The Equivalent Of Junk Food

Makiko: “suddenly, I've realized that I was feeding my mind the equivalent of junk food, and my mind wasn't appreciating it. And it really did hit me during the Oscars, of all things, during the brief retrospective of the movie people who had passed away during the last year, starting with Gregory Peck. Gregory Peck is one of my favorite old-time actors. Yet, I realized with horror that I have never actually seen his two most famous movies, To Kill A Mockingbird and Gentleman's Agreement.”

While millions of people were watching the Oscars, I was watching shows that had some comedic value (two episodes of King of the Hill, a really funny show that is hitting its prime, and The Simpsons) and Solstrom. After watching a documentary series on Cirque, I've been wowed by the majesty of the performers, who effortlessly—with mistakes in the live shows, but "flawlessly" due to the advantage of takes on the TV series—and fluidly do things that I don't even have the ability to dream about, much less imagine in my waking hours. The TV series shows a world that is very sensual, in that human touching, between men and women, children and adults is a prerequisite not only essential for the stunts they pull off but, it seems, to the world's inhabitents' peace of mine. Since reading it, I've been thinking a lot about James W. Prescot's article on the inverse relationship between pleasure and violence [commentary/summary], and the key argument of the article is that human touching is absolutely necessary, and the people of Solstrom understand this perfectly. While many millions of people were watching millionaire overactors competing for award statuettes but $32,000 gift bags just for being nominated (!) I was watching something that made me laugh and then something that amazed and continues to amaze me.

Makiko says that reality TV is the junk food of the medium, and she's right. It's the one genre of TV I never cared for. I still think that TV is drugs and that less is better. Because TV is drugs though, I haven't fully kicked the habit (not having cable has helped tremendously), and sometimes—rarely, but sometimes—the drugs work.