Monday, December 2, 2013

Finally, quality shows abound in the video wasteland. Great! Right?

Do you have a favorite TV or cable show? Have more than one? A few? Many? More than you can watch? Have you had trouble recording shows on your DVR  (digital video recorder) because there are more shows to record in one hour than your machine can handle? Recording on a second DVR in another room maybe? Feeling at all frustrated, even minimally, that you can't record (or watch) all of what is now available to you?

Remember when cable and TV were "video wastelands"?

But now you can watch on your DVR, stream shows, even watch on your cell phone!

I've finally hit a saturation point. I never thought I'd see the day. For years it was a video wasteland out there. Then Cable hit. Horrible, horrible cable TV that I told people would some day be great.

Things like tape (VHS, BETA) were wonderful and we could record off TV, buy or rent tapes and could finally enjoy a film straight through without commercial interruption.

Then, pay per view and pay cable channels arrived.

Then came TiVo and the DVR came to be. Awesome.

Now I could record shows and movies to watch as I spent increasingly too much time viewing as the amount of quality shows to watch grew and grew until today (see, I told them we'd get here, it just took nearly 30 years). I became concerned that I was watching too much video.

Then it happened, it came out of the blue. One day I realized that I had more video to watch than I could ever conceivably handle. And when you hit that saturation point, after worrying that you would be forever frozen to the screen (a thing which grew out of a long term sparseness of quality shows), finally, you could simply...let it all go.


Because. Since you have way more shows than you could ever conceivably watch, your internal responsibility checker, that software in your mind that tells you that you can't miss good shows because there are so few of them; you have to see them all. Finally we have passed through that now fictitious barrier to catch all the interesting stuff to watch and has led to opening the flood gates to reality.

Now you have got to let it go. You can finally back away. Away from too many shows to watch where you are watching all the time. Now you don't have to watch as many shows and that my friends, allows you to cut it down, to only a few of the highest quality shows, or the ones you are most attracted to. You can go out and breathe fresh air again, go visit friends, see something live and in person, music, plays, libraries, the sky's the limit!

And so here we are back again to where we all started. Except that now we do have more quality shows to view, when we are in the mood. Of course there is still the pablum out there available to when you feel like being mindless. Or for those who like remaining in that state, day in and day out.

Only, then you notice other shows that you feel compelled to watch, and so you again you increase your viewing till it gets saturated and then, one day, you realized it's too much again.

So you comfortably cut it back down, to reality and reasonableness. And so it goes, over and over....

Unless, you get a handle on it, adjust your lifestyle and lock yourself into only a few hours of only the most special shows per week. Just like we need to learn to limit our intake of luscious foods so we don't become morbidly obese, so we have to limit our intake of luscious and addictive shows and movies, so our life doesn't become morbidly obese with sitting and staring at the screen watching one after another after another, after another show.

So we have finally made it to where the video wasteland is filled also with very good shows and within that situation, we have a trap. Now that finally TV, cable, YouTube, Netflix and other DVD and streaming companies can supply us with  all we could ever want and then some, it is time we catch up to them and restrict ourselves and build our lives so that we are enhancing our human experience and learning, and not just watching, watching, watching.

Even if we only watch the best shows or the best documentaries, we still need to consider and limit our viewing behaviors, otherwise we face the prospect of some other countries whose interpersonal relationships are suffering from all this technology and media. And their population is decreasing because of it. Something that in the overall context is good, but only up to a point. Countries where it is too much trouble to interact and make intimate relationships do to fear of rejection, or a lack of desiring drama we can get elsewhere and prefer superficial relationships as we have all those needs taken care of elsewhere.

Like in Japan where you can go and for a price have two cute girls smother you in attention for the rented amount of time, bolstering your ego, eliminating the need to deal with the fears of the drama of real relationships, social diseases, monetary issues and loss from things like divorce and familial situations. And women have the same options to purchase beautiful young men, sans sex, sans guilt, sans negative aspects so apparent in most romantic relationships.

Are we losing the emotional toughness required through having relationships?

So the next time you turn on that next great show after hours of viewing others, ask yourself if you couldn't be doing something more real and useful. Or if this is your solace after working long hours, or because you can't afford to do real things, ask yourself why that is too.

Is quality viewing now the new drug of the masses? Not that the concept is new but the availability of so much good viewing certainly (and finally) is. Is this excess of quality viewing becoming the new Soma, as in the novel, "Brave New World"? The drug that calms the masses so the leaders of the country could do whatever they wanted.

"..there is always soma, delicious soma, half a gramme for a half-holiday, a gramme for a week-end, two grammes for a trip to the gorgeous East, three for a dark eternity on the moon..."


"the warm, the richly coloured, the infinitely friendly world of soma-holiday. How kind, how good-looking, how delightfully amusing every one was!" From Brave New World - 1932 by Aldous Huxley

Sounds kind of like TV, doesn't it. Have you ever taken a "staycation" because you couldn't afford to go to a real location and so you stay home to "relax" and work around the house or just watch and catch up on your viewing habit?

Perhaps this is all just more complicated than you ever realized? But how is it you haven't noticed?

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