Something somewhat disturbing happened when I moved from San Francisco to Ft. Wayne ... I started watching television. No big surprise, there ... I moved into a motel and all motels (except the seedy SRO's for the homeless in San Francisco) come standard with TV and cable. Even though an apartment would be cheaper, I never bothered to find one because frankly my references suck and renting by the month suits me -- it discourages hoarding (the bane of my existence in SF), comes with no-fuss furniture and utilities, and I can leave whenever I want to. Unfortunately, it encourages an insidiously bad habit -- watching TV.
My entire adult life has passed without ever having cable, except when I lived in motels. I wouldn't own a TV, either, if it meant I had to buy one. But when you live in a motel, it's right there, front and center, remote control and everything ... and so while I con myself into thinking I have nothing better to do, I flip through the channels and the next thing you know I'm addicted to American Idol, Ghost Hunters and Moonlight marathons. Watching TV re-arranges your frame of what's important and what isn't, and it's pretty obvious in the United States, the "wars" we're supposed to be engaged in are on the very back burners of pop consciousness.
I mean, if you could take someone from 1943 or even 1967 to visit us here in 2010, and then informed them "you know, we're actually involved in two different wars ..." what do you suppose they'd think?? Because, you know, we sure don't act like we're "at war." Yes, we are making sacrifices, but they seem to all be sacrifices of personal liberty, economic oversight, sovereignty ... and they are being exacted so expertly that no one seems to notice too much. It's not like we're being asked to follow rations. We just can't afford to buy the things we need.
No one seems to give a rip about the soldiers overseas, or the people whose land they're occupying. Not on TV, anyway. I hardly ever hear anyone talk about the fact that we're supposed to be at war. Doesn't this seem strange to you? It does to me.
MANDELA THE SPOOK
4 minutes ago