Back in 1826, famed epicure Brillat-Savarin wrote, “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.” (Actually, he wrote “Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es,” but since I don’t speak French, I had to translate.) This of course has morphed down to the more simplistic “you are what you eat.” But these days, even that has changed. I posit that we no longer are what we eat; instead, we are what we watch on TV.
Given all that’s been written about Obama, and all his shady acquaintances, his inexperience, his liberal voting record, his refusal to admit that the surge worked, and especially how he emerged from a Congress with a lower approval rating than even Dubya, I wondered why America did in fact elect Obama? There are a couple of obvious reasons.
First, America is ready for a black president. (That sort of goes without saying at this point.) Also, anything hyped anti-Bush was a surefire winner. But why Obama? I can see a mandate of the people ushering in Colin Powell – that would make perfect sense… But Obama? So, how can we get even the slightest clue as to where the nation’s “mind is at”?
The indicator I chose was the stuff of the dreaded one-eyed, cable-connected, living room brain bandit – yes, the TV. More accurately, I suffered through the listings for all 800+ cable networks/feeds and in doing so tried to form a “Vulcan Mind Meld” with the American Psyche. Observations…
- First, this was terribly unscientific and subjective. I’ll grant you that. But at the same time I hope you grant me a bit of insight derived via that painful experiment.
- Next, somebody owes me big time! There is so much pap on TV that just looking at the listings hurt. Whole lot of wincing was going on.
- I came up with 25 impromptu categories comprised of 282 networks, and I’ll save you the hassle of dragging through all that muck. Here are just a few of the highlights and lowlights.
- The good stuff was restricted to: military info (1), news (14), financial news (2), weather (5), history (2), home and garden (9), Science (3), and that’s about it.
- Beyond the good stuff, there were more or less harmless networks: sports (49, though some may be “dupes”), religion (5), nature (3), fitness (3), children (11), family (5), movie (49, though virtually every one was a stinker), and women’s issues (11)
- And now we get to the lowlights – the stuff destined to an 8th-grade reading level and a 12th-grade libido (wrestling, soap operas, “reality TV”, insipid game shows, the gross, the mindlessly violent, “music” videos, etc.) (100).
- Last but not least, there were 10 porn cable networks.
So what does it all break down to? Without applying useless stats, it does indicate one very clear fact – based on my “you are what you watch” hypothesis, a significant chunk of our society is stuck on stupid, to borrow from Gen. Honore. We are what we know we are but afraid to face it – a culture of “Deal or No Deal”, the “Cheetah Girl”, and Britney Spears. We’re Anna Nichole and OJ, and for the most part, we don’t have a clue about math, science, engineering, or even government or civics for that matter. We’re lemmings who actually fawn in packs for pet rocks and the Fonz and disco and rap and grunge. We’re the moral, artistic, and social relativists who are fat enough and secure enough to actually suck up to TV like “Sex in the City”, MTV, BET and call it “good”.
In short, we are a culture miles wide and one-quarter of an inch deep. Doubt it? Turn on your TV and surf. Better yet, consider this: When all was said and done, the very best we could come up with in ’08 was a shiny Obama/Biden and a flat-finish McCain/Palin – two hucksters, a flip flopper and an idiot.
But I hear the rebuttal brewing already…
Get real dude, just look at how they come across on the HD TV…
That’s how Obama got elected.