Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Thank you, TBG!  Now I better understand why I have always felt so disaffected and alienated from my culture of origin.  When TV hucksters would opine "You can't afford not to buy this!" my father would snort: "You can always afford NOT to buy something!"  Then when I was 17 I read Vance Packard's The Hidden Persuaders.  Made sense to me.  We are immersed in a sea of adverts and most people alive have had their minds formed under their baleful influence.  Little wonder that we in the USA are such a nation of sheep, and not just us.  George Lakoff says "repetition equals brain path" or something similar.  That is why I find cable TV unwatchable without a mute button handy.  It is annoying and oppressive.  I can certainly sympathize with friends who withdraw or live apart from the world.

One great gift my father gave me was a healthy skepticism about the world in general and religion in particular.  (Most of us on ET are probably familiar with Thorstein Veblen's hilarious description of church denominations as franchise distributors of belief.)  Fortunately, I grew up in the 50s in rural Oklahoma and learned to love reading before we got a TV.  But even there and then that fact set me apart. And from 1960, when I left home for college, until my wife and I got together ten years later, I rarely watched TV and did not own one.  For seven years we watched her little 13" B&W when we watched anything.

As a people we refuse to seriously consider the implications of turning over our children to the tender mercies of the TV programmers for babysitting on the cheap.  That probably does as much as anything to explain how we could elect GWB twice.  Rove was a very adroit marketeer and he pitched to an audience that had been well and truly conditioned by growing up watching TV.  There was a time when children learned argumentation from the adults, when people got together and actually talked about the events in their lives.  That has largely been replaced by canned TV entertainment.  There are a small number who manage to escape the net that is thrown over them by the media, but they are well less than 1% of the population, by my estimate.  Hope I am low on that estimate, fear I am not.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 02:26:50 AM EST

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