Mediacrity! – Column


by William Ham

More expostulations on the dreck-laden cathode plains, you say? You wanna see the tubes heat up while a lone critic grumbles from the indigestion caused by too many steaming video groat cakes? You want him to can the preamble and get on with the rantage? You got it, cheese…

Spinning My Wheels in the Information Superhighway Breakdown Lane: Every suckdog in the pound keeps raving about how we’re gonna have 750 cable channels to choose from in a year or two, how you’ll be able to dial up Citizen Kane or Night of the Lepus on a dreary Thursday morning at 3:20 AM just by pressing a button, how an entire solar system of infotainmental stimulants will soon be there for the seizing… d’ya hear that sound? That’s this reporter not holding his breath. We’ve heard this all before in the early days of ultra-high frequency TV and cable, and the promise was borne out by what? A few more channels showing Major Dad? Unfinished furniture commercials in 16 different languages? Your choice of Don “the Dragon” Wilson epics? You can channel-surf ’til you’re smashed up on the rocks, bubba, but you’ll still come up with 57 varieties of bupkiss-on-a-stick. How many times have you found yourself bored ‘n’ bummed some dead night, desperately casting around for something, anything to relieve you of the sub-Beckettian weltschmerz of existence, and found nothing any more gripping than some disgraced MTV VJ shilling Hits of the 70s That Made You Want to Blow Away Your Car Stereo With a Walther PPK The First Time You Heard Them for a full half-hour on seven different channels simultaneously? Yeah, I though as much. And you’re telling me they’re gonna multiply that experience by ten before the century’s done? You’re saying that having the Golf Channel isn’t punishment enough for our technological sins? What’s next? The All-Tony Danza Network? The Pollen Count Channel? Renal Failure TV?

If this is indeed the wave of the future, then I hope my local cable outlet is gonna supply six-shooters as part of its basic service. Elvis had the right idea.