The Revolution Will Be Televised
Published: October 27, 2010
I like teevee, and before there was a Great Recession, I used to fucking mainline it, baby, I mean, I had every flavor of that sweet cable stuff, seriously: Showtime and Home Box and Cinemax and Starz and The Movie Channel, all On-Demand and iN Demand and Back By Popular Demand, you name it, and if it came through a cable, I was on the other end huffing that shit. So many colors. USA, QVC, AMC, C-SPAN, ION, Bravo, LOGO, TBS, TNT, Spike, FX, The Learning Channel, Discovery Channel, History Channel, truTV, MTV, BET, The Weather Channel, Headline News, Fox News, Comedy Central, MSNBC, CNBC, EWTN, TV One, The Travel Channel, The Food Network, C-SPAN 2, C-SPAN 3, Bloomberg, WGN, the E-exclamation-point channel, MTV2, SOAPnet, The Military Channel, BBC America, the Fine Living Channel, lowercase-s style, National Geographic, Current TV, Fox Business, Fuse, MoviePlex, Encore, Reelz, G4, Syfy, Sundance, Independent Film Channel, Flix, Retirement Living TV (I recommend The Florence Henderson Show), Game Show Network, Fit TV, Oxygen, NFL, Pentagon Channel, Palladia, TBN, the Inspirational Channel, and a whole bunch more I can’t even remember, like the channel that had car auctions, and the channel that had some kinda live feed from Outer Space on all the time, I swear, I used to watch ‘em all, just let all that Programming Goodness rain down on me in a steady shower of Entertainment and Information, even the fucking TV Guide channel, man, where, like, the programs were all smooshed up into a third of the screen so they could run a crawl of the TV listings, which you didn’t really need because you could just pop up a channel listings guide with your remote, but still I watched it. I used to sit and watch stuff like the Baltimore City Government channel with the City Council meetings on it, and the Cable-TV classified ads with real estate listings and cringe-tastic personal ads, yow!
But then I started Getting Paid Less, or Not At All by fucking everybody who was signing checks at me, so I had to Economize, and after I nickel-and-dimed myself to a Low Budget, I was still way over, so my beloved Cable Teevee had to go. Yeah, I didn’t Reduce it or scale it back, because seriously, that’s like a Heroin Enthusiast’s accountant going, “Look, your expenses are getting out of control. You need to cut back on your Heroins, umkay? I’m not saying you gotta stop, I’m just saying do less of it, OK?” Well, uh, no. No, man, I am not doing less of my Addiction. It’s either coursing through my veins at Maximum Un-Stepped-On strength or I am breaking out the white bread and mayonnaise for the big Cold Turkey sandwich I am about to eat. I mean, I can’t keep Home Box and get rid of Showtime, man, that’s like only getting the peanut butter part of the Reese’s cup, you know?
So I decided to just cut the cable, and then of course what the Comcast did was immediately jack up my Internets by 15 bucks since they were coming through the same pipe, but I told ‘em I would switch to the Verizon one, so they gave me a discount, but now all of a sudden they wanna charge me like $54 a month for fucking Internets, man, are you kidding me?
Anyway, I don’t have Cable Teevee anymore, and it still hurts. I watch Regular Teevee, and seriously, half the ads are for getting Cable or Dish or Directv or FiOS, but the other thing that happened was this goddamn Digital Broadcast Television thing so I hadda go out and get these stupid fucking Digital Tuner boxes because now the televisions that have worked perfectly fine since when Television Was Invented are too dumb to understand the signals anymore, so you get this extra little tuner-box, but what nobody told anybody was where you used to be able to get a signal with some rabbit-ears antennas or whatever, you used to be able to get Something, even in your basement, but now you have to have a supercalifragalistic Digital antenna to get anything, and if it only comes in a little bit you don’t get anything except a message on your TV saying YOU ARE NOT GETTING THIS CHANNEL BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT GETTING IT BECAUSE IT IS NOT COMING IN or something super fucking helpful like that.
The fun part of the Broadcast teevee now though is they are adding weirdo extra channels like the 11-2 channel of WBAL which shows the inside of a radio studio at WBAL radio. Radio on television, man, this is The Future? Even I will not watch that shit. Howabout running some extra news reruns or Law & Order or something, jeez. I do enjoy the THIS channel (45-2), which shows movies you never heard of or forgot about or no other form of Television cares about any more, but they are movies! It’s totally fucking amazing how good some old Made For TV movie can be when all the other channels are showing infomercials for power tools and girdles or the side of some radio announcer’s head. Also there is the The Cool TV channel (54-2), which—get a load of this—is a channel that just shows music videos. That’s all it fucking does, seriously, music videos, can you fucking believe that?
> Email Joe MacLeod