Our addiction to TV is killing us | OPINION: Peter Eichenberger | Indy Week
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What you get from the media is a manufactured product carefully calculated to enthrall you sufficiently as to allow yourself to be juked into being separated from your money via the advertising that finances the production.

Our addiction to TV is killing us 

Years ago, in a wicked part of my life, coming in late, late, gacked, I flipped a TV on and caught that bloated charlatan, Jerry Falwell, in mid blubber. I pulled and cocked the cute-as-a-rat snubnose .38 revolver I used to carry. The reptile in my brain hissed and boom--fat boy had a hole in his left eye.

The TV just rattled after that, most notably when I chucked it into a dumpster behind Cup A Joe. That was that it for me and TVs--until recently. My caregivers tied me to a bed in view of a television, the intent to provide me with "stimulation," which it did, although it was a stimulation rather akin to staking me to an anthill. I couldn't even swing a mop at the cussed thing.

TV. Ugh. Young, buff goobers spraying cardboard cut-out bad guys and yelling. Mindless dreck guaranteed to set up a vicious dialectic, an us/them mindset, reinforcing that there is no problem that can't be solved in an hour via superior firepower. Usually, I look at a couple of frames and wander off to another room where I can find a window, y'know, trees and sky, that or some dried paint on a wall.

What you get from the media is a manufactured product carefully calculated to enthrall you sufficiently as to allow yourself to be juked into being separated from your money via the advertising that finances the production. Like every other transaction in the vertically oriented, corporate, capitalist world, it is all about duh money.

Some uninformed media consumers labor under a hallucination that material is presented as a positive public service and is real information. One guy said to me that he likes Fox News "because the economy is good and we are winning the war in Iraq," a common although extreme example of frantically fitting misleading information to accommodate both fear and greed.

The infotainment telesector has been dissected greatly, but not in the places where consumers can make use of the information. The function of TV is to: 1) keep the money rolling in to wrinkly old white dudes and 2) overwhelm "dangerous" ideas that run counter to prefabricated reality models "experts" peddle to dupes like Jujubes at a ball game.

The American media business/mind control industry was pioneered by Vienna-born Edward Bernays (1891-1995) who wrote in his 1928 book Propaganda:

"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country."

That would be the USA. OK. Old news.

For example, Dumbya, greased by the fawning lapdogs of the media (you too, newspapers), had utter success flummoxing millions of Moo Cow Muricans into Iraq using the non-investigated murder hole of 9/11, later shucking any responsibility for negligence and/or manslaughter over Katrina. After the next prepositioned 9/11 goes down, Iran'll be a breeze to sell. Watch it happen. Mooo.

Remember how the Nazis used Massachusetts-born rocket inventor Robert Goddard's patents to rain death and terror on European civilians? In the mad scramble after the war, the U.S. intel community's Operation Paperclip brought Nazi war criminals/mass murderers to form the basis of the U.S. Apollo project. Similarly, the antidemocratic theories of Viennese-born Bernays were perfected by Joseph Goebbels and his Nazi mind-control freaks, and later adapted by the United States OSS/CIA to manufacture consent for illegal and immoral acts by way of outright seizure and control of the media.

Ve didn't loos, ve choost moofed.

So, my little television advocates, you are uninformed, willing subjects of mind-rape. Let the magic waves silence all those troubles, my children. Now, give us the money. Suckers.


click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY V.C. ROGERS

I'm sorry to have maybe been the bearer of bad tidings, but there it is. This stuff is history--information available to the inquisitive. I would suggest Linda Hunt's book Secret Agenda for starters.

It seems to me that anyone who engages in a practice that on an addictive level, measured by dopamine production, is quite similar to shooting cocaine and heroin, should at least understand what the implications are.

The good seeker of liberty understands that personal decisions can be messy. Anyone who has had access to the dark cavern of drug addiction knows that.

But hey, dope is dope, y'know? Far be it from me to gnaw on someone for smoking, snorting, shooting or sipping anything--or ladling toxic garbage into their heads. I've been to the zoo and seen the elephants. I ain't no holy roller.

What I have problems with is why do the social strictures against supplying dangerous substances to children's brains--especially vulnerable to devilry, something even junkies understand--suddenly fall away when it comes to the holy shrine of television? Television's hourly viewership stands at a solid four hours a day between preschool and adolescence, often without supervision, supplying a sorry surrogate for normal human relationships. Human nurturing, guidance and sensory stimulation are exchanged for limited, repetitive, violent content that, with chronic exposure, begins to actually disengage and damage the limbic system, the seat of those pesky feelings of curiosity, love and spiritual thought.

Scoffers, there are many people who you have never heard of who have spent entire professional lives exploring just what television does to the human mind--a lot more time than you spend watching, say, Survivor, which is completely off the mark about what it takes to survive in dire circumstances. Let me tell you, cooperation works much better than a tarty T'n'A version of F**K Your Buddy.

"Therefore, when the TV presents sudden close-ups, flashing lights, etc. as stimuli, the core-limbic brain immediately goes into a "fight or flight" response with the release of hormones and chemicals throughout the body. Heart rate and blood pressure are increased and blood flow to limb muscles is increased to prepare for this apparent emergency. Because this all happens in our body without the corresponding movement of our limbs, certain TV programs actually put us in a state of chronic stress or anxiety."

--Strangers in Our Home: TV and Our Children's Minds, Dr. Susan R. Johnson


Considering the violent and negative content of most television shows, material that bashes tens of thousands of murders and hundreds of thousands of violent acts into the little tykes before adolescence, four hours of television or violent video games should qualify as child abuse instead of an accepted and "normal" American component of child rearing. Encouraging a child to acquire a television habit is equivalent to encouraging them to become narcotic addicts to shut them up and make them docile. You'd probably do your kid less harm by getting him a nice med habit and sparing him the trauma of seeing 8,000 people gunned down, knifed, garroted or tossed from high places. Or, you could find time in your American day to read to them or take them to a park, you know, boring stuff you actually have to do.

The February issue of the journal Pediatrics reported a research team's recommendation of no television for children under 2 and limiting viewing for those older to two hours, as they "spend less time interacting with their family and playing creatively" (www.utexas.edu/opa/news/2006/02/human_ecology06.html).

Additionally, it is worth noting that the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences recently identified electromagnetic fields produced by many television receivers as carcinogenic. Then there is the growing evidence of TV exacerbating ADHD in kids.

It is not a stretch to suggest children are being conditioned, drugged and top-loaded to become emotionless, imperial auto-killers for whom the ultimate dispute resolution technique--killing--is taught between KFC ads, a telling plot line having the kids run past a set table with the KFC bucket on it and buckling themselves in the SUV, the obvious implication that they have been conditioned to understand that supper means riding to the KFC for take-out. Is that supposed to be funny or instructive? If either, you need some serious child lessons.

A .38 is perfect. It sails right through the screen and lodges in the chassis--no sheetrock and paint repairs. A .22 works fine, but be careful, the light round can skitter on the thick glass. Shotguns are spectacular although they make one hell of a mess.

Forget it. The gun thing is kinda Elvis and 9/10. Plus, they're kinda tricky and loud, definitely not for everyone.

Use a technique pioneered by my son years ago one morning before Soul Train. Little feller accidentally poured orange juice (Coca-Cola works well) in the vents of the old black and white. Sput, blut, screeeeee. Don Cornelius shrank to a dot and winked out.

Give it a week. Keep a TV journal and when the time seems right, go ahead and do it. Tell me what you were thinking when you did it.

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