"You know what? The bastard blows me out of the water. This guy writes Maine like Ardai writes New York. If you're not reading him, you don't know what you're missing." --Chris F. Holm, author of The Big Reap, The Wrong Goodbye and Dead Harvest.

"Bagley's got the poet's eye, but that doesn't mean everything is prettier in his work. It means the ugly stuff is more vivid. More intense. Like a sudden switch from analog to HD. And that's a trait to very much admire in his work." --Anthony Neil Smith, author of Hogdoggin', Yellow Medicine, The Drummer and Psychosomatic.




Friday, August 1, 2008

Reason Number 5,690 Why I Am a Dick


My kids live in fear. They dread next spring, when all the TV networks make the big switch to HD. Why? Because I keep telling them I don’t care enough about television to buy a new set, or even to shell out thirty bucks for one of those converter boxes.

TV sucks ass. Now, you can go into an evangelical fury and tell me how something like The Wire is the exception to the rule, but you’d be wasting your time. I'm sure it's a wonderful show, well-written and brilliantly-acted. So what? The fact that a few programs are good enough to transcend the usual level of swill which makes up the other 99% of broadcast time isn’t enough to win me over. Shitty shows aren’t going to be any better in high-def.
Ooh, American Idol. Ooh, America’s Best Dog. Ooh, CSI Kalamazoo. Why does that kind of trash sell? Because it's what most people want. In too many cases, it's about all they can handle.

The only reason I even have a TV is to rent DVDs from Netflix…and most of those are older movies. I don’t even watch TV news. I listen to NPR and read newspapers and reports online. I don’t want the news to entertain me. I just want the fucking info.

My in-laws subscribe to the Dish Network. 35,000 channels and all they do is bitch that there’s nothing on. My father-in-law switches back and forth from the History Channel to the Weather Channel all day long. And they pay something like eighty bucks a month for the privilege. Now there’s a hell of a bargain.

But the girls will bat their eyes at me. Their chins will quiver. They’ll try to hit me with “We only want to watch PBS Kids.” Never mind the fact that PBS runs the same episode of any given children’s show three out of five days a week. Never mind the fact that my girls are only allowed to watch one hour of TV a day anyway.

I’ll stand my ground. I’ll be the bad guy. And then next spring I’ll drink the Kool-Aid with everybody else and shell out the money for a new TV.

But I’ll still be right, even if I am a dick. And that’s what counts.

I think.

4 comments:

pattinase (abbott) said...

You are doing the right thing. There is nothing worth watching. You can rent whatever series catches your attention and skip the commercials. 22 minutes of commercials for every 38 minutes of show now.

John McFetridge said...

I'm with you. We don't have cable, we get about six channels and that's plenty. My kids have started to ask for cable because there's nothing on for anyone between 8 and adult. I think that's fine.

I've seen the Wire, The Sopranoes, Rome, Deadwood, Life on Mars... and lots more al on DVD. It's still cheaper than cable or satellite.

Maybe someday TV will realize that no one wants 35,000 channels - we want six good ones.

Stephen Blackmoore said...

I want to know the other 5,689 reasons.

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

My wife will be happy to give you the full list.