The season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead made Schindler’s List look like Mary Poppins. Although it was fiction, it was one of the most brutal viewings I’ve ever sat through, and it forced me to ask, “Why am I subjecting myself to the sadistic whims of these screenwriters?” which begs the deeper question, “What has happened to entertainment in America?”
As an old computer guy, my first exposure to programming was coding IBM Assembler Language on punched cards. Simply put, computers read input, process it, and produce output. Back in the day, we had an acronym which I believe has withstood the test of time: GIGO, or “garbage in, garbage out”. If you give bad data to a computer, it’s going to produce bad results.
Our brains are computers, and just what data are we feeding them these days? Sticking to the subject of entertainment, I seem to remember, perhaps selectively, that much of the television and movies we once watched were of a more “feel good” and inspiring nature. Leave It To Beaver and the Andy Griffith Show, among MANY others, entertained while reinforcing positive moral messages, like play fair, be honest, and don’t hurt others.
I was addicted to science fiction and monster movies, where the killing was usually theatrically transparent, the monsters died at the end, and the human race prevailed. Today, movies like Hostel are brutal and unredeeming. TV shows like Scandal reflect the government corruption that, via WikiLeaks in this current presidential campaign, we see is TRUE, as we always suspected it was. Flip through your 200 cable TV channels late at night. At least 50% will be reality or fictional shows about killing, and the other 50% will be infomercials trying to get your money.
How did we get here? Is this just an extension of our culture at large, or is this an extension of a more deliberate agenda attempting to shape our culture at large? With age comes the accumulation of experience and, in some cases, the wisdom to learn from it. Our minds are computers, and I have helplessly observed how vulnerable they are to GIGO. With enough conditioning and unrelenting messaging, millions of people can be made to “look the other way” as abuse is institutionalized on so many levels. We acquiesce and accept it. We look down and shake our heads and say “Well, that’s just the way things are.”
Homies, the way things are, CAN be the way you want them to be. We CAN say no to the corruption. We CAN have an honest man or woman with enough courage to do the right thing and tell the truth. We CAN stand up and say “ENOUGH!” Perhaps, it starts with GIGO.
As for me, after six seasons of watching The Walking Dead, I’m gonna take a break and watch a few Leave It To Beaver reruns. Peace, love, dove my friends.