Saturday, June 30, 2012

A modest proposal: don't start a revolution, just turn off FOX in waiting rooms.

by Pugilanthropist

I find it amusing that every other week there's someone on a soap box pulling their best Howard Beale, saying they've taken all they can stands and they can't stands no more. So they're calling for revolution.
Good luck with that.
Revolution is violent, messy, and not that much fun. That's one big difference between our ill fated Occupy movement and the Arab Spring. Occupiers and other would-be-anarchists were getting stoned, playing hackeysack and drum circles, occasionally marching and changing the conversation, but overall, just having a good time. Go and ask the Syrians if revolutions are ... fun.
But that said, I think there's a mild revolutionary act all rational minded Americans could take in their own lives. And it wouldn't even be that hard. Simply turn off the FOX television. Not just in your home, but wherever you find yourself killing time. Instead of digging into the ubiquitous smartphone to escape society, transform it ... one click at a time.
I'll give you my own recent example. I just had to take my car into the dealership to get an issue looked at. As I sat down, I saw they were blaring FOX and it was doing its usual xenophobic thing. Now granted, I'm in Montana, this is probably preaching to the choir. But, being a bit of an activist myself, I'm not too happy and I'm watching the crowd just get angrier and angrier. I'm thinking to myself, "man, I should do something about this."
At that moment, the dealership manager walks in to the luxurious customer lounge, and announces "if you guys like, you can change the channel."
No less than a millisecond after he said that, I found my courage and said "yes, I do" and flipped it. Now, it's a family environment, so I just moved it over to the Travel Channel, where they were talking about the best hamburgers in America, so I don't know how much enlightening I accomplished through this action, but I did do something productive: I got FOX out of their brains ... even if just for a second.
Not what was interesting was how much the mood of the room just perked up. In true American fashion, we all chuckled over the idea of peanut butter as a hamburger topping, and other elements of truly unhealthy food. The real unifying element of Americana: borderline dangerous levels of obesity.
Nonetheless, this experience got me to thinking. I've been in a lot of fast food establishments when I'm on the road, I've been in a lot of doctor's offices, a lot of bars ... why not just ask them to change the channel? I'm a paying customer(or a potential one), it's not that big of a deal, and if it stops one kid from being subjected to constant hatemongering, then I've made a difference, even a small one.
And if I can do it ... why can't anyone else? Why can't anyone else who sees Sean Hannity ask the burning questions of the day ("Ronald Reagan ... great president or ... greatest president?") just politely ask the McDonald's to put on a sports game. Or maybe the Discovery channel.
How many people could, by their own very humanity, learn to coexist a little bit more peacefully?
So, I ask you to put down your guns, stop screaming for blood in the streets and do what we do best ... pick up the remote. Be honest with yourself, you weren't going to go all Che Guevara anyways.
 I am not advocating to switch to CNN or MSNBC. To do so would simply marginalize the minority opinion and upset folks.
That isn't the aim with my idea. The plan is just to lower some of the hyperbolic misinformation out there in the world, staring with the guiltiest culprit. And make no mistake about it, progressive that I am, it's impossible not to recognize the bias in the other news outlets as well.
To add to the point: turning off TV is going to rock the boat considerably. It's also just being a jerk. Have you been stuck in a waiting room for hours? That's torture. Anything that speeds up the passage of that time for any unfortunate souls trapped in that predicament is A-OK by me. Yes, I wish they had smart phones and could educate themselves with some actual news. Yes, I wish they picked up the magazines in front of them. Yes, I wish waiting rooms had some actual interesting reading material like Michael Pollan's "Rules for Food" or "The Big Short" or even just some Bukowski. I have different tastes than others and I'm not trying to impose them on others. Let the masses have their cake. Just take some of the saccharine poison out of it.
Now please go and actually do it. FOX News, which is clinically proven to lower knowledge over current events and encourage individuals to vote actively against their own interests, particularly through constant exposure to the lies which have been(in my opinion stupidly) proven constitutional by the Florida state court.

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