I'm not a communist, I don't think that everything should be predetermined and rationed out. However, I'm starting to wonder if having absolute control over every minute detail of our lives is serving our best interests in the long run.
In another post I spoke of my strict grandmother who refused to let my brother and I leave the kitchen table until all of our vegetables and foul tasting fish were consumed. I'm certain that my father had it even worse with her when he was a kid. When he was young there wasn't a grocery store for miles so if he was hungry he was compelled to eat whatever gruel my grandma had made in bulk earlier that week. In his world growing up, in my early childhood the only alternative to starvation was eating that which could arguably called food AND eating all of it.
With the commercialization of food, convenience was born but with the advantage of convenience there came a price. The hidden consequence of food sold for profit is that it is generally bad for you. Fast food is bad for us because it prey's on our susceptibility to getting hooked on things that are high in salts, fats and sugars. Further, things that are low in nutritional value are generally easier/cheaper to produce The end result is that we become a nation of junk food junkies circling a late night Taco Bell parking lot like a bunch of overweight buzzards.
But, you know all of that already. My problem is that I intellectually know that eating fast food is bad for me and for my life in the long run. Yet, if you put a bubbling hot pepperoni pizza and some lawn clippings drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette in front of me and ask me to pick one to eat, I will always pick the pizza. In addition, if you asked me to pick between a thin crust whole wheat pizza with feta cheese and arugula or the bubbling hot pepperoni with stuffed crust, I would pick the pepperoni.
Perhaps you dear reader are superior to me. Perhaps your body is a temple and you have made the "connection." For you, I will extend the field of my argument in order to make my point.
If you ask people how many hours of television they watch per week they will typically downplay the number. Further, most people will also besmirch television programming as a cancer on their lives. Yet, in North America there is on average more than one television per household. For a nation of people who don't watch television and who hate the programming, we sure do buy some really expensive night lights.
But I've already argued the hypocrisy of television watchers, today I want to talk about the programs themselves. About 15-20 years ago now a whole slew of new cable networks were introduced. The new wave of programming was intended to cater to more specified groups of television watchers. The idea was that not everyone wanted to watch the same type of programming at the same time. This model worked for a short while until everyone realized that you can make more money appealing to a general audience rather than a specific one.
I'm not certain where the change began but we can certainly start from the present and work our way backward. MTV, a network created to show music videos and music related programming no longer shows music. The Discovery Channel a network dedicated to science, geography and understanding how things work has become the unofficial chopper and custom motorcycle building channel. The History Channel no longer talks about World War II and ancient Rome. Now the closest thing the Channel gets to telling tales of the past is when Chumlee tells Rick on Pawn Stars that he used to have a Teddy Ruxpin doll back in the 80's.