Monday, July 17

What are you going to watch today?


If we listened only to the information being broadcast by most media outlets, we would develop a very one-sided--and very bleak--view of our world. The never-ending barrage of disturbing, horrific images might lead us to believe that the world is made up only of destruction, suffering, and greed. What does being subjected to all this negative energy do to us?

There's a trend in knitting books to look at the "spiritual, meditative" side of the craft. The quote above is from Inspired Cable Knits by Fiona Ellis. (Thanks for the book, Mr. BG.) Ellis's recommendation is to spend time knitting in a park or near a playground where children are playing, to refuel ones batteries away from the din of cable news programming.

Knitters in Lebanon and Israel have no such luxury.

Think about all the "negative energy" they and their children are living through right now. It's heartbreaking.

That said, I am so, so grateful at this time that I do not have a television. Please, if you do, take a break from it, especially this week. It's a radical concept, but it is oh so true:

Cable news does not exist to keep you informed. Cable news exists to keep you watching. Cultivating a mental state of fear and anxiety does not help anyone except the advertisers.

If you must watch cable news, I suggest you keep a notepad next to you and write down the names of all the advertisers you see. Ask yourself, do you need another pharma product? Do you need a new car? Do you need an investment advisor? Because that is why you are sitting there. You are being sold to, and in between the ads, your emotions are being sold out.

There are a great many other sources, better sources of information. You can keep informed at a lower threshold of emotional bombardment. We are living through yet another age of yellow journalism. It is time to turn it off. Stay out of the Situation Room. Stay away from the Crossfire. Be still, and avoid promises of 360 Degrees. Read the paper, or check the news online, say a prayer if that is your proclivity, and then do something positive today. Clean your kitchen, knit a little, or sure, take a walk in a park. Write a check to a children's charity. You will not forget the children of the Middle East. Are you thinking of them during the Lipitor ad? Really.

All of that spiritual knit talk aside, remember: just because you can knit a bag for your yoga mat, does not mean you should. Update: The yoga mat tote bag is knit with goddamn hemp. Enough.


  1. Go Blue Gal go!
    I'm sick and tired of wars for television. It was bad enough having to watch the megabudget serialised tv flop alled Gulf War II - destroy another country
    Simply because we have tonnes of old stock of ordinance we need to clear from our military store rooms, and dump somewhere. We cannot get Congress to approve more military spending
    And the more pathetic cheap budget Middle East version - Lebanon II

    Anyone would think they were advertising a video game, and not destroying real lives and a whole economy. With what pretext? do they need one?

    What was the pretext for the Nazi's invasion of checoslovaquia?
    What was the pretext for Nazis to set up ghettos - ghettos? you mean like Gaza?

  2. "Have you ever watched CNN for more than say, 48 hours straight?

    I've gotta cut that out.

    It's one of the most depressing fucking things you will ever do.



    So you look outside and all you can hear is *sounds of crickets chirping*

    Where is all this shit happening?"-

    Bill Hicks.

  3. Good stuff, BG. When I teach Comp. I have my students study ads, particularly the ads in the stuff they already watch. Fun to watch the lightbulb turn on.

    Also, have you seen The Corporation? It breaks down the advertising industry brilliantly, but it's still depressing.

    Me? I'm gonna work a little longer on my chapter, go for a swim, come back and make pesto with the basil I'm growing and banana nut bread (just 'cause my bananas are turning brown). Then tonight we're sitting around a firepit with old friends who are visiting.

  4. Go Blue Gal - I don't have a TV so I can't get cable - but I do have a DVD and monitor and spent this week watching documentaries. I recommend "The Wall", the award winning documentary meditation about the wall being build it Isreal which really does bring home in a personal way the frustration and despair, as one Jewish man said, "We love the land with such possive madness that we will seal it up."

    Also recommend "I am a promise", "Thunder in the Mountain" or any of the docurama line of documentaries. It's not a 30 second sound bite - but it got me emotionally involved - within 15 minutes of watching "I am a promise" about inner city youths and education my parter and I signed up for big sisters. We may not be able to solve the world's problems, but darn if we are going to sit by apathetically and watch them as entertainment

  5. thank you for a dose of reality. believe it or not- i don't watch tv- unless it's forensic files or national geographic. i read the daily newspaper(mighty thin these days) or go online and scan. that way i get enough info to think my own big thoughts and process the info in order to put the pieces of the puzzle together. i also play video games :)

  6. My wife's a big time knitter. I think this would resonate with her.

  7. Blue Gal,

    I just love it when your posts, or anyone's post for that matter, is based on a subject that I wrote a poem about. It is easier on me with limited time and its befitting of my screen name to reply poetically! :>)


    Pay attention if you can…
    They bring the wits `round to craving futile noise;
    Clutter and drivel and trivia and claptrap!
    A tube-fed nation, inhaling the steady numbness of the cut and flash;
    The bombardment of a saber-toothed reflection; Barbie doll drivel and spit!
    The world’s come a calling and you’ve not noticed it!
    Pay attention if you can…
    The burning world’s come to stay
    and you’ve not a clean thing to wear
    And the house is in disarray!
    A tyrant’s knocking on your pipes listening to your incessant tirade
    About American Idol and Brittany Spears!
    Your personal data’s being scanned, copied, and put up for trade
    While you lounge `round in your God awful tube-fed coma!
    Pay attention if you can…
    Electro-gadgetry’s stolen your memory,
    While the blazing world’s been tapping at your door,
    and a tyrant’s been rummaging `round your bedroom!
    There are men at work in your yard digging a memory hole
    And they’ll lower you down; bury you `neath the solemn ground,
    But you won’t notice...

  8. Yeah if I actually listened to what they say on fox I would probably be out there ordering my bomb shelter right now....


  9. I am swearing off cable news for a while. If I want updates on the war, I'll use the radio, or the 'net. I am sick and tired of the use of war as a marketing tool for BMWs and Newt "Sign here, honey - oh, watch your drip!" Gingrinch's next campaign.

    Last night, we watched "Tristram Shandy," which wa weird but made me laugh, and we just now finished "Protocals of Zion," which is very timely and made me think. Now I'm going off to read some Garcia-Marquez. My brain needs a rinse.

  10. On second thought, maybe I'll swear off the 'net, too.

    I'm getting tired of seeing the Jews compared to Nazis all the time.

  11. Once again, ye be 'spot on', BG.

    QuakerDave, WTF?! Jews compared t'Nazis?! Luckily, me ship keeps me off th'TV, even if A.J. has t'watch it once in a while...

  12. Yes, knitting is a sanity-saver in times like these. All those innocent civilians and unsuspecting bystanders paying the price of a system where the pawns live and breathe.

    When I even think of it, I get mad enough to spit.

    My particular news addiction is fed via a really good newsfeed that picks up headlines from all pertinent news sites... Hebrew. Israelis take their news very seriously, and I am the beneficiary of that attitude. Symptoms of overdoes are very similar to a coffee overdoes... ...I get all jittery and paranoid...

    As to people calling Jews Nazis - QuakerDave, you should read the Israeli press. That is the single most common insult among Israeli Jews. And it's quite appropriate, in many cases - and I say this as a lay student of history, focusing on the two nationalist movements born in Austria, about a generation or two apart - Nazism and Zionism, dedicated to Lebensraum for the Chosen People, and cultivating terrifying armies and a sense of "loving the land by walking over every inch". The similarities would make you laugh - if you weren't crying.

  13. Why don't we ban all advertising during news broadcasts? Makes too much sense.

  14. Cap'n: Scroll back to the first comment on this post. Then go to the responses to my flummuxed, exasperated comment. Now you know.

  15. You wrote: "Ask yourself, do you need another pharma product? Do you need a new car? Do you need an investment advisor?"

    I wish I had healthcare, let alone the ability to buy a pharma product.

    Sigh. We lived in such a cruel country.

  16. You forgot. Watching Countdown is fine. The world would be better if more people watched Keith.

    Besides, half of my knitting time these days is spent watching Keith. The other shows leave me too tense to stay on gauge.


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