate ladies get payed for publicly lambasting each other and having
irrational cat fights for our entertainment. While this is heightened reality,
the underlying issue, that girls hate girls, is no lie.


I don't get girls sometimes. Girls, women, ladies, chicks, dames, hos, tramps, sluts, and the age-old damsels-in-distress... We've picked up a lot of descriptors over the millennia, but whatever the label, we kind of have to come clean: bitches be trippin'. The reason that we are, apparently, walking through life with poor coordination is that we are often fighting on opposite sides of a senseless war. Women are cruel. I'm not just talking about playground politics either. Whether in preschool, high school, early twenties, mid-life crisis time, or during a death bed confessional, the female sex is a catty bunch of "haters." What the Hell?

While it has given me a great deal of pleasure over the years to listen to and get a chuckle out of a group of latently immature femmes gossiping or spitting venom about another member of our sex, it's also a dagger to the heart. Well, maybe not heart... I don't take it that seriously. As I generally imagine these sub-women as malfunctioning droids, it's usually just my common sense and human decency that is offended. For some sick reason, women love to talk trash about their own kind. It's senseless. Of course, this sad fraction of womankind is naturally supported in its emotional superficialities by the judgmental nature of the media. How often do you find yourself temporarily blinded by the eye-piercing negativity of the magazine rack? Close-up on cellulite: Whose FAT ASS is this? Celebrities without makeup: Look how ugly this woman is. Divorces, deaths, drug addictions, mental breakdowns, etc: This woman's life is falling apart and don't you feel lucky that you aren't her?

The imagery and non-subliminal messages on this cover are 
just friggin' sad. Not only do we continue to hold up the
Kardashian trio-- three of the most self-absorbed, oblivious,
and superficial people in the media-- as newsworthy, but we
also chastise them for failing in their relationships. Look how
sad these women are without their "mans." Then there are the 

featured articles about a wedding disaster and cellulite. 
"Compelling and rich?"
The sadistic way we feed off someone's suffering, particularly the women of the world, is quite disgusting. Appalling. Ridiculous. Shameful! As the majority of men I know have little use for trivia, whether this be a moral choice or a biological predisposition for brass tacks philosophizing, it tends to be the female demographic that I see purchasing/reading gutter trash like Life & Style, People Magazine or, my favorite, "In Touch" (Are you, magazine. Are you?). I think it is safe to say that while men certainly have their own flaws and may be more obviously brutal or big-scheme violent-- whether in business, politics, or chest-beating bar brawls-- women are just senselessly mean.

Men often ask, "What do women want?" They say it's a mystery that will never be solved. Pft! Dudes, it's not that complicated. What women want is e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Your lady wants to be item one on your list. You will not make a decision without her in mind. You will think of her first thing in the morning and last thing at night. You will go out of your way to surprise her, make her feel special, and compliment her beauty. You will always choose her over your friends, your work, and even your own blood. Yes, she is the Goddess Divine. She requires this much from you.

Those who abide by these regulations are often referred to as "whipped." Being 'whipped' is the price a man pays for keeping his woman happy. If he doesn't, should he consider these demands a little intense, he can chose to ignore his duties. The result to this will be a woman suffering from chronic OTR and a lot of bickering and nagging over petty BS. This is strangely a result of her fear of losing you. Her one mission in life is to be loved, and when she is not given accurate attention, it sends her into an emotional tailspin. Know this: you are her everything. If you don't make her feel that she is yours, well... Good luck! The bright side is, she will rarely leave you. You probably will have to pry her clutching hands from your body. She directs the majority of her anger at her own kind-- those who would turn her man's head, steal him, or make her feel ugly or insecure. Ergo, the true answer to what a woman wants... is a Man. (I am speaking in generalities, ladies. Don't get offended).

Sometimes, feminine rivalry stays all in the family. The competitive natures of
sisters Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland-- as encouraged by their parents--
robbed them both of a friendship if nothing else. They were too busy trying to
outdo each other and prove who was the bigger woman. Jealousy
poisoned their relationship. As Joan has passed away,
it appears Olivia won the last victory.
This is the tragedy of my sex. It is truly amazing how deeply ingrained that feminine need for security and protection is. Logically speaking, as I heard some rumor that we were descended from orangutan's or something, it makes sense that our instincts work against us in a certain sense. Our bodies consistently tell us to get pregnant. Once a month, we get really, really horny (an exaggeration of our normal and healthy sexual appetite), and if we are not properly fertilized, we are punished with the Red Death. (I sincerely apologize to all male readers for that... It was unnecessary).

I don't know much about the animal kingdom, other than the fact that mountain lions are awesome, so whether or not female birds, frogs, and aardvarks get really competitive when it comes to doing the horizontal mambo, I couldn't say. However, the sexual politics of the at least mammalian species seems simple. I once watched a female giraffe at the zoo honor a male giraffe with a golden shower, which he tasted like a gentleman to determine her fertility. She passed, "presented," and they were ready to go. No drama. (Thanks to my sister for that backstage pass. It has clearly had a profound effect upon me). Monogamy isn't even a question. Animals are sluts and they give and take without jealousy. I have never seen a jilted hippo. Or giraffe.

So, we can't really blame biology totally for our manners. It's not our nature but our human nature that complicates things. In the end, human nature is nothing but the mutilation of our biological instinct through social nurturing. We form standards of living, civilizations, laws, religions, structures, not just to survive but to thrive. Man needs order because he is not as supple when it comes to combatting the elements. We joined tribes, teamed up with a virile partner, procreated, and somewhere along the way we decided to solidify things to make us feel a little safer. That girl a caveman once did doggy-style is now his "wife," whom he has marked with a sparkling diamond. This ring, which I refer to as a metallic noose non sequitur, is actually just an apology to the female, I guess, for the fact that she will now have to do many, many loads of laundry. Of course, times are changing...

Jane Austen's most popular work, Pride and Prejudice, was astute in its 
observations of womankind's oppressive need to find a husband and thereby
 male protector. While she lent her heroine an independent, uncompromising
 spirit, the end game was still the rich husband of Mr. Darcy. The cat fight 
between Elizabeth Bennett and Caroline Bingley was also revelatory 
in the way it portrayed the latter woman's jealousy over Darcy's
attraction to Elizabeth. Caroline wanted him to herself.
Her manner got ugly, and she pulled no punches.
In any case, a woman has to deal with the one-two punch of biology plus social suitability. She needs to have a baby to be considered a dutiful woman, and she needs a man to give it to her. This impulse is the sadistic voice that often gets us into trouble. We make bad decisions or become immediately acquiescent to potential partners' demands, be they sexual or otherwise. We stay in bad relationships, take abuse, give with no return, become sole providers, and make ourselves doormats. It's the internal need to possess the guy's best swimmers and to maintain his presence as proof that we are worthy. In addition, as the road to equality has been anything but smooth, womankind's progression from cave wench to independent woman has left some hard to reverse mental conditioning. When women couldn't work and were totally dependent on a husband for their livelihood, the alternative being embarrassing burdens to their fathers and dying an "old maid," a gal's need to be attached to a man almost as a status symbol remains in tact.

The result is quite sad, really. Women put themselves through Hell to find a partner (at least heterosexually speaking). The makeup, the manicures, the waxing, the changing their personalities, and dumbing themselves down, and burying their feelings to be more appealing to the opposite sex... It's masochism. Oftentimes, their own sense of identity pays the forfeit. Then, the fictional them gets together with a guy and starts to unwind herself from her Mummy wrap of perfection, and poor average Jose wakes up in the morning next to someone he doesn't know. "Wait, where did my girlfriend go?" She never existed pal. The player just got played.

Layered on top of this urge is womankind's-- and really all of mankind's-- inherent insecurity. Everyone's looking at the next human, comparing what they've got with what you don't. How they're better than you. How you may be better. This final ingredient in the female psyche in particular leads to that nasty competitive edge that women have. We treat each other like total sh*t. Even our friends. We are rarely happy for each other unless we ourselves are happier. I've had many of these sociopaths in my life. I've had a friend who couldn't have a good time if I was. A friend who got pissed off if I got more attention than she. I've sat beside friends and listened to them say things like, "I don't know what he's doing with her, she's not even that cute," or "She should not be wearing that bathing suit/dress/outfit." My personal favorite has always been, "So what if he's married? I don't know her," which I suppose means that 'her' doesn't exist. Seriously, WHAT the Hell?

Elizabeth Taylor's theft of Eddie Fisher from wife Debbie Reynolds was the affair
heard 'round the world. Debbie and Liz had been good friends up to that point,
but I mean, Eddie was so... hot (?). Can you blame them for fighting over
him? Despite the fact that Liz was the top actress in Hollywood at the
time, her insecurity continuously compelled her to seek out men that
"belonged" to other women, as if to prove her own sexual power.
Status. She would soon ditch Eddie for Richard Burton after
stealing him from his wife Sybil.

It's really quite a pathetic display. They say men are controlled by sex, but women are too. The disease just manifests itself differently. I think the majority of the anti-feminist women out there need to take a 20 second T-O and asked themselves, "Hey, what about me?" Maybe if they did, instead of being overly focused on the universe's opinion of them, they may become invested in an exploration of themselves. If common human decency and manners hasn't convinced them to be kind, maybe a little self-respect will. If the cat women out there had a deeper sense of self and realized that they were fighting for attention from a breed of mammal that often doesn't know what she's talking about, maybe they would turn to instead of on each other. It's much easier to have a conversation with someone who speaks your language, isn't it? STOP YOUR BITCHING! Retract the claws. Stop creating imaginary enemies. Exorcize the anger from your heart and try being a good person. It tastes like sunshine.

Yes, I am tempted to hate the world...


Over the years, I have learned how to discern sincerity from facade. I find myself surrounded by intelligent,  warm-hearted, genuine, ambitious, and interesting women who make all the petty, hogwash-addicted sisters out there fade into the background. These women lead through example. They don't sink to the level of depraved and irrational judgment, because they're too busy. They have their own lives. These ladies have shaken the world and altered the structure of accepted gender roles. They are capable and not submissive to the ideals of the past. 

In contrast to Something Borrowed, which taught viewers
that, hey, sometimes you have to sleep with your BF's
fiancé just to be sure you don't belong together, the
upcoming Cameron Diaz and Leslie Man vehicle
The Other Woman depicts two women striking up
an unlikely friendship when they realize that
they've both been had by the same douche.

In fact, the modern working woman often has trouble finding a suitable mate to keep up with her. She doesn't approach life with a feminist chip on her shoulder. She is still a champion of love, but she places more importance on her own sense of self, her dreams, and also values her thoughts and emotions much more than her foremothers and sometimes unfortunate contemporaries. She sticks up for herself and her fellow men and women. When heartbroken, betrayed, or confused, she turns to a sister for help instead of stabbing her in the back. When she falls in love, she loves a man as an equal and gives him the respect of her utter honesty instead of playing the role of Stepford wife, girlfriend, lover, etc. These women have your back. They consider life a collaboration and not a competition. Though their breed often seems rare, particularly in Hollywood, they are out there, playing the game of life with integrity and killing with kindness instead of misdirected malice missiles. 

Sadly, there will always be insecure women, immature women, and undereducated women in the ways of social graces. The sad truth is, they will lose their own battle. They'll never know the happiness or domestic bliss they so desperately seek because it will always be tainted by their fear and mistrust. They don't find peace in love but view it rather as a threat that will be taken away at any moment-- naturally by an encroaching female. Strangely enough, it always seems that it is those capable of performing evil that are often most suspicious of it in others. They deserve our pity not our antipathy. 

One wonders, why would you be with someone if you don't trust him? What do you gain by being so hateful to your own sex? The answer: nothing. They dig their own graves, even if said grave comes designed as their boyfriend's metaphorical letterman sweater or a pristine palace in Beverly Hills with the ring and the kids and the diamond tiara or whatever the f*ck. Their happiness is an illusion. Their world is comprised of cardboard cutouts. Their sense of stability is actually insecure, a fortress they designed against other human beings who actually aren't enemies at all. This is that ol' biology again-- a bitch pissing on her territory to deter intruders. Whatever. That's their problem. Either they'll grow up one day or they won't.

Yes, some women drive me nuts. Most still confuse me. They are hyper-emotional, they place importance on things that I find quite peculiar, and for some reason they believe that a purse with a bunch of letters on it-- whether C's or LV's, or DB's-- makes it better. They are very concerned with their hair and they watch Kate Hudson movies like they are accurate depictions of life. However, when all this nonsense is brushed aside, women are fantastic. Don't get me wrong, I love hanging with Mr. Coopers, and when surrounded by my non-asshole, macho brethren, it's a nice change of pace and a welcome place where I can exercise another side of my personality. But, my heart is with the ladies. 

An honest, loving woman is the greatest thing on earth. When you have a tough broad fighting on your side, you need have no worries. With her heart, she will understand things you don't even need to say, offer comfort you didn't even ask for, and give you safe harbor from a world that has no compassion for anyone most of the time. Women are ambidextrous soldiers with incredible listening abilities and an immediate proficiency in maternity that makes them deep and lasting comrades. 

Men will break your heart, but women will mend it. Those who have picked up on this life lesson no longer feel compelled to break each other. The reward for being superficial and ignorantly cold-hearted is isolation and resulting, inauthentic relationships-- both male and female. So, if not for humanity's sake but for your own, STOP YOUR BITCHING.

Monday, December 2, 2013


TV Executive: "Hey, I've got an idea! Since everyone loved 'Sex and the City,'
let's make the show all over again. But younger! No, the writing doesn't have
to be good, because Carrie Bradshaw is already a product! People will 
buy the 
show without us even having to sell it. Just get a blond. Any blond! We'll
 make her trendy and market her with a poster where she looks like Sarah 
Jessica Parker but in that famous Marilyn Monroe ballerina pose, so she's 
immediately familiar! Interesting? Who said anything about 'interesting?'"

I Am Tempted to Hate the World Because...

I have lost a dear, childhood friend: Television. I don't know when I stopped watching TV... I just did. Somewhere between moving away from home, getting an education, paying bills, graduating from college, moving further from home, getting further education, attacking the working world, looking the planet in the face, and feeling my time being stolen from me, I just kind of lost interest. It wasn't a conscious decision. It happened slowly. Over the years, I needed prime time programming less and less, until I didn't need it at all.

I'm beginning to think that TV is something that people grow out of, at least in my case. You leave the convoluted fictional world behind and start watching the news, if you can stomach it. After all, the latter offers pretty much the same pre-packaged BS-- exaggerated hysteria to keep you tuned in, scare you to death, and then tell you that tomorrow the sun will shine. Essentially, you slowly become your own parents, whose taste in channel selections when you were a kid made them frustratingly boring. "No cartoons? But, it's SUNDAY!!!" The transformation is unavoidable. As your life starts to unfold and you notice the glaring discrepancies between the saccharine versions of civilian life on the boob tube and the reality of dismal, American survivalism, the glowing screen of static electricity that you once turned to for comfort becomes a liar. You can either embrace its folly, turn your brain off, and agree with its offered definitions of truth, which you know to be false, OR you can try to avoid it altogether but consequently never know what the Hell anyone else is talking about: "Wait... Who is Rachel Zoe?"

There are several factors to consider, of course, for the progress or disintegration-- dependent upon whom you ask-- of Television. It indeed loses its luster after you've grown up, read a few books, and realized that the constructed world of make believe has become the Prom Queen whose life goes nowhere after high school. While you matured, she stayed stuck in the same cliche, speaking the same lines, and failing to gain the richer dimensions of life experience. She never learned another role to play. In a sense, TV doesn't grow up either. As such, what may have once been appealing when your vision of the world was professed through this crystal box as a less savvy youngster, is no longer as potent once you step "out the box" and into the open. As a mature, well educated adult, you're just annoyed: the dialogue on "Mistresses" is pretty damned pathetic, the story lines on any and all CW teen shows are both idiotically cyclical and creatively apathetic, and the jokes on modern sitcoms like "Two and a Half Men" are so lazy that it feels intellectually insulting to even be in the same room when it's on. You watch and wonder, "What is it that I'm supposed to relate to here as a human being?" Warning: when you fish in that pond, you always come up empty. You may have had a live worm, but the fish are all plastic, wind-up toys. Save your brain the effort.

Then there is the added burden of the buck, which dictates that we basically sit through 1/2 hour, 1 hour, even 2 hour advertisements with only brief increments of a show tossed in for entertainment purposes. You rarely catch enough of a plot for it to be coherent, though. Yet, you keep watching in the hopes that something amazing will happen: the occasional cathartic release of laughter, the adrenaline rush of suspense, or the titillation of underage pornography. Awesome. Everybody have sex with a werewolf! The truth is, shows don't 'show' different people living their lives for our edification. They show us what to buy. It's all branding, as it has been from the very advent of the medium. One hand washes the other, which is a result of the necessarily evil exchange game, which also leaves everybody's hands dirty. (This program brought to you by: Lye Soap, Alka seltzer, General Motors, and the "softer side" of Sears).

Nowadays, the intrusion of visual stimuli has gone haywire, not only by each stations' indomitable logo ever-displayed in the lower-right hand corner, but by Twitter updates, "Up Next at 9pm" reminders, and Don't you love this channel and want to watch it all the time retina-burning hypnoses tactics. You almost wish you could crop out all of the distracting metaphorical salesmen knocking on your eyelids, asking you to buy something. Maybe if you focus your gaze into the center of the vortex, you'll just be able to make out the story allegedly hiding in the midst of the perpetual commercialism. The difference in today's hyped up marketing mega-storm is that while "I Love Lucy," "The Ed Sullivan Show" or "The Steve Allen Show" of the early years were strong programs to which different corporations were trying to hitch their wagons, today's offerings seem to be just barely riding the coattails of whatever products will give them money to keep going. Our shows are prostitutes, written to keep the viewer just interested enough to keep tuning in, so they'll buy this Beer, or that Razor, or eat this Pizza. One need not "engage" the viewer; one need only distract them long enough to drill the pertinent image home. In essence, the viewer is programmed by the program.

"The Dick Van Dyke Show" remains one of the most highly rated sitcoms-
(situation comedies) of all time. This is due to the talent and chemistry of
the cast, including Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Morey Amsterdam, Rose
Marie, and Richard Deacon, as well as the superb writing and clever
 premise of the show, which creator Carl Reiner interestingly 

based upon his own experiences as a television writer.

The bond one makes with Television, the movies, or the radio, forces him or her to make that unfortunate bargain with the Devil who says, "Okay, I'll entertain you, but you have to give me your active brain cells, your conscious thought, and your imagination in return." We let the TV lie to us. We even ask it to. The portal to human understanding thus channels only that which we think we can handle, similar to the way we supposedly use only a certain, small percentage of our brain, (however these statistic remain unclear). These integral compromises are the same things a television writer, and I know many working in the industry, are forced to make: concessions to sell concessions. Blood for potato chips: "Take your talent and dilute it through this sieve of money so it comes out tasting like cotton candy. It'll cause headaches, toothaches, and perhaps a little vomit, but the formula works, dammit!" It's Hell for anyone trying to get an unvarnished idea across.

Oh, the Wheel of Fortune... You spend money to make money by making others spend money. Television can't exist without sponsors, sponsors can't exist without customers, customers can't become aware of the product until they are shown the product, the product can't be shown to the mass populace unless it is emblazoned on a billboard, as an advert in a magazine, is played between songs on the air, or is lodged in the commercial break of a "hit show." So, the networks behind the show are tasked with the balancing act of pleasing both the audience and the sponsor-- one commodity sold to the other. We are part of the grand exchange-- shifting pieces in the tetris puzzle that is the mass media. The only person who has a chance of winning this game is the one who is behind the scenes, locking the different mismatched markets and demographics together to form a perfect single file, assembly line, until ashes ashes-- we all fall down. The bonus points "cha-ching" into dollar signs that line the top dogs' pockets, and the world of commerce keeps on turning, indefatigably.

Hollywood is Hell for writers. And audiences. And studios. The studios must only sign the story lines they think will sell, writers must write sanitized versions of their ideas to abide the greenback over gravity rule-- so they can earn a living and hope for better things-- and audiences have to put up with what they're given, which is what they wanted in the first place. Right? So why am I so underwhelmed?

In the first place, there's no time for TV. People badger me about my substandard viewership all the tine: "How have you NOT seen 'Game of Thrones'/'Scandal'/'The Americans?!'" My response, "How have YOU?!" Too many programs, too many channels, not enough hours in a lifetime. Secondly, and most importantly, this chain of power, which dictates what it is our eyes, ears, and minds will be feasting upon, blatantly talks down to us. The industry's condescension is the caveat emptor of the modern world. If the industry predicts what we will respond to, than their premonitions (lineups) reveal their assertion that we are a very ignorant, pathetic, superficial, and simple society. They give us flavorless, watered-down, ignorgasms (ignorance orgasms), and we take the medicine hoping that it will taste better after a few more tries. Our mindless nightly attendance only instigates the networks to produce more of the same, thinking that their prophecies have been fulfilled: "We were right! Eat up idiots-- most specifically at one of the chain restaurants mentioned during the latest commercial break."

"Grey's Anatomy" is a show that has consistently sucked since 2005. Now in its tenth season, 
it no longer even pretends to try. It already has its audience. Whatever shred of integrity it 
once may have had is lost beneath its artificial, soap operatic performances and soulless 
pretty people problems, which the viewer is supposed to digest as serious due to its
setting within the medical profession. It also had a musical episode, so...

The strategies and calculations behind bringing a show to life, and ultimately keeping that show running, are not the public's friends. The media's concern is our attention not our enlightenment, and so we are spoon fed simple ideas. Comically, this most often comes in the form of clumsy slap-stick awkwardness-- gracelessly done, as the the well-schooled vaudevillians have long since passed away. Then there are the superficially complicated but not really complicated at all-- because the characters are all narcissistic, selfish brats-- premises that constitute the realm supposedly known as "drama." You'll laugh, because it's simple, and so are you. You'll get all heated up by the catty nonsense, because you are, allegedly, nonsense as well. Racial and sexual minorities are tactlessly stuck into scripts as an apology, "Ok, you're represented now," and the natures of the story lines are kept kosher so no offense will be given, no social questions will be raised, and no one will care about anything but what these characters are wearing.

This causes the bigotry within and without the industry. Many like to scapegoat the "dumb, red states," the Simple Jacks of the South, or the Midwestern Average Joes, who "don't know no better, 'cause they don't know nothin' ah 'tall." The networks are catering, some say. This, in itself, is criminal, for it presents a portentous delineation between the alleged "smart" people and the accused "dumb" people-- the smart people being those holding the keys to the billion dollar safety deposit box, and the dumb people being those whose only hope of reprieve from a fiscally unrewarding day of work is propping up their dogs on the coffee table and watching CSI: Duluth. It's a truly prejudicial, divisive, and dangerous move, as Television clearly does not make shows for the sum populace, but only for specific groups. There aren't national narratives. There is this show for the red-necks, and this show for the blacks, and this show for the horny kids, and this show for the pretentious upper-crusts who think that they're being politically active while sitting on their plush leather couches. The theory is that we're not all bright enough to "get it," it being the full enchilada of the human saga, so we're sold our separate realities and convinced that we are correct in sitting stationary in our private pod universes instead of being invited into a worldwide discussion.

This, of course, is very chicken and the egg. Did we make these specific, contrasting demands or is our political isolation within our own particular demographic the product of mass conditioning? Are we dumb people asking for the same episodes of the same shows on repeat, or are we being dumbed down by people selling us re-hashed garbage? Who is to blame for the alleged, "ignorant Midwest's" ignorance? Who is to blame for their lack of exposure, which at the end of the day, is the only difference between them and the conceited decision makers who claim to know what's best for them? And who the eff has the right to call them dumb in the first place? Ignorance: the two way street. Granted, as we all live in our own privately isolated cocoons of "this is what life is," it is hard for each, independent mind to be unchained or unplugged from its comfortable space when that place is what we have come to define as reality. The perspective of rural Oklahoma is going to contrast with that of the yuppy New Yorker. In trying to understand each other, we grow tired. We change the channel. There is no ignorant Midwest; there is no ignorant South, North, East, West, whatever. There is only the contrived truth sent in each direction and the good, decent people who have no choice but to believe it, because it is streaming Live.

See, America does have a voice! Why aren't we heard?!

When what constitutes "humanity" is labeled as a thing unshared by all, we directly sever the border-crossing bridges that Television was meant to strengthen. Tele-vision: the ability to see things from a great distance, to connect the far reaches of the world together in a shared community. Television doesn't broadcast for America. It broadcasts to this specific population that will buy this bull sh*t, and this specific population that will buy that bull sh*t. "A nation divided against itself cannot stand," but we stand for this de-intellectualization by allowing it to teach us blame. This is the liberal's fault, this is the Bible belt's fault, this is the homo's fault, this is the radical's fault, this is Joe's fault... I gotta say, it's a brilliant tactic, this displacement. Meanwhile, the guy behind the orange curtain keeps making money off our inability to have a discussion based upon mutual respect for each other. (We might notice he's holding all the dough if we did).

Yes, I am tempted to hate the world...

... But I don't, because

Every once in awhile, something smart gets through. Sure, that smart thing is going to be branded just like everything else. Sure, "Breaking Bad" still came packaged with commercials and is selling T-shirts and coffee mugs of Heisenberg, but at least the impetus for the latter was a true appreciation for the series' great writing and acting. Sure, "The Newsroom" is a bit heavy-handed and proselytizing, ("Let me make up my own  mind, dammit!"), but it at least forces one to confront the issues in question, whether one is in agreement or disagreement. Sure, the premise for "The Walking Dead" may render it nothing more than a silly zombie show on paper, but the storylines examine raw and controversial incites into human nature that only such an extreme and exaggerated situation could illuminate properly-- as well as doing so without being overtly political and offensive. There too is beauty in the ability of "Mike and Molly" or "Parks and Recreation" to just make you laugh, especially when you have great comedic acting talents doing the performing and gifted writers keeping the audience grounded. One constructs and the other translates stories of enduring affection between human beings, including the beauty in their eccentricities, while giving the characters enough gravity to be as relatable as they are outrageous. 

Gone too soon. How I miss "Flight of the
Conchords." They made me feel like "the
most beautiful girl in the... room."

TV is good, and it is bad. It is smart, and it is stupid. It is working for us and against us. It's biggest faux pas, as in the film industry, is that it recreates instead of creating. Somehow, over the many interceding years of visual storytelling, both mediums have failed to notice the fact that it is always the independent, totally fresh idea that runs away with both ratings and tickets sales. Hollywood doesn't have a reputation for taking chances. It does not honor its writers, its actors, its directors, nor its producers, until they have somehow succeeded despite the odds, and then it only proceeds to pigeonhole them into a prison of "Do that again, the exact same way, but more."

Hollywood thinks that we are dumb, but we're not. We are, quite simply, exhausted. Our brains are tired. Our bodies are tired. Thus, we often throw up our hands at the end of the day and say, "Whatever. I'll just watch this because it's on." Additionally, taste is subjective. That's the way it is. I cannot fathom why anyone would want to sit down and watch "The Housewives of Beverly Hills." It irritates me that Lena Dunham's writing on "Girls" exhibits such narcissism and has such transparent antipathy for her audience. I don't know what a "Heart of Dixie" is, and I don't want to know. Yet, I can't fault people who enjoy these programs. To do so would be the same as adhering to the social lines of demarcation that Hollywood likes to draw between us. I'm onto you, H-town. We Are the World, so suck it!

I may not be a warrior for TV. It seems that the box has become a not-so-blank slate for stick figures and gimmicked shadow puppets. Still, I can't totally blame the industry either. I can blow the stick figures down like the Big Bad Wolf, if I want to; I can equally turn off the light and kill the puppetry. The art of civilization is deriving meaning and order from the madness. We endure by taking everything with a grain of salt. We are the remote controllers. It's really what we say that goes. While I would wish that the industry gifted its audiences with more compelling dramas that were the rules and not the exceptions, while I wish smart comic writers were allowed to write smartly, for all and not just some, later, maybe, on a cable network... and while I wish that there were unifying themes that every corner of the country, every race, every "class," every age were invited to participate in, we still do all right for ourselves. We do more than all right, considering the obscene hurdles of bull sh*t we're forced to surmount just to make or absorb a statement. Sometimes, something smart gets through.

At the end of the day... well, it's night. But figuratively speaking, at the end of the day, we are all connected both because of and sometimes despite the flashing images we see on the Television, be they good or bad. In every show, whether the characters be conscionable or unconscionable, superficial or heroic, horrific or fantastic, they are synchronized by their beating hearts behind their creation and reception and the emotions that viewers will attach to them. The visual medium of motion pictures, whether on the big screen or the small, teaches us how to feel. We all may feel a little differently, but we all feel. In a perfect world we would direct all of this energy into a powerful force that cleans up the tacky oil spill that is the entertainment industry. But, if we did that, we wouldn't have drama, would we? And we certainly wouldn't need comedy. 

Don't let it own you: "Throw away your television/ Take the noose off your
ambition/ Reinvent your intuition now"-- Red Hot Chili Peppers