The Most Subversive Thing You’ll Ever Watch On Amazon Prime

If you ever visit my house… well, let me know first, I’d hate for you to accidentally be injured by the various “Home Alone” prank gadgets I have stored around the place, alright? Assuming you make it past all that stuff, however, you’ll notice that I don’t have a television on the ground floor. The only TV I personally own is in front of my elliptical machine, because I’m too old and feeble now to continue my old habit of reading while I exercise. Fifteen years ago, I could run a consistent 165 heart rate and hold a book in one hand. Now my eyeballs and hands shake when I do it. So instead I turn on the screen. Otherwise, I don’t watch television for pleasure or recreation. It does not interest me.

That being said, I’ve seen a fair amount of “free TV” lately, thanks to a lot of cheap-hotel travel and Danger Girl’s decision to watch “Yellowstone” on the ad-supported Peacock Channel, and what strikes me most is the astoundingly unreal world pictured in the advertising. The vast majority of ads now feature what we call “people of color” living their best lives. Interracial relationships are the norm, not the exception, as our filter-free President, the most popular ever in history, noted recently. Should people of the year 2080 use our commercials to guess at our lifestyle and experiences, the way some of us do today with regards to the Fifties and Sixties, they will assume that the country was made up almost entirely of middle-class Black people who are in a perpetual state of ecstatic joy simply from being their wonderful selves.

There’s a reason for this: Black people are the most avid consumers of free television in this country. (Asian-Americans are the least.) So while it’s tempting to view what you see on free TV as some kind of broad-ranging brainwashing conspiracy, it’s perfectly easy to explain in terms of the almighty dollar. People want to see themselves represented in their media. The same is true as it applies to age and education; a major percentage of advertising now is aimed at low-education Medicare recipients and/or older people with an astounding diversity of diseases requiring targeted pharma products.

As you might expect, it’s also very easy to get a sense of the modern catechism by watching free TV. Diversity is our strength, superior to anything except mass immigration of homogenous groups such as Mexicans and/or West Africans; that’s even stronger and better. Big Tech is portrayed lovingly, as is big government. There are countless shows about underdog Federal agents trying valiantly to defeat white supremacists. Everywhere you look, there are white supremacists. Thousands of them. Millions even. Even the aforementioned “Yellowstone”, normally a deliberate respite from today’s enforced Benetton-ism, took time out from the diesel Rams and Stetson 1000X hats for an episode about the dangers of white supremacy. The white supremacists are always far more powerful, better-armed, and more technologically savvy than the downtrodden Feds who have to attack their plywood-and-drywall fortress compounds using nothing but the full force and capability of the United States Government.

You can’t watch any of this stuff without either laughing or cringing, or perhaps feeling a sense of unwanted manipulation. Which makes sense. If you’re not paying for something, you are the product. That’s a concept made painfully relevant in the age of Facebook, but it’s been true in media since King Biscuit Flour was a major advertiser. So what do you get when you agree to pay for the television you watch? Is it any better or more interesting? Most of the time, the answer is “Hell no,” but your humble author happened to watch something during an elliptical-machine struggle session last week that perhaps warrants your attention, and certainly deserves your admiration.

The episode is called “Safe and Sound” and it’s part of Amazon Prime’s Philip K. Dick Electric Dreams series, which continues the long tradition of very loosely adapting Dick’s stories for modern tastes. The story takes place in a divided America in which the coasts compose one political unit and flyover country the other. It focuses on a young woman, played by the ahem-gifted Annalise Basso, visting the city with her mother, who is more or less an ambassador from the “Bubbles” of middle America.

The city is full of wonders, of course. But it’s also under constant siege from Midwestern terrorists who are always blowing things up. So the high school in which our heroine is enrolled operates as half orgy-porgy-of-beautiful-people and half Alamo, with steel blast shutters ready to drop at a moment’s notice and Starship Trooper security guards. All the kids wear a “Dex”, a pair of bracelets that operates as a holographic Fitbit/iPad/smartphone combo. It keeps them safe, of course.

Our girl wants a Dex, because the cool kids have one. The coolest kid is a young black skater type who attempts to pressure her into having sex in order to get a Dex but eventually agrees to get her one despite her refusal. Then the cool girls tell her she has to have sex with the dude anyway, and she agrees, at which point he turns her down and humiliates her. She’s sobbing in her bed at home, at her lowest point, when her Dex starts talking to her. It tells her there’s a terrorist plot underway, thanks to her mother — and that only she has the ability to stop it.

Given that the average intelligence of my readers appears to be somewhere on the level of a postgrad physics lecture, I’m not worried about “spoiling” what’s obvious from the jump: namely, that the “plot” is actually a false-flag set up by the government and the Dex company to justify the continual state of paranoia in which the city-dwellers live, and the girl is just a pawn in this game.

The review of this episode at Den Of Geek is probably one of the least self-aware things I’ve ever read, and I’ll excerpt the fun part here so you can see why “Safe and Sound” was generally rated well below other episodes in the series:

Harder still is the idea of a mass conspiracy between government and big tech cooked up to make the populace happy little consumers… If the episode’s themes—school security, people and companies who profit from demonising the other and sowing seeds of paranoia—didn’t feel so depressingly relevant to our time, perhaps the superficiality of their treatment here wouldn’t feel this potentially harmful. Healthy scepticism about what we’re shown on TV or told by companies and politicians with vested interests is exactly that – healthy. But in the last few years, cries of ‘fake news!’ and a blanket-refusal to believe any corner of the media over conspiracy theories feels as though it could be playing into some dangerous hands.

Emphasis in the above paragraph is mine. The writer is the kind of person who can easily see the horrifying nature of, say, the military partnership with Blackwater, because that’s a position supplied to him by his tribe, but can’t use the same lens on the astoundingly cozy relationship between Google et al. and our three-letter agencies, because to do so would to be question, however haltingly, the nature of the information he is fed on a daily basis.

Other reviews, at Vulture and elsewhere, harp on the TOTAL CONSPIRACY THINKING of the episode, but to a man they miss the most subversive aspect of the whole thing, namely: It ends with the mother in jail, perhaps for life, the “terrorist attack” used to justify an even more wide-ranging partnership between Big Tech and Big Government, and the girl elevated to the position of highly-desired celebrity who is approved of, and cherished by, everyone around her. This, in a nutshell, is the bargain offered by our Uniparty to every talented kid who comes to the big city (or the Ivy League, or the Big Six, or Silicon Valley): You can have a share of this power, but you must unhesitatingly subscribe to the full modern catechism in order to do so.

This requirement is so palpably obvious that even stupid people can figure it out; witness the vast armies of people on Twitter whose sole online existence consists of aggressively shouting the CNN/Google/TeenVogue party line as loud as possible, like Julia breaking out of the crowd and yelling “SWINE!” at the telescreen in 1984. They intrinsically understand that there is no room under the tent for anybody who can’t repeat the lines they’re given. There’s an autowriter out there, a fellow who enjoys the best travel and best opportunities available, who used to end all his Instagram posts about press cars with “#fucktrump”. Here’s a hint: when you are absolutely certain that the public-relations arms of Bentley, Rolls-Royce, and Ferrari will give you more access instead of less for doing so… are you really part of any “resistance” whatsover? Of course not.

One final delicate touch in this episode: it makes plain the relationship between claims of “safety” among the privileged and the application of violence by those privileged people. In the plantation days, if a white woman said she didn’t feel “safe” in a situation you could be reasonably sure that someone would use that as a pretext to take action against someone over whom they had power. Today, we often hear that someone doesn’t feel “safe” in the presence of such murderous Hitlers as Dave Chappelle or James O’Keefe; this is how you are aware that something is about to be done to those people by the Uniparty and its enforcement arms.

Great television, and I don’t say that lightly, because I’m not sure there’s been much of it in human history. There’s also a bit of irony to be had, at least in reading the reviews at Vulture and elsewhere. They are profoundly angry that the heroine is white:

But allow me to revert to all-caps to emphasize the following point: TO INSINUATE THAT’S WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE A MINORITY IS THE MOST INSULTING IDEA POSSIBLE.
.
Not just in terms of the dangerous equivalence, but because of the way it helps propagate the erasure of the minority experience. Think about the logic of choosing a white protagonist to be the victim in the first place. In these kinds of stories, the reason often sounds like this: “If we put a white face on the oppressed people, then white audiences will empathize more and see what they’re doing is racist!” Which is not only faulty logic — the white audience instead gets to feel great because it justifies their suspicion that they are the ones who are actually oppressed — but also backs up the assumption that people cannot feel that same level of empathy when they look at a brown face, which is what racism literally is. And so, a story like “Safe and Sound” is full of cultural erasure on every level: Not only do you not get to exist in this future, but also your experience is going to be supplanted for our own.

Now, if you watch the episode, you’ll see that the absolutely coolest kids, the ones who dominate the discussion in this high school of the future, are black and Asian. So Vulture’s problem with the show isn’t that it erases people of color, because it obviously does not. Rather, it’s that the PoC are no longer the victims. Just like in the ads on free TV, they’re living their best lives, enjoying everything that society has to offer, operating as first-class citizens. They have everything… but victimhood.

Is there any sane way to read this criticism other than: Victimhood is the currency of social privilege now and in the future, and to take that victimhood away is to deprive people of that essential currency? In other words, it’s a form of victimhood to no longer be permitted to claim victim status! If we unravel this thread a bit more, we can see that there are two kinds of victimhood. There is the powerful victimhood, the claiming of which is, like the aforementioned worries about “safety”, a direct prelude to an exercise of power by the “victim” or his agents on the supposed source of the victimhood. Then we have the weak victimhood, as understood by the powerless of any given era. “Safe And Sound” is literally the story of a girl who starts with the latter and achieves the former. That’s a big burden for a single episode of fictional television to handle. The dexterity with which it is done gives me hope… but certainly not for society, nor for the future.

54 Replies to “The Most Subversive Thing You’ll Ever Watch On Amazon Prime”

  1. Tom Klockau

    The primary reason I have two TVs (one in the living room, one in the den) is so I can watch my extensive DVD and VHS (yes, I still have two functional VCRs!) collection. Then you avoid all news and all commercials. Lately I’ve been watching all the Connery Bond films, and all five seasons of the Dick Van Dyke Show.

    I’ve never had cable.

    Reply
  2. j

    “Midwestern terrorists who are always blowing things up” Lot of diesel and fertilizer out there. I’m not from the midwest, but I graduated high school in 2017. 1/3 of the jobs in my county have gone away since then. 75% of my school got free lunch before those jobs left, I don’t even want to think about what the number is now. Stuff is gonna get interesting if a significant number of people think they have nothing to lose.

    Reply
  3. Shocktastic

    The sheer quantity on late night TV is amazing of law enforcement dramas and true crime re-enactment shows. I think Ice T and LL Cool J enjoyed longer active careers as TV cops than their careers as rappers. Perhaps I missed IceT’s comeback rap hit “I kill cop killas now.”

    Reply
  4. JMcG

    If television advertisements are aimed at blacks, why are the interracial pairings always black man/non-black woman? There can’t be too much that pisses black women off more than seeing their men disdain them.

    Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      I think it’s because the pure joy that “creative” types feel stunting on the normies of Middle America outweighs any business consideration.

      Reply
      • Panzer

        I always found it hilarious that such ‘creative’ types think they’re triggering white guys by depicting white women with black men as if there are no white men giving their black girlfriends/wives a pounding on the couch, much to the chagrin of their black fathers in law… 😂

        Reply
        • hank chinaski

          Couch….pounding….obligatory Zac Stacy joke.

          I cut the cord about a decade ago and have yaarrrrrrr matey-ed most of my content since. Direct to streaming since Covidianism took hold dramatically improved the turnaround and VQ. The Roku in the exercise room is still polluted by current year ads but they have old enough (in some cases, very old) selections for training purposes, and the mute button still works for ads.

          The perpetual victimhood game will become harder and harder to pull off. The dog finally caught the car but he damn well can’t drive it.

          Reply
  5. John C.

    I think in the world of Phillip K Dick it might have been more subversive, instead of some skank of high price, demanding an actual McGuffin, a regular guy cucked to the point of selling bits of Americana to his Asian and tastemaker in the high castle betters. Talk about a real scary view of the near future.

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  6. dejal

    ‘Given that the average intelligence of my readers appears to be somewhere on the level of a postgrad physics lecture, ”

    Aw, shucks, you sweet-talker you.

    Reply
  7. Eric L.

    As someone without the IQ of a physics post-doc, I don’t pretend to understand how Vulture and friends are upset by a piece of corporate propaganda for their own side. I now wonder how much of their incessant, ubiquitous “complain about everything all the time” state of being has infected my own brain. 🙁

    Reply
  8. Ryan

    I’ve been in this house for two years and it wasn’t until July that I had anything bigger than a 36″ TV. My main reason for upgrading was how comically small it looked hanging on the wall. Most days, I leave it on The Weather Channel as background noise. Unfortunately, even they have begun to inject woke nonsense into their broadcasts.

    This episode sounds like it may be worth checking out. It’s been awhile since I’ve found something new and worthwhile to stream. It’s funny how quickly streaming became as terrible as cable.

    Reply
  9. Ronnie Schreiber

    In other words, it’s a form of victimhood to no longer be permitted to claim victim status!

    Isn’t that what the intersectional left (including Jewish leftists) has done to Jews and is in the process of doing so to high IQ Asians, declare them to be part of the oppressor class having “embraced whiteness”?

    That raises the question, how much different is the idea that some minority groups embrace whiteness from the idea that some minority groups craftily assimilate into the larger culture so they can dominate it?

    Reply
    • John C.

      At least in NYC, a daddy warbucks came in to save the Asian and Jewish gifted program, doubt that would have happened for whites. It was left to Ricky Schroeder and a few doxed/fired EMTs to come for our boy Kyle when the intersectional left, including Jewish leftists, stopped him from forming a effective militia to save Kenosha. Ricky Schroeder cannot have many Silver Spoons left.

      Reply
  10. gtem

    The entirety of my television experience is watching “Great British Baking Show” with my wife where a wonderfully diverse cast of gay men and muslim women add exciting curry-infused twists on European classics (only partially exaggerating), and a bit of the latest offshoot of the Jersey Shore franchise (likewise with my wife), where the increasingly washed up former cast member is in his third season of a dating show trying to find love among a group of increasingly crazy/fat/older contestants. Season one had some dimes and it’s been downhill from there.

    The wonder of Youtube is that there’s such high quality content in niches that would never ever see the light of day on network TV. Currently nerding out over a Russian-language channel that does very deep dives on the Eastern Front of WW2 with an excellent historian who’s worked with the Soviet and German archives for decades.
    Specifics like cordite manufacturing capabilities of the two sides and how that affected the front line. However it’s increasingly unwatchable on my phone due to all the ads (I’m sure there’s a decent youtube ad blocker ad out there).

    Reply
    • Disinterested-Observer

      If you have never read it and enjoy the logistics side of combat check out “Hell in a Very Small Place.” Aside from the great writing it is filled with details that in a novel would be foreshadowing, but in non-fiction it’s more like watching cars on ice sliding into a pile up. At one point the author brings up that the Army knew the exact tonnage of material necessary to construct a bunker capable of withstanding a hit from a 105. (Spoiler alert!) The French did not have anything like the airlift capability to move that much weight. They did have enough airlift capacity to send in not one, but two bordels mobiles de campagne, which has to the most French thing since the invention of white cloth.

      Reply
      • Panzer

        Bernard Fall wrote a great chapter about the Mobile brothels, including the types of women who served in them, in his book ‘Street Without Joy’ – another must read btw.

        Reply
        • Disinterested-Observer

          “We’ve reached one of our phase lines after the firefight and it smells bad—meaning it’s a little bit suspicious… Could be an amb—”

          I love Fall. Reading Last Reflections on a War is just maddening. Every article is him explaining how everything the US is doing is incorrect and counterproductive and everything just gets worse and worse. And of course it clearly was never read or understood by political and military leaders as evidenced by the the conduct of the GWOT. It’s like the last verse of “Willie McBride.” I just wish he wrote more about his experiences in the Resistance during WWII.

          Reply
    • sgeffe

      AdBlock Plus is free and works great on YouTube.

      Was thinking just yesterday about how nice it would be if there was some sort of way for YouTube content creators to be able to mark points in their videos where an ad could go (with YouTube requiring “x”-number of breaks for every “y” minutes of run-time, so just as your brother, for instance is just about to find the solution to a problem that his customer has “parts cannoned” for the past twenty years, an ad won’t randomly appear, but he could exercise a little control over whether to break BEFORE the big reveal)! No parts required! 😁

      Does he have a Patreon channel or something where one could throw a few bucks his way every so often to make up for the revenue lost to a viewer with an ad blocker?

      Reply
    • dejal

      I had access to Netflix and GBBS was the only thing I watching. I gave up. These people this year are boring, including the bald guy. Don’t find him funny at all. I made the person who gave me access remove it. I didn’t want to screw up someone’s account by mistake. That was a couple of weeks ago.

      Yes, Youtube has some great small timers on it. I know Jack isn’t jiggy about Taiwanese, but those people are my goto. I’m to 9 or 10 of them. If the video has CC and you watch on a PC, you can auto translate into any language. Edge with a right click will let you translate the comments to English. 4 favorites are Taiwan Walker – walks the streets with a camera, , Tony Huang (there’s more than one, this guy wears a baseball cap) no idea if he speaks English but his does his own captions in English and Chinese, 烙野孩imyeahhi – a boy + girlfriend whose thing is natural hot springs and 菜苔苔與菜生生 married Christian couple with a 1 year old. Guy is smart, he’ll go on and on about botany + geology. I commented on that and she answered in Chinese “He’s a meathead”. I think the translation is correct.

      I use online translators to convert English to “Traditional” Chinese to post comments. Works pretty good. Simplified Chinese is Mainland Chinese. Mao, dumped thousands of characters and a lot of the remaining ones were re-stylized.

      For a funny guy, Sora the Troll. Small time Japanese Voice Actor. Perfect English. A lot of the videos are about Japanese who butcher English .

      “When Japanese English Teacher Pronounces “But Us” ” is hilarious.
      “When Japanese Pronounce “Have DInner At Six” ” is even better.

      Reply
    • Ice Age

      YouTube is also proof that editors are sometimes absolutely essential AS A CONCEPT.

      Like music, making videos for public consumption should be left to those with talent and at least some money.

      Reply
  11. stingray65

    Such people of color ads are also the norm on commercial TV in European countries that are still 90+% white, where the expensive VW and Mercedes electrics are almost always shown being driven by 20-35 year old black women with supermodel figures/faces. Given that most people of color in Europe are recent arrivals from Afghanistan/Pakistan/India, the Middle East, and Africa who very rarely resemble super models and live off the welfare state, it isn’t clear why VW and Mercedes think they are likely to be the target market for their $50K+ vehicles, but I’m sure their ad agencies must have convinced them it would be coolishly woke.

    Of course I guess we shouldn’t be expecting too much realism from TV ads, since I am still looking for those bars that used to be featured in beer ads where women outnumber the men, all the people are beautiful, and nobody is passed out on the vomit stained floor.

    Reply
    • John C.

      We can’t get back to idealizing in ads. The last one I remember was the Peloton ad that Jack wrote a while ago. Despite the great success of the ad remember the shit it got, including here.

      Reply
        • hank chinaski

          You’d think the fact that one of their treadmills ate and killed a child would get more press than that stupid ad, but…nope.

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        • John C.

          To that I would ask you to compare Peloton’s name recognition before the ad and after it. If Jack is trying to tell you that the ad annoyed the Wall Street powers that be, I completely agree. Speaking of TV, a lot of us watched “Mad Men” where Matthew Weiner explained what happened to the Madison Avenue industry. Think back to old ads we all remember where an ideal but realistic world was imagined where the product being sold made the difference between what was and what could be. Then over time how the politics turned to something repugnant but barely involving the product in ads. the difference between your ads being done by a real Don Draper and Ted Chaough later.

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      • Ice Age

        Those Peloton ads remind me of the old NordicTrack or BowFlex commercials where they wouldn’t tell you the price at any point in the ad.

        Reply
    • CitationMan

      Those European ads are meant to assuage the guilt of the white buyers, that’s the targeting logic.
      “I’m driving a car that’s also bought by super cool people who don’t look like me! I am righteous!”

      Reply
  12. CliffG

    I’m happy that somebody else has noticed that commercials are filled with upper middle class African Americans, a group that constitutes a solid 1% of the American population. Of course most of them (especially the women), have very white features, but if you watch any Korean/Chinese/Mexican soap operas that holds true everywhere. But it fits the National Narrative Complex, so all is good.

    Reply
  13. Rick T.

    Almost all of our TV watching is Netflix DVD’s as we’re part of the rural underserved. Never had cable even when living in Chicago. I do admit to a weakness for watching Shark Tank.

    There was an episode of Yellowstone that did give me a powerful urge to order a horse trough from Tractor Supply right afterward. Anybody who’s watched it will know the episode.

    Reply
  14. FanBoy2021

    Isn’t Jack Baruth an Android user? Curious how the disdain for “you’re the product” and Google/tech jibes with choosing Android over Apple. Not that Apple doesn’t have its issues, but they’re far less “big brother” than their alternatives.

    Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      Pure sentimentality, my good man. I’ve been a Debian user for 23 years now. And I prefer Samsung’s executives to Apple’s.

      Reply
  15. stingray65

    How come all the highest crime places in the country are heavily minority (not Asian) and have been controlled by Democrats for decades? Why are all the places with the lowest crime mostly white (including Asians) and are mostly controlled by Republicans or the occasionally sane Manchin type Democrat? Why are the most woke corporations and organizations behind BLM and CRT also mostly white (including Asians) in terms of their highest paid and most prestigious positions, and why do they label a white teenager who shot 3 other white guys in self-defense a racist white supremacist? How does any of this equate to white supremacists being the major threat to the US? This deplorable wants to know.

    Reply
  16. Ronnie Schreiber

    I won’t hold my breath waiting for Hyundai to run ads featuring interracial couples, particularly with black men and Korean women, in Korea like they do in North America.

    It’s quite possible that Asian cultures are more xenophobic than European cultures.

    Reply
  17. CJinSD

    “There’s a reason for this: Black people are the most avid consumers of free television in this country. (Asian-Americans are the least.) So while it’s tempting to view what you see on free TV as some kind of broad-ranging brainwashing conspiracy, it’s perfectly easy to explain in terms of the almighty dollar.”

    White people were ignored by your source. Blacks watch more traditional television than hispanics or asians, but do they watch more than whites? There are about five times as many whites as blacks according to the 2020 census, so whites would have to watch very little television for there to be a genuine economic argument for blacks to be featured by 100% of tv commercials. You still seem to want to assume there’s something as banal as greed behind commercial suicides like Gilette’s, but I tend to think whoever wrote the marketingcharts.com article didn’t innocently forget about the white majority.

    Reply
    • danio

      It would be interesting to see the actual stats, but it might be possible. Anecdote warning: Of my entire social circle of middle class people, whom are mostly white, I can’t think of one household that consumes “free” TV at all. Even remaining cable subcriptions are tailored to sports subcritptions where the advertising pushes almost exclusively full size trucks to rugged midwestern men.

      Reply
  18. Ice Age

    I have two flatscreen TVs, but each one has a thumbdrive full of MP3s plugged into it and I use them as music players.

    I’m not sure why, but modern TV shows don’t appeal to me. I agree that TV’s never been of better quality, but it’s as if it sacrified Watchable in the quest for Good. These shows check all the boxes for technical excellence, but they seem to lack the beauty that draws you in and makes you stare longingly.

    Maybe it’s yet another sci-fi show about plucky underdogs using ugly technology in their desperate fight against an all-powerful state in a hellish dystopia. Or another gritty cop show full of gritty, hardboiled detectives solving gritty, sadistic crimes while quipping grittily & sarcastically. Or the sitcom with the homosexual couple next door, the one that’s just two regular, normal guys WHO JUST HAPPEN to be into dudes.

    Or the Nth iteration of the zombie apocalypse. Or the “reality” show full of professional-attention-whores-playing-amateur-actors in totally-not-contrived-and-scripted situations. Or the househunters shows where 22-year-olds are preapproved for $800,000 mortgages.

    It just goes on and on.

    Strong black women. Ruthless lawyers. 1920s gangsters. Awkward teenagers coming of age. Lovable losers. Tattoed skanks named Chloe. Character assassinations of historical figures. Deconstructive parodies.

    Vast wasteland, indeed.

    Reply
  19. Newbie Jeff

    So much to unpack here, I just can’t EVEN…

    …but the traditional-TV consumption link was interesting… not so much for the demographic data, but the fact that people watch hours of TV every day. Hours! My age demographic watched “2 hours and 43 minutes of traditional TV per day”… and that was part of a declining trend.

    Who has time like that to waste? Like a lot of people, I spend a lot of time at work… but outside of work, my time is precious. I’m buried under (self-imposed) projects or spending time with friends. And I feel like I never have enough time… I get that a little time in front of the tube can be relaxing… but hours every day? And that’s an average?

    I suppose, if the data is accurate, it just shows what most people really are. While we discuss the currents of politics, ideology, and power swirling through our society, the reality is that for every one of us there’s probably 100 sitting on their couch, watching TV, and they don’t give a fuck about anything.

    Reply
    • stingray65

      You are very different than the average person. You have a full-time job, which makes you one of about 130 million in the US, which means that 200 million are working part-time, retired, unemployed, in school, housewives, etc. who typically have a lot more free-time. Throw in the number of people who have few or no hobbies/interests to fill their free-time and those whose hobby or recreational/social activities can be done while watching TV (or having it on in the background) such as playing with the phone, knitting, working on some indoor exercise machine, etc. and many people have a lot more hours of TV time.

      Reply
      • Disinterested-Observer

        73m of your 200m number are under the age of 18. Also I know plenty of people who work two, 30-35 hour “part-time” jobs a week. Those jobs are expressly limited to less than 40 hours so that the employer will not be required to provide benefits. In a bygone era a person working 60+ hours a week would get benefits and 20 hours of overtime pay, now they get neither. No matter how annoying the mouth-breather that messes up your order at the drive-thru may be, he is not your enemy unless you are in the market for vacation on the ISS.

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        • Disinterested-Observer

          Corollary! Your 130m number of people who do have full time jobs includes the explosion of do-nothing make-work government jobs, with staggering salaries and gold-plated benefits. No matter what the press and their unions may claim, working for the Man is a good gig if you are mediocre. If you were smart and unethical enough to be Bezos then you would be Bezos. The latter half of Ben Rich’s account of the creation of the F-117 touches on how the government’s zeal to stamp out corruption in the procurement of new tech drove the skyrocketing (pun intended) costs of the projects by tacking a team of contribute-nothing jobs on to every aspect of development.

          Reply
  20. goose

    Modern camerawork with all the annoying shakes & jitters, the quick edits, and lack of held shots are a turnoff for me.

    Reply
  21. rpn453

    I still frequently watch documentaries and movies (rarely anything new), but haven’t watched much fictional TV in the last few years apart from Westworld and Black Mirror. However, I did catch a possibly obscure Israeli series not too long ago that I enjoyed: Valley of Tears. I was heavily immersed in that. The battle scenes are realistic and intense.

    If you watch it, avoid the English-dubbed version. It’s much better with subtitles, yet the dubbed version was the default setup on my source (Hollywood Suite), and it wasn’t obvious that it could be changed.

    Last night I watched another Israeli production that I also enjoyed: a movie called Foxtrot.

    Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      Not the fellow whose wife supported him with sex work for years, but another fellow who always has clean-shaven young men in all his photos with him and who considers himself to be a parenting expert, to the point of writing a book about it, despite being old and childless.

      Reply
      • Panzer

        We were always told his wife was a buyer for a certain company of repute..
        She’s on his socials, I can’t imagine any straight man paying to see those goods, but I guess there’s always someone out there who’s keen 🙄

        Reply
  22. IMABlTCHIMALOVER

    Coincidence or Providence, I was hoping you’d touch on something related to my recent experience. I recently came across the This Old House Classic TV channel on my Smart TV (only purchased because was incredibly cheap). I love it—episodes from 40 years ago. BUT!!! They went to Trump Tower to tour it and interview people involved in its design. I said, “Hmm, I better keep watching to see if DJT appears, HMM….”. Ivana was interviewed, then it cut and Bob was on a rooftop and said something about DJT. So I went to YouTube and found the clip—yep, DJT was interviewed, but that was edited out of the episode for 2021 viewing audiences! Unreal. I emailed them about this and am awaiting a response 😉

    I closed 1 of my 2 Amazon accounts recently because none of their overseas reps (India?) could calculate my 40% discount that wasn’t applying to my order. I talked with 6 reps—NONE COULD CALCULATE 40% OFF—they disconnected each time and LIED about everything. I was on chat with them for 2.5 hours. I can’t begin to describe the incompetency and nasty behaviors exhibited. What a low regard for the American customer. So, I closed my 11-year old account. My 20-year old account is still active….for now. Remember when they only sold books? I do.

    Thank you for speaking. Thank you for a site where I don’t have to create an account and type in all of my personal information to comment—this is so incredibly rare. Sigh. I haven’t even begun to describe my anger. I too notice the commercials—-add the YouTube app on your TV and you’ll see it DOUBLY SO (I have no personal info added on the apps on the TV). Anyway, time to make some tea… and read the comments!

    Reply
    • IMABlTCHIMALOVER

      I forgot to include that I don’t watch any TV of today. Watch a show from the 80s or whenever and look how stupid people have become. The clothing contrasts are incredible.

      I’m watching This Old House Classic. They show and teach so much—the learning is addicting. I turned it to the modern This Old House—-they’re showing a railing being painted zoomed-in, in slow motion for an obvious “calming” effect to sooth the average idiot watching. I just can’t anymore!!!!!!!

      Reply

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