Up until I was about ten years old, I only watched television on a small circular black and white screen when visiting my grandparents. Daytime TV was East-Coast-Yesterday since the kinescopes were flown across the country for showing the next day in California. The early shows were as much as three hours long, hosted by Arlene Francis or Gary Moore. Nighttime TV was more local although often dominated by a full night of wrestling or boxing. Then there were the 15-minute shows—Korla Pandit, Liberace, Liltin’ Martha Tilton. My favorite being Time for Beany.
I was almost thirty years old before I owned a television larger than a 19 inch which, furthermore, was my first color TV.
But as television sets grew in size, absorbing the life out of zombie viewers, there was an even more insidious villain: cable television. Although no blood was ever spilt, I have any number of war stories to tell about my struggles with the local monopoly. They usually won. On one occasion I was so angry about the monthly cost that I went down to the office and cancelled one of the premium channels. The result? The monthly bill went up since, as it was explained to me, I had cancelled the show that had given me a package deal discount. Pay more for less? I dumped the entire cable and then had time to read a few more books.
Since I moved into my daughter’s house several years back, I have been happily reading books and only occasionally watching a movie or show on the internet. I haven’t missed broadcast television, be it sitcoms, sports, news, whatever. In the last few years internet streaming has exploded: more content, faster speeds, robust bandwidth right to the home.
So this happened: My Son-In-Law cut the cord.
Suddenly I have massive bandwidth and an all new array of channels, often acting as a portal into even more channels including what once was broadcast TV: news, sports, sitcoms, cop shows, doctor shows, and more movies than I could watch in a lifetime. It’s been since Oakland shocked Philadelphia in the Super Bowl but I actually watched a football game this past weekend.
(Technology has sure taken over that sport’s broadcast).
Despite television popping up in all its mind-numbing glory, it almost feels like a new toy; but, much like watching Johnny Downs doing a masterful buck and wing on the Golden Guernsey bottle top, I know it’s cheap entertainment designed to get me to buy more milk.
There are too many good books out there to read. Besides, there will never be another Johnny Unitas.
10-01-22 – Simple Passion — Annie Ernaux
10-02-22 – Cyclorama — Adam Langer
10-03-22 – Interfictions 2 — Delia Sherman
10-04-22 – The Silence of Girls — Pat Barker
10-05-22 – The Promise — Damon Galgut
10-06-22 – Fresh Complaint — Jeffrey Eugenides
10-07-22 – Brown Baby — Nikesh Shukla
10-08-22 – The Bad Angel Brothers — Paul Theroux
10-09-22 – Faces In the Crowd — Valeria Luiselli
10-10-22 – Starry Messenger: Cosmic Perspective on Civilization — Neil deGrasse Tyson
10-11-22 – Skinship — Yoon Choi
10-12-22 – The White Album: Essays — Joan Didion
10-13-22 – Mount Chicago — Adam Levin
10-14-22 – Kings and Queens of Great Britain — David Soud
10-15-22 – Maria Beetle — Kōtarō Isaka
10-16-22 – The Slacker’s Guide to U. S. History — John Pfeiffer
10-17-22 – Elizabeth Finch — Julian Barnes
10-18-22 – Light From Uncommon Stars — Ryka Aoki
10-19-22 – Appleseed — Matt Bell
10-20-22 – The Baghdad Clock — Shahad Al Rawi
10-21-22 – Yours Cruelly, Elvira — Cassandra Peterson
10-22-22 – The Measure — Nikki Erick
10-23-22 – Signposts in a Strange Land — Walker Percy
10-24-22 – Carrie Soto Is Back — Taylor Jenkins Reid
10-25-22 – Ocean State — Stewart O’Nan
10-26-22 – Intimacies — Katie Kitamura
10-27-22 – Didn’t Nobody Give a Shit What Happened to Carlotta — James Hannaham
10-28-22 – After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread My Wings, and Flew Away — Joyce Carol Oates
10-29-22 – Earthly Order: How Natural Laws Define Human Life — Saleem Ali
10-30-22 – Come Back in September: A Literary Education on West Sixty-Seventh Street, Manhattan — Darryl Pinckney
10-31-22 – Two Old Men and a Baby: Or, How Hendrik and Evert Get Themselves into a Jam — Henrik Groen