Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Television Watching

Television Without Pity was a bit of an addiction of mine in its day, and after re-watching Battlestar Galactica a year or so back, I hit up TWoP for its recaps.

Reading about an awful lot that happened in that series, written in the shadow of 9/11 but perhaps more resonant still right now, is something almost eerier than "timely" ...

The most stunning aspect being its two Presidents, Laura Roslin (who attempted to steal an election) and Gaius Baltar, a celebrident possessed of superb un-self-awareness, psychological projection, and delusional urgency.

(H)is new plan is to strike a chord with the common man, which is funny because he totally had that, by virtue of being a sexy smart celebrity, until he put everybody in concentration camps.

Now is not the real seat of this post, but it's a good time for it.

Now has been a time of examining at my entertainments categorically, and eliminating some of them. Not my first time doing this (it's been *years* since I could stomach the "special" part of Special Victims Unit - namely, the weekly rape/exploitation/murder of women and children, or the darkness of "Criminal Minds"), but right now my focus is less on darkness than a different kind of cruelty. Right now, I'm eliminating normalization from my life.

Normalization of sexism, racism, homophobia, and anti-intellectualism.

Normalization of trivial and frankly unfunny gay "jokes" such as Big Bang Theory is rife with. That show made me laugh during one of the worst years of my life, and I hung in with it from its earliest days - but the stupid humor about Raj and Howard always annoyed me and never worked. And now I'm flat done with that show. It bends over backward by GENERATIONS to make outdated, stupid, mean jokes that don't work. No more.

Normalization of retrograde gender roles and/or The Stupid Girl (who may be well past 50 years of age) imagery. This ditches almost any reality show not starring RuPaul, and means my slowly-developed habit of allowing anything with Housewives in the title to run while I was doing other things, because it really doesn't require watching, is over. It means Two Broke Girls, not something I can deal with for long given the idiot-plots and buzzy voices, is something I won't deal with at all anymore. Any dating show, ever, in which telegenic fodder proudly displays a profound lack of education or interest in it. Any appearance of Jessica Simpson, not so long ago one of the more powerful vectors of The Stupid Girl in pop culture.

Normalization - indeed, aggrandizement - of stupidity more generally. Not that I consume these things, but shows about Bigfoot, the Merovingian Heresy, popularizations of the ludicrous, demonizations of study and thought. This stuff is EVERYWHERE. It overwhelms critical thought and even taunts the very idea; and I grew up valuing critical thought, by way of being raised by a pack of relentless literalists picking me apart at every turn. (Bless 'em.) The Doctors, gleefully shilling for products they get sued for on a regular basis. Paranormal. Reality. Let that one sink in. Every dating show sustaining the (heteronormative) narrative that women ("girls", almost invariably, in these things) are desperate and stupid and need a sexual relationship to be valid. Hell, even HGTV shows with 30-ish couples featuring young women actively annoyed by homes not featuring granite counters and/or white cabinets, because Maud Knows paint is not something they are equipped to grapple with.

Normalization of all of the above: Archer. A show I ate up with a spoon a couple years ago when it was recommended to me, which I could NOT accept as reflecting - or influencing - actual, functioning human beings, but which so relentlessly flogs its edginess that ... I wonder whether it's edgy or actual, anymore. So much bigotry IS clearly actual, I can't skate anymore, I can't consume what I don't know is really free from harm.

None of my minuscule boycotts means a damn in the wider world, but it's one more attempt of this old lady not merely to woke up (no, that's not a typo) and quite honestly, just to feel better. Funny as Archer was to me, it's essentially mean. Not letting that inside my head eases the tiniest bit of psychic pain in my brain, just as not watching SVU has for so long, refusing to witness rape and cruelty as entertainment.

I watched one single episode of Walking Dead, found it extremely interesting, and will never watch it again, because I just can't take the violence.

Mr. X and I talked about this very recently (probably the birth of this blog post; you'd be surprised how often discussions with him get me writing), and he said, about his own viewing/gaming, "I’ve always been super-resistant to messages in the (non-news) media affecting my views. That probably engendered a certain insensitivity on my part to how others are affected or how views are perpetuated. ... your saying all this makes me wonder if I just didn’t find some of it distasteful and unworthy of support for conscience reasons."

I have always liked that boy for his brainmeats.

The whole basis of some of these entertainments gives new meaning to the term diversion.

I don't want to be diverted anymore.

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