Cinema Psycho

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Archive for June, 2013

Do Sheep Really Go to Heaven (And If So, Is It Worth It)?; or, Why Taste Still Matters (Yes, Again)

Posted by CinemaPsycho on June 23, 2013

“I don’t watch TV any more. What am I going to watch, bachelor crocodiles in a storage unit? I can’t watch that.” – Jerry Seinfeld on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

OK, I’m warning you guys now, this is going to be a big rant. Huge, ginormous, epic rant. It may even offend some people, and if it does, too bad. Don’t expect an apology. So if you don’t want to read a rant, turn back now. But I’ve reached a point where I feel like this has to be said, and no one else is saying it. So here goes.

I’m just wondering if anyone else feels like everyone around them is turning into pod people. Is anyone else having that experience? I don’t know, maybe everyone you know is smart and sophisticated. Lucky you. I don’t have that luxury. I pride myself on having taste, or at least trying to have taste. I make an attempt, anyway. But it’s gotten to the point where a trip to my family’s house is like being bombarded with the absolute worst that the media and pop culture has to offer. (Not to worry, my family isn’t aware that I write this blog.) My mother watches brainless, superficial reality shows night and day, and honestly, I despise the people who create the brain-damaged sewage they call “reality TV”, which is neither reality nor television. My father, once a lifelong Democrat, has taken to watching Fox Opinions (excuse me, Fox “News”, cough) and listening to a fat drug addict deliver hate speech on the radio. My niece watches terrible children’s shows on Disney Channel night and day and listens to horrendous pop music that sounds like robot farts. I was recently introduced through other relatives to something called Baby Daddy, a truly atrocious sitcom that is about exactly what it sounds like. I don’t object to the show on moral grounds, mind you (though I find it ironic that it airs on the same network that gives us The 700 Club); I object to it because it’s awful and profoundly unfunny, and makes the likes of Whitney look like classic comedy. Baby Daddy wouldn’t even pass muster in the primetime lineup of a major network, but put it on basic cable and somehow people love it. I’m sure the cast and crew of the show are all nice people who really need their paychecks, but really, have they considered the porn industry?

What is going on? Have people lost all sense of taste? Is everybody just willing to eat whatever shit they are shovel-fed by the media now? Doesn’t anyone ever feel like their intelligence is being insulted any more? Are we that far gone as a culture that we’re willing to eat shit and like it? Is Idiocracy right around the corner? What are we doing to ourselves???

Yes, there have always been stupid people and ignorant people and people who don’t make their own choices. I grew up around people like that, and I’ve never understood them. I’ve never understood how people can’t differentiate quality entertainment from crap entertainment. It’s not something you can explain – it’s something you just know. It’s like you can’t explain to people why Nickelback are a shitty band – they just are. If you don’t hear the difference between Nirvana and Nickelback, you will never understand it, OK? You can’t explain why Bob Dylan is a great artist – you either hear it or you don’t. You can’t explain The Beatles and the Stones, or The Ramones and The Clash. You can’t explain Iggy Pop or Elvis Costello. You have to hear it and go, “oh, of course.” It has to make sense to you right away, or you will never get it. You’re stuck with the robot farts.

That’s what having taste is. It’s the same with movies, television, pretty much anything. You either get why The Twilight Zone is a classic show or you don’t. You get why The Simpsons is funny or you don’t. And conversely, you either get why Keeping Up With the Kardashians is utterly brainless, wealth-worshipping dog vomit or you don’t. And if you don’t, there’s no help for you. You’ve become one of the sheep. You’re a pod person. There’s no rehab program that will save you.

Look, I was never one to buy into all that Marshall McLuhan “opiate of the masses” stuff, but lately I’m really starting to wonder. Sure, I watched crappy shows like Different Strokes and The Facts of Life when I was a kid. But they weren’t being piped into the house 24 hours a mother fucking DAY. OK? I mean, Jesus Christ people, look around. Look at the pathetic level of discourse in this country. People can’t even watch the news and process the basic facts without injecting their own bullshit into it. I’ve got a brother who thinks we should “nuke all the A-rabs” and a sister-in-law who actually thinks Christians are being persecuted in America (by whom, she has no idea). I don’t bother to argue with them, because you can’t argue with people who don’t know anything about the world they live in. Do you really think there’s no connection between the mindless garbage that’s being constantly shoved into people’s brains and the population’s lack of knowledge about the world around them? Let’s get real here. When people stop making choices, they stop thinking. When they stop thinking, they stop learning. And when they stop learning, they live with a skewed, ignorant view of the world where opinions are more important than facts.

It’s long past time for a taste revolution in this country. South Park did a great episode last season about “raising the bar”, and frankly, the bar needs to be raised much, much higher than it is now. People need to demand better entertainment and better news. Make better choices for yourselves. Take responsibility for what you watch and listen to. Don’t just consume something “because it’s there”. Demand a certain level of intelligence and reject anything that doesn’t meet that level. Reject bad TV, bad movies and bad music. BE SMARTER. Paraphrase the immortal words of Mr. Danny Glover and say, I’m too smart for this shit. Embrace talent and quality again and we’ll all be better off for it.

Look at what we’re facing here. Do we really want a future in which the majority believes that crap is gold and garbage is entertainment? We need to turn this thing around and we need to do it now. If we don’t, we’re going to have a population who believes that opinions are news, science isn’t real, history never happened and facts don’t matter. Because if we’re willing to watch anything and listen to anything, we’ll probably also believe anything as well.

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