- Network cable through wall to DSL modem in workshop closet.
- PPP-Over-Ethernet software
- DSL authentication information
- Extra USB hub to extend range of optical mouse
- Easy chair in front of monitor
- Latest Mozilla 0.9.8 build, custom configured
- FTP connection software
- Livejournal posting software
- Wireless keyboard transponder placed within range
- Rock polisher temporarily off
- Small portable music device playing Fixed, Severed Heads, Nine Inch Nails, and Braindead Monkeys
- Frosty Weinhard's Root Beer, uncapped
- Friends and neighbors asleep
- Warm fuzzy cat
I know a girl who watches this show in rapt attention. Whenever she can, she attends the live taping. She loves to talk about the baggedy old woman, and her latest foray into tastelessness. Last weekend, her friend went to the front of the room and licked peanut butter off the woman's chest. The episode airs next weekend.
I think these northern people are missing out on a crucial piece of wisdom that becomes very clear if you live in the Los Angeles area for a while. It concerns television especially. I can't even begin to estimate the damage that the misunderstanding has caused, not just in local culture, but all over the world.
It is this: The things that the people on TV do are not necessarily any more worthwhile than the things that you can do. The things people on TV say are not necessarily any more truthful than the things you can say.
Now, it's easy to read past that and misinterpret it. So I'd like to slow down here with an example.
If you're "lucky" enough to get the cable coverage in your area, you might have access to a television show called "Elimidate". In it, three women go out with one man, all together, and the man drops all but one of the women over the course of the evening, based on their behavior.
Inevitably, the three women are sexually aggressive, vitriolic airheads, and the single man is a smarmy misogynist dick. The man mutters lines that the producers feed him, escorts his harem from backyard jacuzzis to dank bars to paid-endorsement restaurants in a video-tapped limousine, and, inevitably, goes for the least invidious doe-eyed girlie with the biggest rack.
Now, I could pound rubber at a gym and saw out half my brain, and go do the things that Mister Smarmy does, and chase after the least invidious doe-eyed girlie with the biggest rack I can find but I can also shut off the fucking television, walk into the other room, and reorganize my bookshelf. Or I can cut up lettuce and make myself a salad. Or I can dial up android606 on the phone and ask him technical questions about PPP-Over-Ethernet. Just because a misogynist dick got on TV, doesn't mean he's doing anything more sensible than what I can do, let alone something that I should stop what I'm doing in order to watch him do it.
OH GOOD LORD BUT IT'S ON TEEE VEEEEEE!
My sister watches this show; I think because it has a kind of grim fascination for her. Yes, the world is actually populated with men and women who are that shallow. Who insult each other to their faces over their choice in shoes. Who "JUST WANNA PARTY", hell or high water.
And that's a funny bit, there, because a lot of L.A. is enourmously concerned with "PARTYING", and entirely unaware of their own self-defeating crassness. Do they ever imagine living in a community that doesn't obsess over how things appear? One that assumes a trust in your fellow citizen's ability to discern legitimate value for themselves, instead of seeing any deviation from normalcy as an opportunity to strike? I don't think they ever imagine it, because it doesn't occur to them that things could be different. The self-interested hypocrisy that Ayn Rand wrote novels about is an inseperable fact to this community. They take it with them when they travel.
Or perhaps I'm simply reading too much of an ex-girlfriend into her home town. >:)
People are people wherever you go, and some of my best friends and family members are from the L.A. area. I'm not going to declare that everyone in L.A. is one thing or the other. But the culture, it has a stink. When your home town is the largest manufacturer of shit in the universe, you pretty much have no choice but to make peace with, or even take pride in, that shit. Show me a person who lives in L.A. and doesn't own a television, and I'll show you a beleaguered heretic.
But anyway, I digress. It becomes clear. Stephen King refers to the television as the "glass tit". I spent my childhood awash in a sea of information, as any computer geek does, but somewhere in the process I learned that I needed borders. I couldn't just let any old shit flow in, or out, at any old time. So I made choices, and fitted doors. Somehow those decisions stuck.
I remember deciding one day that I would find short haired girls more attractive. A dozen years later, it's a fact. I don't know how that worked.
So this girl watches public television and croons over the baggedy old woman. She talks about her, she tapes each episode, she smokes on the front steps. She drives the industry from the bottom. I had a dream the other night that the woods behind my old house were a poisonous alien jungle, and if you walked far enough, jumped the knobby plants and the silvery creek, dodged the tentacles, the probing worms, and the monstrous black ants that could bite your hands through, you emerged in a frozen crystal landscape, all reflective panes and drifting ice, howling wind over your head, and a flowing amber predawn horizon that cut like fire through the walls. How did this get in my head? Why do I emerge from this, every goddamn morning, and find myself alive in the world of baggedy old public access shows, and dimwit culture flunkies who accidentally stopped thinking when they were seven years old, and don't remember how to start again?
Pardon my anger, but I'm at a difficult period in my existence. Various people keep telling me to find some girl, who also "doesn't have the time", and have zany sex on weekends or something, to calm my nerves.