TV is to America as Lead Pipes were to Rome

I’m nauseated by recent ads for video screens in cars and vans. One features a busload of unruly children, the other a classroom in chaos. In both, an adult flips down a tiny, worthless video screen and the children are instantly in their seats and transfixed faster than any medication could accomplish.

Leave aside that advertising routinely and perversely presents its customers as idiots. (This speaks volumes about what advertisers think of you and me.) You want discipline, order, quiet — drug ’em, Dan-o! Mesmerize them with TV, the babysitter they have known almost as long as Mom.

Mind you, I have two TVs and no kids. Further, I spent much of my youth and too much of the rest of my life in front of the idiot box, “the chattering cyclops,” as Sideshow Bob put it. I’m also a wireless fan and grasp the notion of always being jacked in. I’m no Luddite. However, for god’s sake, people, have the spine to discipline your children without drugs, electronica or bribes. Have the intelligence to entertain and educate them your own goddamn self. Teach them to read. On long car trips, teach them to sit and do nothing — it is a very valuable skill. If you can’t amuse yourself, your life will always be empty. mjh

PS: As the Journal reported on page one (ABQjournal: It’s Like a Couch on Wheels Albuquerque Demo Spotlights In-Car Satellite TV Service), you can also get a giant screen and huge satellite antenna for your van. Great for tailgating parties where no one wants to talk to anyone else. Now, you don’t have to miss the halftime shows or commercials while you kill yourself with food and alcohol in the parking lot. Go team!

[mjh: A couple of Journal columnists addressed this nonsense and similar commonsense recently]

ABQjournal: Talk Isn’t Cheap, Neither are Car TV Systems By D’Val Westphal Of the Journal

How on earth has my family survived without satellite television in our vehicles?

Silly us, we’ve been spending all our commutes, quick trips on errands and vacations actually talking to each other. … We could’ve been circling the block zoned out to “American Idol” instead. …

To those who opt for mobile satellite TV— many clearly will … — I’m glad you can get service for $4.99 a month. I’ll save my cash for an even safer, greener vehicle, and I’ll spend my drive time talking to my family for free.
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ABQjournal: Don’t Forget You’re Human By Jim Belshaw Of the Journal

The trouble with being invincible is that, when you’re flying around the inside of a disintegrating car or you find yourself in the middle of a dogfight (a very bad place to be, I can attest), your invincibility always takes a beating, and sometimes you take others down with you in the bargain.

So, not to be a pest or anything, when you take Fido out for a run put him on a leash. OK?

And when you’re driving over to the bosque for that morning’s jog, wear your damn seat belt.

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