(James Good)
(Image by James Good)

While Emily and I are in the process of totally remaking our downstairs space we’ve moved all of our belongings to other parts of the house. This includes our television, which has made its way upstairs to our “guest room”, which is now serving as our dorm living headquarters. It’s basically the only living space in the entire house right now, so it’s grand central station for the time we’re spending in the house and not sanding, stripping paint, or whatever. Since the TV is upstairs we currently don’t have it hooked up to cable. On Saturday evening, while Em was out with some old friends, I was bored and tried to check out what could be found on the television. Amidst the static I found three channels which offered actual content. The content was distressing. Rather, the content was a reminder of some of the worst parts of the American condition. Here’s what I found on the stations:

  1. A generic home shopping network program, i.e. the worst possible caricature of American consumerism, where the watcher is asked to consume mostly worthless cultural artifacts. I believe when I was flipping through that the fare of the moment was some sort of terribly ugly fake jewelry.

  2. An infomercial, sponsored by GM, for their OnStar system, i.e. the most blatant and strange type of marketing message that exists. While the show tried to pawn itself off as a source of safety information in reality it was just a long commercial for GM vehicles.

  3. Christian religious programming of the worst kind. I made myself watch it for about a quarter hour. I was sickened. I’m so sorry to all of you who believe that this is what Christianity either is, or what it has been reduced to. The message of the show was that (for the price of a lofty sum of money) God would give you success, whether it be in occupation, finances, or whatever. Sigh…

Needless to say I turned off the television quite soon after turning it on. But I still can’t quite shake the message that the three programs sent to me. It’s disturbing. But what shall I say, is this not America? At least in some of its worst forms surely it is.