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exposing the ugliness of
I was watching ER Thursday night, answering emails and flipping through my regular run of web sites (it's a short list) when I stumbled upon an article in Salon calling for a boycott of the third annual National TV-Turnoff Week . Although I do not always like what I read in Salon, which I tend to think values slickness over substance and good names over good writing (not to mention their spineless celebration of militant cen trism, e.g. with sex-writings who actually make sex sound -boring-), I liked this article a lot.
Turning off the TV for a week -- or even a year -- won't insure that every kid in America can go outside to play in a safe, unpolluted neighborhood with wise, loving adults providing guidance at every turn.Turning off the TV will do nothing to remedy the country's chronic and shameful shortage of affordable child care, which too often results in overwhelmed parents using the TV as a baby-sitter. It won't shorten workdays or increase wages ...
After ER was over, I left the tv on for some reason, but muted, while I turned on the stereo and did some work and answered emails. When I glanced up, I saw "viewers who want to confront former guests on their racism" in a block title on the screen. Jenny Jones -- a show that even I will admit can be pretty god-awful.
I turned on the volume. On the left -- two Black men, one in a suit, wearing glasses, one in jeans. On the right -- a pasty white woman, no older than 16, wearing baggy jeans and a dirty tank, with her blond stringy long hair falling beneath her knit cap that read "San Diego," and a man, her father, pale, balding, overweight and god-awful ugly. They were grimacing and shouting things, those right-people. "But I know I am superior! It is the color of my skin! That is all it takes! Those n(beep)s are stupid monkeys!"
Guy in glasses on the left: "I suspect, perhaps, that some of your antagonism stems from your need to put us down in order to make you feel better about yourself."
Interruption: "I don't need to put you down to make me feel better, n(beep). I am better. You are just a f(beep) n(beep)."
Enter more guests: a Black man who has tortured and killed the cats of 300 white people who did him wrong, and his white girlfriend ("in order to make more Black babies," he says). A white 15-year-old member of the KKK, who states that she would rather die than be treated by a Black doctor. Two teenage women, about the nazi-girl's age (she makes a hand gesture, "heil hitler!"), who tell her that color is only skin deep. Another mixed couple, white woman Black man. Man testifies, "this white person has done much for me; loves me from the inside; why do you burn cats?"
Comments from the audience: "Why do you say you hate African Americans but dress in hip hop style?" "You are embarrassing the white people in this audience." "Hippies!"
16-year-old white flygirl: "I was kicked out of school for practicing my freedom of expression."
Jenny Jones: "You were kicked out of school for the racist remarks you made, which the administration found not just offensive, but also frightening."
Comment from the glasses-and-suit-wearer on the left: "You are not ignorant; you are stupid. Ignorant people are those who do not know things. Stupid people are those who refuse to learn."
On the internet, race is said by many to be irrelevant -- but they leave out the qualification: as long as you play by White Man's rules. Embrace the selfish (inconsistent) libertarianism! Fuck social welfare programs! Fuck affirmative action! Long live corporations! We are all Equal! And for people who spend most of their time on the P200 PC's with MMX technology and USR 56K modems, dialing into netcom or msn.com or mci.net, there is no reason to believe otherwise. It's not like they see racism on the way from their white homes to their white workplaces. It's not like they interact with people outside of their world (but they did go to that Internet Freedom Rally in South Park!). It's not like they are stupid enough to turn on the fucking idiot box.
Hence, my temporary theory of one difference between the Internet and TV: on the internet (in particular web), stupid people are often given undeserved credibility and taken very seriously, while on TV, stupid people are sometimes exposed in their ugly, idiotic reality. Show me the ugliness in RL of the people who push their insipid racism into my email inbox day after day. I want to see their frightened eyes, their defensive interruptions, and their morbid pale homeliness in Full Motion Video, in front of an audience that is not All Like Them.
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Copyright 1996, 1997 Rebecca L. Eisenberg firstname.lastname@example.org. All rights
THE README INDEX
or, if you must, back to Rebecca's Revenge
Copyright 1996, 1997 Rebecca L. Eisenberg email@example.com. All rights Reserved.