We don’t watch a lot of TV.  That blows my mind because I grew up on television:  The old-fashioned analog broadcast kind.

Someone passed a law that made that kind of broadcast illegal.  All the stations upgraded to some crazy digital broadcast that packs much more information into the signal.  What that means for us is that all our televisions could pick up for six months after the switch was commercials for HDTV receivers.  Now all we get is static.

Suits us; TV rots your brain.  More importantly, TV rots kids’ brains.  We want to foster education and creativity, not passive absorption of amusement.

Brain rot aside, we do resort to video tapes and DVDs when the kids wake up at 6:15 on the weekends.  We also reward good behavior with movie nights.

Five years ago we received a DVD in the mail.  A promotional sample of children’s programs available on cable channels like TLC and Discovery Kids, it’s intended to compel us to purchase a cable subscription.  Instead, we just watch the sample DVD over and over again.

It’s good to see what quality of children’s shows are out there.  Some of them I would like to see one or two more episodes:

  • Peep and the Big Wide World, narrated by Joan Cusack
  • Hi-5 the only live-action show on this cartoon sampler whose energetic hosts encourage kids to get up and move around instead of lounging like slugs.  The American cast is as racially diverse as possible.  That comes in handy when your family is racially diverse.

Other shows get the fast-forward treatment.  I want to scratch them off the DVD.  I would recommend them only to lobotomy patients and scientists experimenting with making sea-monkeys dumber.  Top of this list is a show about ghetto-jive-talking slow-moving (-thinking?) mildly-obese superheros called Save-Ums!.

I used to think Barney was bad but worse things exist.  Some relative introduced a Teletubbies video to our house.  I keep hiding it.  The Wiggles, I hear-tell, accomplish a new level of inane, brain-rotting condescension aimed at our youngest and most vulnerable.

Whatever happened to Mr. RogersSesame StreetMr. WizardThunderCatsTour of Duty?  That’s what my friends and siblings grew smart on.

(I still credit Terminator 2 to my most important developmental influence.  The network broadcast version had no profanity and amazingly subdued violence yet still left me with a lifelong paranoia and urgency.)

 

PS.  I originally thought a law was to blame for switching from analog to digital broadcasts in the United States.  The actual story is much more bizarre and involves the FCC setting a deadline for conversion only to be thwarted by an act of congress delaying the transition until more TV-dependent Americans could prepare.  Further absurdities ensue, including $650 million of recession recovery money devoted to getting digital TV transition assistance coupons into the hands of impoverished TV junkies throughout our great land.  With so many health and community benefits, nonstop access to television has become a basic human right.

 

PPS.  Proper way to cite a television program?  Italics, per MLA convention of treating episodes in quotation marks like articles or papers and the entire show as a larger work like a book or journal.  Agreed?

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