Honestly, I don't know what to make of this. Someone submitted it to my blog anonymously a few months ago... its very weird, but i think it deserves some attention. Ive left it intact, with all spelling and grammatical errors.

>buttons pressed
>sound of wheels turning
>some static faint in the background
>flick flick of a lighter
>exhale

we started the project in the fifties. at first, the chairmen were hesitant to invest so much time and effort into something that only a few people were going to have. eventually they realized that television was the way of the future and that everybody was going to have one.

>pause
>exhale

so we started at looking at what was actually going on inside the television, and more specifically what was coming out of it.

>coughing
>pause
>exhale

we didn't have anything worth testing until the sixties though, and it was only in 10% of the homes in the united states, but our research indicated that it was working. then we heard about color television.

>tap tap
>pause

we jumped on that one.

>exhale

when color television sets hit the market everybody bought one. your black and white set wasn't good enough anymore, you had to have a color set. if you weren't watching johnny carson in garish rainbow hues you might as well of been a communist.

>chuckle
>pause
>tap tap

and if you were watching johnny carson in garish rainbow hues you were ours. like i said before, the technology was still new. it worked but it didn't do much. all we could do for five years was look, watch, listen, record. it was very voyeuristic in the early years. people were watching the screens in front of them, listening to the sounds coming out of the little box, and people on the other side of the screen were watching the people in front of them, listening to the sounds echoing inside their little skulls.

>pause
>exhale
>chuckle

it didn't take much work to get our technology inside the monitors of computers. that was a huge step for us at the time, because the only computers around were operated by the government and major colleges and institutions. all of a sudden we weren't spying on joe average from smallville north carolina- we were privy to the leaders of the free world.

>flick flick
>puff
>exhale

that turned out to be a nice little bonus. although, as i said, we were just looking. we couldn't touch yet.

>pause
>tap tap
>exhale

we figured out how to do that in the eighties.

>pause
>exhale

we already knew how the process would work before we even had the ability to do it. we knew what had to happen, in what order, for how long, we just needed the technology to do it. believe it or not, the original designs for that were scribbled on the back of a placemat from a diner. they aren't that impressive, really. they're only three equations and a diagram.

>puff
>tap tap

and they're next to a rather crude cartoon of our waitress. our supervisors weren't very pleased with our presentation of that technology.

>pause
>exhale

CAN YOU TELL US HOW THAT PROCESS WORKS?

>pause
>tap tap

sure.

>exhale

the first thing you have to do is get a lock on the viewers consciousness. that takes time. it depends on the viewer but usually 5 or 10 minutes is enough. you lull the consciousness into a kind of trance with ... well, i can't tell you specifics for legal reasons, but i think you get the idea. the conscious level has to be be a lot lower than it usually is, but not too low, or the viewer goes to sleep. there's a delicate balance.

>pause
>exhale

i assume you're familiar with the concepts behind hypnotism and suggestion. this is a lot like that, except your ... participant isn't aware you're doing it, much less willing. but once you get them into that state you can pump them with anything you want.

>pause
>puff

the real gem came at 4 in the morning in the late nineties. a bunch of us wondered if we couldn't put something out and then fetch it again later. that late at night, or early in the morning, it's really easy to get a lock on their consciousness. so we wrote something out during one of those infomercials. we waited a few hours and tried to get it back around 8am, and we did. we could still get it at noon, and at 4am the next day, and for weeks afterward. months even. it was buried in their subconscious, sort of like a repressed memory.

>pause
>flick flick
>exhale

believe me, that got us in a bunch of trouble. for years our team was on probabation. our security access was cut, we were relocated, everything except given the pink slip. a few years later we got off probably, only to find they were using our little distributed network trick without giving us credit.

>puff
>exhale
>pause

first day back on the job they pull us all into a conference room. there are no screens in conference rooms in our buildings, of course. for some reason they use old fashion bugs. they pull us all into this conference room and they tell us what they want. then they walk out. no questions, no specifics. we're almost ready to present what we have to them. i'm really proud of it, it's amazing.

CAN YOU TELL US WHAT IT IS?

>scraping, chair across floor

you're familiar with the knowledge that humans don't use all of their brains, that we only use a small percentage of our brains?

YES.

do you know how distributed processing works?

YES.

we can issue instructions to, and make queries of, our distributed networks now.

YOU MEAN LIKE "WHAT'S TWO PLUS TWO?"

>laughter

yes, like "what is two plus two?" but also like "where is john smith?" also like "how many people are standing on the corner of Fifth and Washington in San Diego California?" it's not just about asking questions and getting answers, though. we can make them do things.

>pause

WHAT KINDS OF THINGS?

call your mother this sunday. buy something from mcdonald's. walk out of the office right now. if you're male, think about sex; if you're female, think about mr. right. the next time your boss gives you a project, tell him to "shove it." when the presidential candidates visit a city near you, try to kill them. forget about what you saw in the sky the evening of the twenty first of july, 1973.

>pause

CAN I BUM A SMOKE?


I wish i knew what to make of this. Its freaky. I have no clue who wrote it, but ive left it on my weblog.
its something to think about

Television as a socializing agent

Young children are strongly influenced by television. The only activity they spend more time doing is sleeping. The average American child watches about 27 hours of television each week. By the time they finish elementary school children have seen more than 100,000 violent acts on television. Even very young children prefer violent cartoons. A lot of research has suggested that TV violence leads to aggressive behavior in children and teenagers. Some studies have shown that excessive TV viewing is linked to childhood obesity. There is also research showing that there is a relationship between too much television watching and disturbances of sleep.

A child’s view of the world is shaped by television. Television programs easily manipulate the beliefs of children. Television tends to socialize children into active consumers. Television begins socializing children before schools, religious institutions and peers can.

Television can be effective as an educational medium. Shows like Mr. Rogers Neighborhood and Sesame Street have been proven to help with social behavior and vocabulary.

Source: The World of Psychology 4th Edition

The afternoon had begun inconspicuously enough. My friend Brandon had a date that weekend with a cute guy he had just met. Friday night, they were going to go to the big dance club downtown, then Sunday they were going to go to the only real gay bar in Lincoln, where Brandon's heartthrob was to perform a number in drag. The only problem was that Brandon, being a minor, had never really been to a bar or dance club, so he didn't quite know what to wear. I, however, having been to such clubs, had a vague notion what was "cool" and "appropriate" for men trying to look attractive to other, half-drunk men. Brandon thus enlisted me to the task of "making him over," more or less against my will.

Me, as fashion adviser. It felt like something from Full House, like I was Kimmy coming over to help D.J. find the perfect outfit for the hot guy from school, and somewhere in the whole mess D.J. would be broke and would have to get a humiliating job at some fast-food joint so that she could afford the expensive make-up and blouse (not to mention a prodigious amount of hair-spray) because Danny already gave her an advance on this week's allowance for the shoes she just had to have, because everyone else at school had them, so that we get set up for a nice moral by the end of the show, where we learn that you don't have to buy things in order to be liked, in fact if a person is worth knowing you at all, they will like you for who you are, and not for what you wear.

So there I was, playing the part. Brandon and I were at Gordman's, perusing the latest Fubu had to offer. Brandon only had a twenty-five-buck gift card to spend, so our options were limited. I did the best I could in my awkwardly-fitting role; it was largely a benevolent foray into consumerism, though we bought nothing.

It had begun to rain by the time we left. We jogged to my minivan and we drove to Taco Bell for lunch for under five bucks. He had a ten, and the sitting room was open, so we didn't have to go through the drive thru and pay with quarters. Like we did last time.

We got our tacos and jazz and sat down next to the windows, and Brandon told me a little bit more about his latest infatuation, his latest preoccupation with the boy he affectionately called "Sammi."

The normally dour continence of his face softened a bit. He smiled that slightly-shy smile so indicative of twitterpation. He told me about all the ways Sammi was nice to him; how he remembered all the little details, how he listened to what Brandon had to say.

I couldn't help but think, I've heard this all before.

No, not from Brandon. But from other people. Like they were all following the same script. Like they had all picked up this script from an amalgam of sitcoms, romantic comedies, full-blown romances, and day-time and evening soap operas.

Then there's the time Brian and Tony broke up. Brian and I were in the study lounge of my dorm, where I was tutoring Brian for an upcoming GRE. Tony had given Brian a cell phone -- a gift, though they had only been dating a week -- and the cell phone rang. Brian mentioned I was with him. Tony asked to speak with me, and Brian, confused, obligingly handed me the phone.

"Hi Jake. What are you up to?"

"I'm just here, helping Brian studying for his GRE. What's up?"

"Hey, listen, are you going to be there a while?"

"I don't know, it's kind of hard to say..."

"Well, will you just keep him there for like, ten, fifteen minutes? I have a surprise for him."

It seemed innocuous enough. I mean, what frilly queen doesn't want to shower his newly-found soulmate with gifts and surprises?

A few minutes later, Tony appears, with a large, rather well-built guy behind him. The phone, as it turns out, was the built guy's. Tony had borrowed it for the purpose of catching Brian cheating.

Tony demanded the return of the phone. Finger-wagging ensued, where Tony accused Brian of not being faithful. Brian flatly denied everything. I was silently caught in the middle.

When does the bitchslap happen? I thought. Or the next convenient plot device?

People like to say that television rots your brain, but I'm not sure what they mean by it, or that that's all it does. TV's effects can be felt in just about everything we do, in the expectations we have, in every area of our life.

It seems that people, when pursuing an object of their affection, attempt to emulate the rituals and examples set forth by the dominant media outlets. They have the same insecurities; they say the same things; they have the same feelings. We come to expect our friends to be like Ross, Chandler, Joey, Phoebe, Rachel, and the other girl. We come to expect work to be a colossal pain but a necessary evil.

The television tells us there are two political parties, and we come to percieve Democrat/Republican splits. The television tells us that drugs are bad and that good and evil exist in the world, and we believe it. We see the world in technicolor.

But none of it is necessary, as in, a logical consequence of the world as it is. The television captures a reality that does exist, but when that reality is itself a reflection of the media which feeds it, it captures nothing but itself. Our imagination colors the way we perceive the world through our media; reality imitates our imagination; and thus our entire world is subject to the dry creativity of a few people with their fingers over the "On the Air" button.

Television also teaches us to expect life to be exciting and quick, served to us in bright colors and profound moments. It is truly McLuhan-esque, where the way we live our lives is shaped by one of the most dominating media we have. Real life doesn't come in half-hour segments punctuated by commercial breaks, it isn't defined in segments between sweeps weeks. But we live our lives that way.

Why else do we obsess about closure for our grief? Why is it so hard for people to imagine the viability of intimate relationships once the initial romance is gone? Why else do we seek constant sensory stimulation, whether it be in the form of music on our car stereo, the candy bars we munch on between meals, the sexual flings we embark upon in our youth and in our middle age? Why else do we fear boredom and quiet, eschew introspection, and pursue the next exciting installment of our lives? Why do we compare a humorous episode from our daily lives to what could happen on a typical episode of Full House? We supersize fast-food meals, not because we need the extra food, but because we want that oh-so-blissful moment of Mikky-D goodness to last just a little longer before we have to return to our regularly scheduled programming.

We talk about TV, we learn from TV, we model ourselves after TV, we view our own lives as television shows. Television permeates our lives to the point that we use it to define them. It doesn't just rot our brains. It becomes our brain (collective).

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