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Location: toronto, ontario, Canada

Thursday, August 24, 2006

blue glow

i had this strange experience last night when othercat and i were going to pick pj up at the airport. at first it was really innocuous, it was just this car with a family in it but it wasn't right somehow.

well i'm sure it was fine if you're them, but all i could see was this creepy blue glow in the backseat as the kids stared enraptured at the screens strapped to the seatbacks in front of them.

i got this sudden mental movie of ghostly hands playing arpeggios on these children's brains through their staring eyes as their consciousnesses were distracted from this invasion by something innocuous like barney. i would have said mr. dressup but i don't think that show is capable of being evil.

i mean really, it has a tickle trunk.

they were silent and unmoving and i can't swear that their blink reflex was on and suddenly the matrix and it's ilk don't seem so far fetched after all. just what *are* we programming the children for these days?

it's easy to figure out what we're programming the middle eastern children for. hatred and violence to keep the machine turning and the money flowing. i guess the ones here are being taught to hate them, and i see it working but not as well. there is too long a history of different races being hated in this part of the world. or i self select for sane people.

yeah that's probably it.

okay in reality the kids here are being taught that their way is the right way and that they need to be patriotic and to defend their country. not to mention that it's unpatriotic to ask questions. volunteer! volunteer so we don't have to draft! please! the draft will get the people marching on washington... better to indoctrinate the children instead.

if i were a higher technology and i wished to invade this place i would find a way to do it in the water or through the media. very few people manage to remain out of range of media these days after all.

even folks without televisions know what survivor is and you can't walk down a main street of any large city without giant screens overhead blaring their ads for mascara, scientology and the latest hollywood epic piece of trash.

*unheard whispers* consume consume consume consume

now go and consume some more.

the older i get the more grateful i become that my parents didn't get cable until i was in my teens and the happier i am to be from a town where off air was tv ontario, french tv, cbc and one other channel (ctv i think). of those four two and often the third are primarily concerned with education and the like.

although i fall in love with television regularly (emily, lorelai and rory gilmore anyone?) i was actually able to cancel my cable last summer and i do not find myself missing it in particular. there are a few shows that i miss but they are all available to rent on dvd or to purchase. i may have to get netflix only because my local store doesn't have a few of them but nonetheless i don't really care. [also they didn't turn off the basic cable so i still get about six of the shows i like... for now]

i would like to see last season of grey's anatomy but if i never do i don't care. this is such a lovely change and is, i believe, only possible because i spent my childhood and my college years without television.

i only really got addicted when i was living on a farm in the country with satellite. now contrast that with these children sitting in their CAR and watching tv. not watching scenery or the world around them, oh no, watching television instead.

how can you teach your children the truth of the world around them if they never see it?

and even if you're one of the people that never learned to see it yourself? considering the things that are happening in the world these days it seems unwise not to open your eyes and look out the window and then think about what you see.

it's like getting all your news from one channel, where do you find the balance? [part of why i'm so upset that al-jazeera was denied by the crtc, unfortunately their complaints process is unfathomable] i recall once coming home after reading an article in the toronto star and spouting off at dinner.

i knew everything, i mean i had read one article, that was enough for a solid opinion after all. so yeah off a spouting i go and my dad sort of looks at me and says 'have you considered...?' and i go no and then he asks me about something else and points out a couple of things the writer did that demonstrated his personal bias and i sort of get smaller and smaller in my chair but i learned. when they tell you not to believe everything you read? they mean it.

take the following headline for example "the israeli army clashed with hezbullah militants today over..."

interestingly their bias is sitting there and staring at you and you may or may not have noticed it. see how they've told you who the good guys are? i mean it's an army, they have to be more respectable than a bunch of militants after all.

has anyone asked them? i'm thinking they consider themselves an army as well...

please note that i do not take sides in this conflict, i think everyone is wrong and i'm still inclined to believe that in any long running dispute both sides are equally at fault. however, the radio and the media are taking clear sides and swaying world opinion to that same side.

hell the fucking canadian government is taking sides those bastards. i need to write to my mp but there's no point because he's a liberal and the government isn't. i'm heartbroken over this, i feel that canada has lost an essential thing now that will never come back.

our neutrality. our reputation as peace brokers and keepers of the world.

i only pray that we can get it back.

wow, i had no idea that post was going there.

i'm going climbing, my abs are still sore from that fucking evilly awesome workshop on sunday (shari berkowitz - advanced reformer on the mat) and they need to work out at this point.

i haven't been in so long my nails are clicking on the keyboard right now.


Blogger factory_peasant said...

i haven't had television reception for years- cable or satellite. don't miss it at all. in fact i think i generally end up more productive on a daily basis without that mindless blue glow seeping out from every window in the house.

8/24/2006 03:40:00 PM  
Blogger Pyrhonik said...

Sass, I grew up with peasant vision also: CBC, CTV, et CBCF. And they were all snowy. But the world friggin stopped at 6:00pm on Sundays for the Disney hour.

Nowadays I watch about 10hours a month of something on TV. I don't watch enough to follow any show in consistency. But if you total the morning news up it would be about 10 hours.

We have satellite in the house, but it is on the galaxy music channels as often as any program. I grew up with music and I'm raising my brats in a similar way. They both love books and music. A good movie also. And playing outside.

A lot of my nephews and nieces "hang out" in the house and drive you nuts being underfoot, cuz they have no ability to entertain themselves. Being bored is their martyrdom and they wear it like badges. Drives me nuts. Get out and ride a bike, play marbles, skip a friggin rope, whatever. Instead they go outside and play on some remote hand held video thing or talk on a cell phone.

Fuck......I'm gettin old.


8/24/2006 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger john said...

I don't watch much television, either. I just don't have time. I'd rather be active and out doing things. If I do find myself with time to sit and veg out, I would much rather rent a movie instead.

That being said, I have recently rented a few respective seasons of some recommended shows like Weeds and Prisonbreak and wasn't let down. I guess there can actually be good shows on TV. Too bad the producers of the other 99% of what's on can't follow suit...

Oh, and I never get my news from TV no matter what the perspective. Sure the newspaper and the internet is just as biased, but I can skim through it without having to endure all of the caustic and pedantic shouting and condescension...

8/24/2006 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

This was a great post.....but I will say that I have no problem allowing my children to watch a video in the car as we're driving hours to go be outdoors, or go on vacation, or take them to see something they've never seen........so if watching a movie entertains them in the car for hours......then so be it........the world is going to be there when the car stops and we get out to explore

8/24/2006 06:45:00 PM  
Blogger sassinak said...

peasant: i think you're right, that said i did replace a lot of that time with blogging so who's to say it's any better. well i am actually but regardless :)

pyr: you didn't even get tvo? damm dude. as for disney? fucking right it did, i can't count the number of movies my parents my sister and i watched that way... the parent trap, freaky friday, herbie 1-infinity, etc etc ... god that was great.

i do watch shows, house, survivor, gilmore girls and a few others, and by few i mean maybe four. those make about 4 hours a week and i tape them so i sometimes don't watch for weeks :)

ohhh weeds is awesome.

as for your nephews and nieces? i feel bad for them, they'll grow up to be couch potatoes with no idea what they're missing.

john: yeah i don't either, i watch it at christmas when all my clients are away :)

i prefer tv to movies actually so i rent shows or watch tapes when you would rent a movie.

news is not for sound bytes.

8/24/2006 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger Pyrhonik said...

I will never forget Tony & Tia from Witch Mountain or the Apple Dumpling Gang.

You have mail chickie!



8/24/2006 07:03:00 PM  
Blogger Hubris said...

well written, Sass.
I've changed from a few years ago. I used to search for a medai source that was reliable and unbiased.
I read so many accounts of conflict, opression and pain in the world. Yet I can no longer believe any media source. Did they cover whats happening? Yes. These things do happen. They were there to report on it. I believe that part. What I can't do anymore is believe that the source I am reading is unbiased, giving me all the facts they know, and free from a political agenda or government pressure.

I don't bother anymore.

Like the mom who scolds both kids for fighting saying, "I don't CARE which one of you started it! You're both in the wrong."

8/25/2006 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger Pyrhonik said...

That's bang on Hubris. I'm the same. Having worked for a newspaper and a magazine, I fully believe that every publication medium out there; TV, radio, and print is spiced with a bias that comes from above. Political, big business, government or the ideals of the ownership group. Whatever, I'm not interested in the subliminal other agenda and that is the primary reason I didn't pursue a career in Journalism. I couldn't stomach being a part of that. I'm not a political person to begin with. Not that I avoid confrontation or abstain from manipulation, far from it. The only agenda I propogate is my own, and that grows as I do. But I don't accept lightly, and therefore the incorporation of ideals other than mine is slow to merge with what I already hold strong in my life.

8/25/2006 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger sassinak said...

kj: thanks. and the truth of it is i'm not sure that i would either but nonetheless this is how the image struck me.

i can't make parenting decisions for others, that would imply that i was or am or get to be a parent and that doesn't seem in my cards. that said, i would hope that y'all also play the license plate game or sign games or whatever as well as watching movies.

pyr: i didn't see either of those shows, are we the same age? and i see my mail and thank you for it, i do appreciate such things!

hubris: thanks man.

i stopped listening to the radio a long time ago and i gave up newspapers longer ago than that. tv news was never something that i willingly watched actually and i don't expect to start now.

conflict and oppression and pain are all happening, but i don't ever believe we get the whole story. click on the new link 'how arabs see the world' for a different perspective if you like.

they really are both in the wrong, too bad the planet doesn't have a mom for the bitch slapping.

8/25/2006 11:32:00 AM  
Anonymous gabriella said...

i was wondering what the hell 'blue glow' meant.....slow, i am. yes. (she shakes her head very very slowly from side to side....sigh.)\

when i was a kid we were so poor it was only when i was about 8 years old with chicken pox (and then only when my 'beloved' brother got it too) that my father rented a black and white TV for us to watch while we were at home scratching ourselves to scabdom.

then the 'rents decided, 'oh hey, TV is kinda neat.' (this was like 1967!!!) someone dumped an old TV in a wooden stand in the garbage. so my father brought it upstairs and he took it apart, took all the tubes to the drugstore, tested them, bought replacement ones (they sold this shit in drugstores in those days believe it or not) and the TV worked. we only got a colour TV after i was in high school, in the 70s.

presently we have big-ass Toshiba (used, refurbished) in the livingroom. (took me forever to buy a DVD player. waited until they were so cheap they were almost giving them away. had a VCR that my kids fed unmentionables to when they were young.) the other big-ass TV that someone gave me crapped out when we had a power surge a few years ago. took it to the repair. got told it's too expensive to repair (of course they did repair it and sold it to someone like me who bought the Toshiba that someone else brought in and was told it's too expensive to repair.... ad nauseum.)

TV? boring...... boring boringboringboring.

internet? has its good points.

so, ms sassinak: women over 40 have problems remembering nouns.

shit. i noticed.



8/25/2006 06:36:00 PM  
Anonymous gabriella said...

oh yeah, when i first saw the title, i thought Blue Glow might mean something sexual.

.........yeah, i know...........

i'll crawl into my cave now.

8/25/2006 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger HuneeB said...

I happen to have a very storng opionion about television and children since it is my area of main study; so not to piss anyone off I will keep it to myself.


Hugs Sass!

8/25/2006 10:54:00 PM  
Blogger sassinak said...

pyr: yeah he really did didn't he?

everyone has a bias, some try harder than others to overcome it but you can't help it, you believe that what you grow up with is right... whether youknow it of not.

you would have made a good investigative reporter and a terrible journalist.

yeah, i change slowly but constantly as well.

gabi: you crack me up, you really do.

we had a black and white tv when i was growing up. we got a colour tv when i was in grade seven and cable when i was thirteen [cause nana was coming and parents wanted to distract her with her soaps]

i have that same toshiba except it's a hand me down from my dad... and i don't have a dvd player but i do use my playstation as such...

i like very little tv, but what i like i like a lot.

yeah ms. gabi, i wasn't happy to hear that myself.

cause i already noticed and i'm thirty five...


gabi redux: i have been lost in sexual fantasy land this week but that has nothing to do with the title...

my cave is next door babe!

hunee: share please, what's the point if we don't share opinions and try to be nice about it?

8/25/2006 11:31:00 PM  
Blogger terry said...

i watch too much tv.

i also work in the media. i have a bias, but i try to keep it out of my work. it's my duty.

but hubris makes a good point, about the sources...

8/26/2006 12:46:00 AM  
Blogger sugarpunk said...

agreed.. do NOT take the TV in the car.. how stupid is that?

8/26/2006 02:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Princess Valium said...

Well fuckity fuck.

I seriously spent HOURS drafting the bandwidth-sucking response of a lifetime and fucking Blogger ate it.

It's a good thing I'm too exhausted from all that thinking to get really worked up over it. Man, there were actually some intelligent thoughts in there. And now I'll never be able to prove I had them! Or even remember them come morning (let's be real-- afternoon).

I should have had the foresight to draft the massive epistle in Word and then paste it into the comments. Apparently I'm not as clever as I think.

8/26/2006 04:35:00 AM  
Blogger JMai said...


I infrequently watch tv and I notice it more now that Chulo is here... because he will walk into a room and turn it on. And for him, it's just white noise and he isnt really watching but it's weird if I get home before him and I start cooking or sorting the mail or doing whatever and I'm going about my merry way and there is no noise in the background and that's ok. And when he gets in it's like the room is filled with blinking lights and chatter. Weird.

I think it's probably the result of growing up in a big family where there's ALWAYS noise (trust me, when we are in Orlando there's not a moment's peace and I LOVE IT -- because my family is small -- but i'm always happy to go home where it's comfy and tranquil) and then moving out and disovering the loudness of silence. He has to have the tv on to fall asleep even, so I think it's more the background noise than the concept of television but it's still weird for me.

But yes the kids and their dependence on television and all things electronic freaks me out. Like you, I didn't have cable until I was 14 or so and by then I was too busy being social to care much for television.

As for conditioning kids... I know firsthand what middle eastern countries are like these days and I have been out at touristy places where the looks on their faces when they see me and my family is like they just stepped in a giant pile of dog shit, and when you comment to them in Arabic they're taken aback but quickly restore their sneers and make rude comments in return about how we are foreigners even if we're not. And it's depressing. This is the middle kids, not the 5-8 year olds -- but it's only a matter of time. Scary.

I think there is no unbiased media and your example is spot-on. We're all being conditioned and it's everywhere.

8/26/2006 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger sassinak said...

terry: i used to, my addiction was way over twenty hours a week at the height of my post-accident bullshit.

and when i worked in the media i watched a pile of tv but it wasn't really the same thing.

and hubris' point is the scariest of all. when journalists change the news for the tide of public opinion how is public opinion supposed to change?

punk: you don't have to take the tv, these days they come built in.

pv: i fucking hate when blogger does that. sometimes you can get it back with judicious use of the back button but not very often.

actual hours? dammit now i want to know what you were going to say. oh yeah, and did you want the toaster oven?

i don't see why you think we'd be surprised that you have smart thoughts, i'm used to it, heck i even expect it! how's your afternoon treating you?

a lot of folks draft that way since blogger sucks so much.

8/26/2006 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger sassinak said...

jmai: how do you feel about this invasion of white noise into your home? i find that when i go to a bar with televisions that i can't track the conversation because the moving pictures are so distracting. it's not that i want to watch tv it's that i can't drag my eyes away. it's like i don't have immunity anymore or something.

i'm sure you're right about the why of it with chulo, i think that describes othercat's partner as well. he's just not happy without noise of some kind and he's usually ignoring it (and i watch enraptured like commuters at a car wreck)

man if the tv is on i can't fall asleep... funny cause i wouldn't be able to live with him whether i wanted to or not!

i don't mind tv with kids hey it's just that we've gone way overboard. kids sitting outside with trees and a lake and rocks to climb wailing about how bored they are. i don't see silly fun on lawns like i used to... where's the slipn'slide or whatever?

i had no social life, but i was busy swimming.

oh man it's like if i try to speak french in quebec, they're actually more offended by my accent than happy that i speak the language. no wonder people find them arrogant. i didn't realise that arabic people would do that as well but that makes me really sad to hear.

what's weird is they know you understand and they continue to do it... so rudeness is okay too because you don't count as people...

even though we know we're being conditioned it's still brutally hard to avoid.

8/26/2006 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger Madame X said...

how can you teach your children the truth of the world around them if they never see it?

Wonderful words Sass and so correct.

I grew up with cartoons only on Saturday mornings now any time of the day my kids can access cartoons...I don't let them but they KNOW the 'toons are out there waiting for them.

8/26/2006 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger Dark Lady said...

My children recently returned from an extended vacation.
For the enitre time that they were gone the TV was silent.
It is amazing what you can hear and see when the TV is off.

8/26/2006 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger sassinak said...

madame: thanks. i always find it really interesting which of my words hit people the most. and for me that sentence summed up the whole post.

i remember saturday morning cartoons... and i think spiderman was on at lunch
'spider man spiderman does whatever a spider can...'

i wonder if it's the knowing... i knew they weren't there so i didn't miss them.

milady: isn't it just? the quiet noises are so much more interesting once you learn to hear them.

i was lving in the country once and my visiting friend was talking about the noises and how it was nothing and so i started telling her everything that i heard. her city ears couldn't hear it at all and to me it was nigh on deafening.

8/26/2006 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger terry said...

saturday morning cartoons! and playing outside, on the slip and slide... on bikes... running through sprinklers... whatever. how i loved all of that.

times have changed. i know many parents who are afraid to let their kids just go outside and play anywhere they want, they way we did when we were little.

8/26/2006 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger JMai said...

Sass - the background noise doesn't really bother me. I don't really pay attention to the content, I'm just aware of its presence.

Actually I've started putting the tv on on the mornings while we're getting ready. I used to either have the radio on (vestige from the alarm) or just have silence and that was fine, but I find with the morning news on, I can hear the weather and the traffic and even get a little bit of news. Granted the local news is vastly unimportant, but I have a friend who always harps me for my ignorance of the news (she produces news, so I guess it offends her somehow), and at least I can get some idea of what's going on in the world outside of mine. Not that it's ever good news....

8/27/2006 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger sassinak said...

terry: oh yeah baby, and tinker toys and lego and make believe with sticks for wands.... god it was great.

i know those same parents and i say to them 'go and play WITH you kids' or 'do what silken laumann did and arrange neighbourhood nights where parents hang at the park and watch their kids play together....

jmai: interesting, it would drive me nigh on to nuts. hell i can't read seriously with music on.

i find it interesting that for you it's a simple adjustment. as for the news? i'm ever so much happier since i stopped hearing it.

8/27/2006 02:49:00 PM  
Anonymous princess valium said...

Sass-- there were a lot of things said in this post that I totally disagree with, and seeing as how you and I totally disagreeing on something is rare, I thought I'd talk about it. And there were several compliments in there too, and a squee of joy over the Apple Dumpling Gang. I'm still pissed off at Blogger.

I cracked and got a toaster oven a few months ago. Honestly, the best purchase I've made outside of the dehumidifier. Thanks for thinking of me, though.

8/27/2006 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger sassinak said...

PV: damm i'm really sad blogger ate that comment then. too often my posts lack an opposite, someone to disagree with me and it's why i miss eddie (republican capitalist who ever disagree with me but did it with class and respect) still. nonetheless i do wonder what you disagreed with so i can think about it, i've always found your opinions sound even when i didn't share them.

yay for compliments and for whatever the fuck the apple dumpling gang is!

dude i'm glad you got a toaster over, they're the best tool for cooking ever. hrm, wonder who wants one then.

8/27/2006 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one that doesn't get things right off...takes awhile for me sometimes. :)

8/28/2006 08:20:00 PM  

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