Saturday, January 26, 2013

Approaching Irrelevancy

I am becoming irrelevant.
It didn’t happen overnight, but as a slow progression as the years added up.
First I passed the age where movie producers no longer cared about me and what I thought. (17-25)
Then, I passed the age where TV networks cared about me. (18-45)
Somewhere a little later I passed the age where any company wants to hire me because I might increase their company medical costs and because I wouldn’t settle for wages that were too low to actually live on.
Next I reached the age where AARP started sending me information packets and membership applications.
Then I hit the age where I had to apply for Medicare.
Now I’m getting mailers from insurance companies for term life insurance and mail from funeral service providers.
Before you start thinking this is all whining, remember you have already passed a few of those milestones listed above.  You, too, are slowly becoming irrelevant.
The question is, why do we make people less and less important as they age?
Foreign cultures revere their older citizens, or at least appreciate their experience and wisdom while we, as a nation, seem only concerned with the cost of keeping older people alive and healthy in our society.
It may be an over simplification, but can you think of any other reason for the obsession to cut funding for Medicare and Social Security?  It’s all talk about how much those programs are costing us and none about the consequences to the citizens, mostly older citizens, when these programs are gutted in the name of fiscal responsibility.
We used to brag about how we were the greatest nation on earth.  That myth seems to have been exploded in the financial collapse of 2007.  Now we can’t seem to get out of our own way and spend all out time in partisan bickering.
The two major political parties seem to have no greater agenda than gaining control and keeping it.  Once they have a measure of control they don’t seem to be able to do any actual governing.  Neither of the parties seems to be able to reach a real compromise on the problems facing us as a country.  It’s all about how their side is “right” and how they won’t let the other side “win”.
Well, that just doesn’t cut it!
And it’s time for us, the marginalized, those of approaching irrelevancy to do something about it.
There was an old adage about WWII where a person bemoans the fact he stood aside and let others who weren’t his “kind” be taken away and when it came time for him to be taken away there was no one left to stop it.
That’s where we stand today.  Oh, no one is being taken away, but we are being made irrelevant and marginalized and unless we do something about it we will all surely fall.
I am tired of being irrelevant.  You should be too.  You should be tired of the efforts to make you that way.  If you dismiss this, then who will speak up for you when you reach the next age where no one cares about what you think?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Television Reaches NEW Lows

I have an advanced degree in television and film.
I say this only to indicate I have a little knowledge of what it takes to put a program together and not to brag about my education.
I am also ashamed to say it because of the sorry state of television today.  (And movies too, but this will deal with television.)
I had thought television couldn't descend any further into the abyss of bad taste and banality.  I was wrong.
During idle moments I have surfed the cable channels recently and discovered 'reality' television has dropped off the cliff of taste and probably cannot be saved.
I thought things like "Survivor", "Big Brother" and "The Bachelor" had reached new depths of voyeurism and silliness.  Again, I was wrong.
There are several shows dealing with tattoos.  Huh?  Is there really that much interest in spending half a hour watching people trying to correct the mistakes other people have had drilled into their bodies?
There are a couple of shows dealing with dancing.  No, not dancing competitions (I could almost understand that), but crazy mothers who are sending their kids to dance classes.
Of course there the "Real Housewives of . . ." (insert your favorite city or condition.)
Finally, I stumbled across one I couldn't believe at all.  The ultimate in bad taste is "Double Divas".  Yes, a show dealing with two women who design bras; catering to the American male obsession with large breasts.
OK, I'll admit that cable network shows like this are designed to appeal to a smaller audience than a network show.  Thus, they appeal to a smaller, specialized consumer of entertainment, but a show essentially about large breasts?  Plllleeessseeee!
I thought all this was bad, until I saw some of the hype for what the major networks are introducing for their 'second season' starting here in January.
Gag me with a Gensu.
NBC is offering us a doctor with a split personality who turns . . . what?  Evil by night?  Killer by night?  I can't tell form the promos and I really don't want to know.
Fox is advertising a doctor who is forced to treat members of the mob.  And that will go away shortly to be replaced by a guy who hunts a serial killer (haven't we seen this before about a thousand times?
TNT is offering a doctor show as well.  "Monday Mornings". The promos are overly dramatic, but I gather it is about what hospitals call a mortality and morbidity conference where doctors explain why something went wrong with a patient.  Sure, just what I want to watch doctors screwing up and trying to explain it.
ABC has its’ own trashy entertainment in “Scandal” a show about cleaning up the messes of politicians in Washington D.C. as well as the aforementioned “The Bachelor”.  The network also weighs in with “Nashville” about dueling country music stars.
I thought "Entertainment Tonight" was banal enough, then the same network (CBS) offers a second helping of trivia about entertainment personalities called "The Insider".  But, not being stupid enough already, they teamed the people from that show with a celebrity gossip website called "OMG!" and created an even dumber program called "OMG! Insider". It gives you not only a half hour of mind numbing trivia about stars, but pairs it with a website where you can get up the second details and the trivial pursuits of wannabe stars and TV personalities.
No wonder we can't get our economy moving again, everyone is spending  all their waking hours wondering if Lindsay Lohan has been arrested again, who Kim Karsashian is married to/dating/pregnant by this week or   who John Mayer is dating today (I would say this week, but his relationships don't seem to last that long.)
And if the programs weren't coarse enough you can always watch the commercials.  Cutesy comments about going to the bathroom?  Give me a break Charmin.  Try and treat your audience like adults instead of sniggering sixth graders laughing at potty humor. 
Come on, folks, read a book.  Watch a movie even. (Although these days that isn't really too much of a step up from television.)
 Network viewership numbers have been declining over the last few years (no surprise there with the content they are producing) and I can only hope people are just turning it off and not just switching over to watch huge breasts being fitted for a new bra.