Sunday, April 28, 2013

And Now A Word From Big Brother

I've noticed a lemming-like behavior on network television. This isn't a conspiracy theory. I'm a conspiracy experimentalist, not a conspiracy theorist. Instead, it's a groupthink.

This groupthink appears to be going on among script writers. It's not new. I recall in the 1960s, one show would do a "speed up time" episode, and before you know it three other shows would do the same thing. I distinctly recall the "guy in a gorilla suit" episodes of shows as disparate as Perry Mason and Gilligan's Island.

What I've noticed in this decade is a tendency for the groupthink to have a distinctly political spin. For example, a particular political viewpoint does not like guns in the hands of lawful citizens. It seems that a handgun can only be handled by a sit-com character if he is about to shoot himself with it. The message from Big Brother is, "Sure, you may have the right to carry that gun, but you're going to be the laughing-stock at the office when you wound yourself in a comedic fashion."

The irony here is that those involved in these shows have no idea how to safely handle a gun. If all you know about guns comes from television, there's no such thing as muzzle discipline. If you ever handle a gun, you need to control where it's pointed at all times. Unless you're starring on a television show.

Here's a little quiz for you. If you can't answer correctly, you probably should not be passing gun laws.

"It is bad idea to lay Russian roulette. Why is it a particularly bad idea to play Russian roulette with a Colt 45 (M1911) pistol?"

And this groupthink extends beyond subverting the Bill of Rights.

The blessing of Instant Netflix is that you can easily do a marathon of a particular show. (Or maybe it is a curse.) I don't pay close attention to the initial hype for a new series. If two weeks go by and all my friends are raving about the show, I'll regret my decision to ignore it. When that show comes out on Instant Netflix, I'll start watching back episodes back-to-back.

Such was the case with a television series that shall remain nameless. I'm in the middle of such a marathon when an episode comes on that propagandized a particular political viewpoint. The writers pretended to poke fun at both sides, but they end up creating a strawman of the "wrong" view and proceeded to delegitimize it. If I were in a theater I wouldn't have walked out immediately--just gnashed my teeth in silence. I was in the privacy of my own living room and I had no need to mind appearances. I fast-forwarded through the rest of the political tract sailing under the false-flag of comedy, I finished that episode and removed the series from my Instant Queue. I won't be back.

It's easy to respond to such artistic expression with, "this was written by my enemy for my enemies," and then dismiss it.

The Communists failed to create the New Soviet Man, because human nature is not as plastic as the central planners hoped. This is the lesson of collectivist failures going back at least to the city-state of Sparta.

I recall a few years back when all the newspaper comics got together to do anti-world-hunger strips. I'm not coming out in favor of starving kids in China (and I encourage you to finish your supper for that reason.) I am against cheapening one's art and risking alienating audience by writing agenda-driven stories.  At least the Red Chinese produced propaganda you can laugh at.

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