Sometimes when I get really stoned I like to think about the universe. You know, the standard stuff: space time continuum’s vacuumed through a black hole, string theory, alternate universes, parallel dimensions. But that stuff is so far away and gigantic that when I get sober (which, I personally believe that sobriety is less a state of normalcy and more a state of bitter apathy) it seems stupid.
So, maybe that’s how I’m wired: I get stoned I think about the universe. When I’m sober, I bitch about people on this planet. A lot of times I feel like my life is just one big arm wrestling match, it seems like regular society is trying to push me out, and I’m trying to push my way in, to dominate. I can’t relate to most people, so I obsess about people. Which leads me to my next point: Sociology, I know this seems like rambling, but just stick with me here. The way I view the world is that it’s just this clusterfucked stew of opinions, phobias, ideologies, impulses, and various other terms that a psychiatrist will spit at you, as you lay on a couch, murmuring “mmhmm’s,” and “yeah’s,” even though you don’t have any particular clue to what the fuck that psychiatrist may or may not be talking about.
In America, the world is split into republicans and democrats. The republicans being these right wing lunatics that get offended when Elvis wiggles his hips on stage, or freak out when Barrack Obama presents a public health care option, and the democrats being these beatnik, over-regulatory assholes. Look at both Elvis and Health care, how television has created this huge snowball of publicity for both: with Elvis there was the birth of a new social standard, a new culture of leather jackets, jive talking, pink cardigan wearing bimbos, and basically every other caricature from grease. Yet people couldn’t handle the future-shock, or the fact that this was something, that whether they liked it or not, would eventually become their culture.
Without television it would have taken another 200 years for our society to loosen the fuck up, pump out great rock and roll, shoot into the commercial 80′s, rebel in the 90′s, and get left hungover, disillusioned, and sneering in the 00′s.
The truth is that people we’re so shocked & against Rock ‘N Roll, that they over-saturated the culture with it: Steve Allen, Ed Sullivan, American Bandstand… In the 1950′s shows like these exploded alongside the Rock scene.
And because of that, because of Elvis and television, we have the modern world. We have our culture.
Which brings us back to healthcare; I could turn this essay into a acidic rambling mess about the state of our economy, xenophobia, the concept of time travel, and why we need healthcare reform (god knows enough people with the power of television have), but I’ll sum it up in one sentence: Yeah, we need healthcare but the plan that the democrats are proposing is over regulated, which is bad, which is why we need a balanced argument from REAL republicans and not these goddamn fringe lunatics. Okay, that was actually a run-on sentence that stretched for a good paragraph. I apologize.
The point is, that paragraph there, is all you need to know about health care, but thanks to 24-hour news networks the concept has become bloated & sore. It’s over saturated.
And how could it not be? This bill may be the biggest thing since Rock ‘N Roll & like Rock ‘N Roll, health care, at least to my generation, is something that we’re learning about through television. In fact, I’d go even further to argue that my generation learns everything from television: what the world was before us (lame), what the world is now (revoltingly commercial), and what the world will be (a socialist, nationalist state that resembles the plot of “Demolition Man.”).
My point is that, from Elvis to Health care, television perpetuates and accelerates society. It provides us with things that we would have never known and shouldn’t know, in an instant. Without television, we’d have a situation similar to Lincoln’s presidency where Barrack Obama would have to travel from state to state, town to town, to have town halls – probably over the course of a year. And yet, conversely, because of television we have too much information on the issue.
Then again, television certainly has to have it’s benefits. One could argue that it is evolving our society, as well as our minds, and it is connecting the world. Although I would argue that those pro’s do not outweigh televisions ultimate con: over-saturation.
Again, back to Elvis. Because of the king and the Beatles, the 1960′s experienced an accelerated golden age of fantastic rock music, the 1970′s expanded on that by making it louder and more fierce, before finally blowing its load all over the 1980′s where music got bundled with products and music videos. If you ever flip on one of those VH1 specials with a burnt out David Lee Roth smoking a cigarette and whining about how great hair metal was and why he hates Kurt Cobain, you should at first scoff, and then thank Kurt Cobain for killing off any remnants of that cartoon rock shit. Cobain was post-modern, he had the power of growing up around a television and seeing all of this great music and being aware of it, he held the flag as he marched us into the 1990′s, until, the mid-nineties when he decided to blow his head off with a shotgun. It was like a Franz Ferdinand shot of sorts, heard around the world, it marked the day that bands like N*Sync would begin to dominate. Cobain himself was a response to over-saturation.
But after his death we started getting hammered with everything: punk revival, garage revival, pop music, rap music, the Rolling Stones somehow still putting out goddamn albums. Landslide brought it down, and we were buried in over-saturation.
So now, all my generation has is post-modernism, being pissed off but too cool to actually care to even rebel. Too cool to even try or embrace cliches. Everything in the past was already too good, so the only way to amuse ourselves is to consume some pastiche, bullshit, fucking mash-up for a good time.
Look at me, I get all of my news from a satirical fictional news show hosted by a burnt out comedian.
So, in all, television educates but it also over-saturates. We are educated from it for better or worse. That being said I’d rather be holding on to the roof of this insane, off the rails train, that burns on the power of television, as propels toward sheer lunacy, than the Leave it to Beaver alternate universe that I would be enslaved to had television never existed.
We also have to understand that Elvis, like our Health care bill, is something that will be, no matter how hard the Republican’s throw a temper tantrum & the democrats sit aimlessly by. It will be fantastic at first, then it will be masterful, & finally it’ll over-saturate & self implode.