Friday, January 8, 2010

Wasteland? I Think Not

I am a child of the 50’s, the golden age of television. I can sing most of the songs from the Mickey Mouse Club, the original show with Karen and Cubby, Annette, and the Big Mooseketeer; not the version with Brittany, Justin and Christina. I spent every Saturday morning of my youth in front of the television with Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, Sky King, and Circus Boy. These shows were probably not what they were referring to when they talk about the golden age. I always loved television. I still love television. I admit it’s a guilty pleasure.

I know people who say, usually with superiority, that they never watch TV. Why is not watching TV considered a virtue? Or, if TV is watched, they only admit to Masterpiece Theater and the history channel.

Time for true confessions…I love it all. While it is socially acceptable to admit to watching 60 Minutes, the evening news, and maybe the finals of American Idol, I’ve been known to watch Dog the Bounty Hunter and MTV’s Made. I TiVo Glee and The Real Housewives…all locations! Yes, I’m shallow.

I’m a child of the 50’s. A lot of what I’ve learned over the years I learned from television. Before the Internet, television opened my eyes to the world. I watched the marches in Selma and bus boycott in Birmingham. I saw a presidential assassin murdered in Dallas, a war rage in Vietnam and a riot destroy Watts. Archie Bunker cleverly opened my eyes to institutional racism. Ed Sullivan let me see entertainment that I never would see in my own neighborhood. I laughed at the Smothers Brothers and learned about censorship and black listing.

Television exposed me to a world outside of my own backyard. I’m still learning about that exotic world outside of my own neighborhood. Perhaps Project Runway doesn’t have the social significance of the television of my youth…but it makes me laugh and where else would I see those characters in Hermiston, Oregon?

I’m grateful for television…except for golf, who wants to watch golf?


  1. American Idol? That was my last topic!! I think TV is great, as long as they clean up some of the trash they got going now. BTW, Dog the Bounty Hunter is a Rawk Star, its great. I hate it when people say, I don't watch TV, but they are on the internet all day, whats the difference, right? Nice blog

  2. I don't have a television, although I too watched it avidly [in the UK] in the 1950s.

    I got rid of it after 9/11, because the images of those planes crashing into the twin towers burned so deep into my psyche that I couldn't work for a month. That's the power of the visual. Nowadays, I get my news from the radio and listen to music.

  3. Jeff...thanks so much for the complement.

    Dennis...I get your point about the power of the image, but it is that power that attracts me to TV. Well, that and the ability to peek inside the lives of others.

    Thanks for reading, Nana


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