Saturday, March 19, 2011

Civilization Nose Dive

Technology is a wonderful thing.  For one thing - it means things happen fast.  If there are uprisings in northern Africa or riots in Wisconsin, we see them as they take place -  on cable TV's never ending news coverage. 

If you use your debit card to buy something, money comes out of your checking account immediately.  If you have a hang nail, you can post it on Facebook and all your friends - no matter where they are in the world - will know about it now.

This speed means a lot of things, and one of them is that we can see civilization deteriorating at warp speed right before our very eyes. 

One of the tell-tale signs of a declining civilization is the break down of its language.  And when television puts its mind to it, it can do serious damage to the language. 

A few years ago, any little kid knew what "reality" meant - it meant the way things actually are - in other words - for real, not pretend.  But now we have "reality shows."  They have very little to do with reality, so what will "reality" mean to the kids who are cutting their teeth on reality shows?  And I guess they had better be cutting their teeth on reality shows because the SAT test for college bound students now has questions about reality shows.  Don't tell me civilization is not falling!

We all know what "history" used to mean.  But what does it mean now that the History Channel has abandoned history?  I love Pawn Stars, Swamp People, and Ax Men, but what do they have to do with history?  You don't have to tell me, I know about that little slogan the History Channel has come up with - something like "History - Made Everyday."  They're really straining to connect their shows to history.  Why don't they just change the name of the channel?  That would be easier.

The Arts & Entertainment channel used to be - well, artsy.  Dare I say "high brow?"  Not anymore.  With shows like Criminal Minds, Breakout Kings, and The Sopranos, Arts & Entertainment is anything but artsy. 

Those of us who grew up with National Geographic magazine knew that we could expect to be educated about the world by perusing its pages, filled with breathtaking photographs and detailed maps.  What kind of education are we getting from the National Geographic channel now with shows like Detroit Gang Squad, Tijuana Drug Lords, and Bloods and Crips?

Mind you, I'm just talking about the violence that's being done to the language by television.  To address the effects that these shows are having on morality would take another blog post. 

Ausonius, the Roman poet, decided to retire to his villa, write poetry, and await the inevitable.  I'm writing blog posts while I await the inevitable crash of civilization, curmudgeon that I am.   


BellaFitz said...

There was a segment on the Today Show this morning about the History Channel refusing to air the miniseries "The Kennedys" because it was a dramatization, not a true biography.

I, too, question their standards. How, pray tell, do they justify airing that "Ancient Astronaut" mumbo-jumbo with that wild-eyed and wild-haired pseudo-scientist?!

I happen to like Swamp People and Pawn Stars, though. The Pierre Partians keep it real, and if I ever go to Vegas, I'll skip the casinos and just go poke around a pawn shop!

Judith B. Landry said...

I love Swamp People, too - looking forward to the new season starting this week.

Renee said...

We recently signed up for Netflix and when I saw those same shows listed for National Geographic I was dumfounded since it doesn't seem to go along with their usual shows,See Creatures,Animals in the Wild,Bloods and Crips....huh?It does seem like as I'm getting older,the tv is trying to push our kids into trying out more immoral things these days and it's getting worse.My daughters just took the ACT and thank goodness it didn't have a reality show question on it b/c they don't watch the reality shows,well,except for Masterchef since we don't even have cable,so luckily we don't have access to most of the really bad reality shows out there.I did see a pretty cool show on PBS few weeks ago shot in NC about these people who were doing something like hand/foot fishing for that's reality when these people go into muddy water and try to open a catfish's mouth with their feet! :) I think it was actually even illegal for them to fish that way?? :) Anyways,I hope things change for the better before I have grandkids.