OK, I admit that to some I may be old. I remember rotary dial telephones, party lines, black and white televisions and antennas on top of rooftops. I grew up in Los Angeles California, so we had it really good. We had channel 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11 and sometimes channel 13. Channel 2, 4 and 7 were major networks. If memory serves correctly channel 2 was ABC, 4 was NBC and 7 was CBS. Channel 5, 9, 11 and 13 were more local channels. At first, our family had 1 TV. It was a monochrome TV and believe it or not, my parents had a remote. It was called children. Me or my sister would change the station for our parents or even readjust the ‘rabbit ears’ on the TV. Dad was the only one to adjust the rooftop antenna for safety reasons of course. It was a big deal when my parents saved up and bought a used color TV on a swivel base. That thing seemed to be possessed because when it got hot, the color would slowly fade. My father got mad one day and open hand slapped the side of the TV and voila, the color snapped back like someone passing out and sniffing smelling salts. It got to the point that, when my dad got up to smack the TV, the color would snap back before my dad could smack it.
In those days, I noticed that when the networks had the news on, they all ran the same news in the same order and had commercials at about the same time. So it never really mattered what station you watched, the news was the same. You basically chose a station for the news anchor that you liked or trusted the most. My grandfather listened to news radio while driving. He listened to ‘KFWB News 98. Give us 10 minutes and we will give you the world’ was there tagline for many years.
In todays world, I noticed that as soon as I get home, the TV is turned on. While it is mostly for the noise, you tend to gravitate to shows that you like. Being a child of the 60’s and 70’s, I gravitated to shows like the Twilight Zone, the Outer Limits, the Hitchcock mystery hour not to mention a few cartoons like Bugs Bunny, Road Runner (beep beep), Rocky and Bullwinkle, Tom Slick, George of the Jungle, the list can go on and on. So today, I still like Science Fiction but I also like the National Geographic channel. My wife like the food network with shows like ‘Chopped’ or ‘Guys Grocery…(whatever). Well, in the 60’s and 70’s, we used antennas to capture television over the air. Then, there was Cable TV and you no longer had to see static when the weather was bad. You would pay a little money and get stations over the air plus movie channels like HBO, Showtime and others. Suddenly there were literally hundreds of stations available. Enter technology today where you can, with the help of modern technology, ‘stream’ whatever you want to watch whenever you want to watch them. So imagine my surprise when my cable company raised its rates. Suddenly, I am paying around $150 a month just for cable and I still can’t get just what I want. So I took control away from my cable company and cancelled cable. They could not understand what I was going to do. They kept telling me that they had all the stations that I wanted and that I would no longer get (enter special programs here). But If I would sign a 2 year contract AND let then put a landline phone in my house, I could save $10/mo. A landline? Who uses a landline? Even my parents who are in there 70’s no longer have a landline. I told the cable company representative that adding a landline to my house is a huge step back in technology, worse than trading in my flat screen High Definition TV for an old tube monochrome unit. So, like so many others, I took control back. I have Hulu, Netflix, Roku TV, Amazon Prime video, CRTV and many others. But there is still one more thing that gives me ultimate control.
Many years back, John Ritter and Pam Dawber made a movie called “Stay Tuned” (1992). The premise of the movie was that a family man is temped by the devil to accept a special satellite dish to get hundreds of movies and TV stations. That satellite dish transported them to a world of twisted TV shows where he and his wife try to escape. They must escape shows like ‘Running over Miss Daisy, a twisted version of ‘Driving Miss Daisy’. Many other twisted versions of TV shows and movies that they must escape. Their kids can see them on TV but cant believe it nor help them. I remember the very end when his wife said to him, and I can only paraphrase as it has been years since I have seen the movie, ‘what do you do when you want the TV to stop?’. He then, finally, and to the devils surprise, pushed the OFF button of the remote returning him and his wife to their home and back to normal life.
The ultimate control is you. With so many choices in life, the OFF button on the remote gives you the ultimate control. Choices give a person control. The fewer choices, the less control. The more choices, the more control. When a government ‘takes’ your money and says to you ‘we will care for you because we know better than you’ you have had your choices removed. The government then controls you because you have fewer choices.
I think that our countries forefathers instinctively knew that. The Constitution of the United States of America was written to control government not the people. You have heard the slogan ‘My body My choice’, well, don’t let anyone take away your choices. Remember, you have the ultimate control….. Just don’t try to control me, remember my life my choice. And I chose to turn the TV off to write this.