Attractive as this theory is, it unhappily has a couple of flaws in it. First, even if all of the groups named above have indeed banded together in this unholy enterprise, together with the British monarchy, the Holy See, the Bank of England, the Jesuits, the Club of Rome, the Mont Pelerin Society, the United Nations, and the Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce, one important factor is missing: compulsion. Assuming for the moment that the vast conspiracy is indeed using both cable and network television to turn us all into Round Table-programmed robots, their agents are not as yet going door-to-door in the guise of Jehovah’s Witnesses and forcing us to watch bad TV. The second problem is one of sheer logistics, but one could respond that with their untold resources stockpiled in Mount Weather, Raven Rock, Area 51, and similar secret locations, they can do anything.

There is a still darker solution to the conundrum, which is that network and cable-TV executives program what they think will sell to the great American public”€”and that for the former, this means immediately canceling any show that isn’t bringing home the Nielsen bacon. Moreover they are hampered because they cannot go for the soft porn that cable can. It is a symbiotic relationship: The more crud that is dished out, the more the public demands to sate its appetite. But ultimately, as with soft drinks and recreational drugs, it is the consumer who decides how he wants to ruin his physique and aesthetic.

Which brings us to the situation’s truly horrifying reality: We are ultimately the arbiters of our entertainment, and as a group we prefer crap! We may condemn both our culture and our real or imagined rulers for what is offered, but we have only ourselves to blame for our choices. So if there is nothing on any of the billion TV channels you want to watch, turn to YouTube.

If that palls, go to Google Books, Project Gutenberg, or the Internet Archive and read all the classic works of fiction and nonfiction you did not get in school. You may well enjoy it.

 



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