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Upside Down Under

By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News


Do you think TV is the influence?...

Posted 9/13/16 (Tue)

Almost every day we see on the TV news that people are getting gunned down in the streets of Chicago.

We see massive protests in our cities because of police brutality, then looting takes place and innocent people are maimed in the process.

We also see news about innocent people, most often elderly, being scammed by some clever criminal who preys on those who may be honest and trusting of others.

And just when we all say, “when is this going to stop,” it happens again.

Just where do you suppose this culture originates? Just who do you think is throwing gasoline on this fire?

It has to be TV itself. Not a single network, not even PBS, would admit it, but that has to be the root cause of all this chaos going on across the United States.

Think about it for a few minutes!

Other than the Los Angeles riots in the early ‘90s, this only started happening just a few years ago.

That’s also about the time that standards in TV broadcasting began to diminish.You can tune in to any network, other than PBS, on prime time on any given night and what are you going to see?

You will see people getting their throats cut, you’ll see people getting kidnapped, you’ll see street thugs blowing up bombs, you’ll see blood just about everywhere and you’ll hear people using profanity more than ever in television history.

People watch this “beause there’s nothing else on,” and over time, they’re becoming influenced by it. Wouldn’t you agree?

I have to give the Russian government complete credit for saying TV is a powerful propaganda tool. Not so long ago, when the Soviet Union still existed, there was just one TV station and whatever the government wanted to tell the Russian people or keep from them, television was responsible.

Essentially the same thing is happening in the United States. We have a number of over-the-air channels now, but just about all of them are broadcasting the same disgusting violence and chaos.

Most of us don’t remember TV when it first took a foot hold in the United States in the late 1940s. But most of us have at least seen clips of old TV shows and have at least a vague knowledge of what many of those TV shows and networks broadcasted.

Just about all of it was comedy. Some of it was music, some of it was science fiction and some of it was sports.

Did we have mass killings in the late 1940s or throughout the ‘50s or ‘60s? If we did, it was a rare occurrence that may have happened once every 10 years or so.

Today, these incidents are happening monthly it seems like. The situation in Chicago is as bad as it was in the 1930s when mafia gangs controlled the city, unique to Chicago in the ‘30s.

If you take the time to watch some of the old TV programming, slap stick comedy kept people rolling and laughing. It may have been good medicine.

The Lucille Ball Show, The Honeymooners, I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched are all examples of some of that made-for-TV comedy.

There was also the Mike Douglas Show, which was more about intrigue than comedy or drama but it was a good show too and got people to using their brains in a positive way.

We did see people gunning each other down in the old westerns, but even though many of those shows were on TV 50 years ago, the time period of the shows could not be related to the present.

That’s much unlike today because most of these shows like CSI, Criminal Minds, the Blacklist, and NCIS, are all set in the present day, which may have a different influence on people than James Dean did in Wanted Dead or Alive.

There’s also reality TV which in my opinion is completely worthless because it doesn’t portray the real world at all. Yet viewers are influenced by this and advertisers continue to support it.

Think about this. When MTV started in the early ‘80s there was a music video by The Clash called “Rock the Casbah,” which was about an Arab king banning rock ‘n’ roll.

That video often got criticized because it “promoted war and violence.” Look at MTV now, reality shows glorifying lying, stealing, cheating, arguing, drinking and doing drugs; need I say more.

This all makes me think about an episode of the Andy Griffith Show in which Opey Taylor found a bird with a broken wing. He took it home and nursed it back to health, then let it go. What happened to that kind of TV influence?