Last night I stayed in with Randy Lee and Ursula and watched cable tv, something I almost never do except in hotel rooms. TV continues to baffle me, but its misuse is something that has been talked about for decades (see the Glass Teat by Harlan Ellison). The one thing that does become more and more clear is that the effort involved in creating a 15 second national ad campaign is much larger than the effort involved in writing, scripting and acting a television show. The Simpson’s satire machine aside the average television program is less complex than an episode of Sesame Street. (But with sex/violence/human stupidity instead of education)
The human stupidity factor is becoming the greatest form of human expression and communication in the content of media in the early 21st century. By simply filming the events of normal people doing uneducated and senseless things and rebroadcasting these events back to the same normal uneducated people the media is creating a feedback loop of popular stupidity as an act of comic relief .
We are as a culture reflecting on the painful delight of watching someone hurt themselves, embarrass themselves, or otherwise create a simple situation that could have been avoided by foresight but was not. I am not saying some of it isn’t ridiculously funny, I am as inculcated in the cult of dark humor as anyone, but is that all the media has to say? “Look! Stupid people do stupid things! Isn’t that great!?”
The web is bringing us the ability to actively take a role in the form, structure and content of the data we are pounded with mentally everyday. We are becoming ever complex in our way of thinking as a race and the mind’s ability to adapt is evolving rapidly to meet the influx of data the average person is being exposed to by just going about their day. Shouldn’t the TV be trying to keep up with this architecture of active, rather than passive, media consumption?