Your Television Will Not Be Revolutionized

You will not be able to site back in your recliner and experience the sights and smells of an actual African safari with Marlon Perkins because your television will not be revolutionized.

You will not have the option to view programming that reflects actual facts, opinions and situations of real people in real jobs doing real work because your television will not be revolutionized.

You will not have more information at your disposal, but a great deal more disposable information; you will not experience a reduction in the amount of subliminal messaging or an increased exposure to the fully explored viewpoints of persons with alternative outlooks on the world and ways of life; nor will you have the ability to selectively choose shows and entertainment that will best equip you to face other human beings who may have differing and conflicting methods of dealing with everyday existence because, despite your ability to earn a Ph.D. by absorbing the litany of T & A, S & M, B & D and R & R on CBS, NBC, ABC and CNN, people who have important things to say regarding the fragility of relying on modern convenience will not be able to set up independent broadcast towers because the FCC, FBI and CIA will make sure that you do not find these programs included as part of “Must See TV,” and they will certainly not be sponsored by Mobil Oil Corporation and the Fortune 500.

You will not be able to immediately gain access to the viewing public without waiting nine months on a list for new programs, waiting only to be passed over by a Committee for Fairness in Television because your views are not deemed interesting enough to command a favorable Nielson share.

Nor will you be able to select features for your viewing pleasure that have not been hand-picked by the owners of the airwaves and their supporting advertisers.

Your television will not be revolutionized.
Your television will not be revolutionized.
Your television will not be revolutionized.

You will continue to experience a decrease in rapid eye movement, increasing cases of attention deficit disorder among your babies and children, and on-going, invasive modifications to your DNA caused by the barrage of an electron machine gun you have invited into your home to expose “viewers like you” to a thousand points of artificial light.

You will continue to form images subconsciously inside your physical brain without the benefit of seeing them outside your head, and without the ability to blink and shut them out or slow them down so as to maintain the facility to selectively choose the sound bytes and sound tracks and sound effects and hypnotic waves of electricity that will influence your spending patterns, your methods of recreation, your opinions on procreation, your impression of reality and your overall sense of physical health and well-being.

Your television will not be revolutionized.

Your retention of information will continue to decrease, while the available percentage of brain cells at your disposal will continued to be used up by phrases from sitcom theme songs, by deductive meanderings on who shot J.R., and by images of politicians wrapped in flags and kissing babies, eating chitterlings, slicing pizza and spreading lox on bagels.

You will not be able to take your message to the streets or distribute pamphlets questioning the party line at union meetings or city council sessions, because your fellow citizens will be safe at home, unified only in the respect that they are all watching re-runs of the same shows so it can be assured there will be a topic of conversation when we are all turned loose to exercise our First Amendment rights assisted by a new and improved level of communication brought to you by the Association for the Preservation of Technological Megalomaniacs.

You will not be able to tell the difference between an embrace offered by a virtual reality image of your dead father and the gentle purring of a live kitten grasping your shoulder; but you will continue to be able to anesthetize your sense of boredom vicariously, whether through the war game simulation of professional sports, or candid interviews with starvation victims in a country of which you were not even aware “prior to this newscast,” and may be convinced exists only thanks to the believability score of the on-the-scene commentator, or by gripping the edge of your seat while watching carnage and bloodshed and laying on of hands resulting in cures for leprosy, AIDS, infantile paralysis, sickle cell anemia, and that awful bloated feeling, all of which may or not be created using special effects.

Your television will not be revolutionized.

You will continue to trust in a world that has been edited for television, in situations that will be re-enacted based on circumstantial evidence and the imagination of financial advisors to the producers during “sweeps” week, and in actors who are paid to tell you their headache disappeared in minutes or that they actually spent time at their last dinner party discussing yeast infections or wash-and-go shampoos.

You will be able to see inside the minds and hear the thoughts of Richard Nixon, of Jeffrey Dahmer, of Charles Manson and Mother Theresa, but you will see them being asked the same questions, things like, “When did you first wealize that you were difwent from other childwen?” and you will see the same one-liners being used to promote their causes in between paid advertisement programs showcasing the efficiency and pleasure provided by shopping at home, and they will be given equal air-time, and each will be gently disclaimed: “The opinions expressed by guests on this program do not necessarily reflect the views of this network, do not support the philosophy or political leanings of the majority of our viewers, and are not intended to stimulate, educate or otherwise affect anyone at all.”

You will continue to find yourself in a world that has an increasing number of methods for communication, and alarmingly less and less to say.

You will find it true, as Marshall McLuhan once said, that “the medium is the message,” and that its sweet velvet voice is crooning, “Learn to consume as you have taught me to consume,” and reminding us in the words of Jello Biafra that the conveniences we have requested are now mandatory.

Your television will not be revolutionized.

1995

Inspired by a speech by Bill Gates of Microsoft on the future of television, and Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.”

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