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perpnot   Last week I watched the O.J. Simpson trial come to its denouement. It has been on the television since I was born, or so it seems. The networks just plug in a couple of new faces and have skirmishes between sex, race, political affiliation or creed in hopes of keeping the general public in a state of catharsis.

   We learn a bit from this continual assault upon our senses. Those placed on a pedestal are not always good and those trampled underfoot are not always evil. The hue of one’s skin doesn’t determine superiority or ignorance. I know Einsteins and fools of many colors, regardless of what some people would have us think.

   Those who do think and become educated are less likely to be prejudicial than those who don’t, yet education doesn’t guarantee an end to prejudice. It only gives us “politically correct” ways of hiding our prejudices.

   The O.J. Simpson trial and the endless litany of talk shows, tabloids and “yellow” journalism it inspired are indicative of the world we’ve grown accustomed to. It’s a sad society in which we live that preaches rape, murder, incest, prejudice, treachery, war, adultery and thievery ALL DAY ALL NIGHT through the ministry of truth a.k.a. the television.

   Of course, we know that. It’s just that we used to learn about these vile acts through books and theater… the sort of things we could put down when we’re finished. It’s almost impossible to “put down” the television, although I know there are those who would argue that it could be turned off. I call that naivete.

   Think about it: you walk through the student union and the television’s on. You can walk past, but if you glimpse you’re hypnotized for a few seconds by the tube. It’s gotten where you don’t even realize it’s there but you know when it’s not. It was invented to give us a break from reality although I believe it is creating our realities.

   Television sets are at the hairdressers, in the bars, in the corners of the stores, at work, at your friends’ houses, at your family’s homes, at your home, etc. I know some people who keep their televisions on to entertain their animals or children (does this say something about our mentalities?)

   A barrage of trash shows all of the vile views that this life affords and it’s only a click away. The human race enjoys seeing troublesome things to delude ourselves into believing that things are worse elsewhere.

   Yet, this is why the world of arts and entertainment was created.

   Just take a look at history. When the Roman empire went down, at least it had good theater. Shakespeare graced England before it became an also-ran; for proof note that the world’s changing to the metric system and away from the English standards of pounds and ounces.

   The United States doesn’t have a world-wide recognized monetary system (indeed many scoff at our economy of credit and paper money), but it does have a lot of good theater and live entertainment. This is proof, to me anyway, that the we’re “going to hell in a handbasket” as if the daily reality set forth on television isn’t proof enough, pardon my pessimism.

   But enough of that … I think I’ll just have a drink and watch reruns of “Star Trek” or “The Andy Griffith Show.” Come to think of it, maybe we’re better off in a continual state of catharsis; at least until they start making series about news shows. Wait; we have that, right? Later daze.


This article first appeared in the UALR Forum.