Sunday, November 18, 2007

Post #493 -OR- "One Company to Rule Them All"

KHWL is proud to present: Kanrei's Rant. A weekly feature where our very own lemming extraordinaire, Kanrei, will take requests throughout the week for subjects that bother you beyond words, and, on Sunday night, will create a complaining, bitching, ranting, raving, hollering, foaming work of art for your enjoyment. Hey, if a piece of tin welded to an umbrella next to a bucket of piss can be art, then so can these rants, regardless of their quality.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, it's time for Kanrei's Rant.

(insert theme music here -Grateful Dead's Brown-Eyed Women)
Gone are the days when the ox fall down
he'd take up the yoke and plow the fields around
Gone are the days when the ladies said "please,
gently Jack Jones won't you come to me?"

Brown eyed women and red grenadine
the bottle was dusty but the liquor was clean
Sound of the thunder with the rain pouring down
and it looks like the old man's getting on

When I was younger...stupid way to start actually. The fact that I am starting this in the past tense implies I was younger than I am today when the events I am about to discuss took place. That is, unless I am from Ork like Mork was. Remember when Johnathan Winters came on the show as Mork and Mindy's son? He was an old man because people from Ork were born as old people and grow younger as they mature. The concept of a reverse planet also was a major factor in Red Dwarf's overall plot as well, but I don't want to ruin that story for any of you. I will now officially start over.

Kanrei's Warm-Up Rant, take two. And.....action!

Growing up as a youth....can I start again? This is as bad a beginning as the first one for the exact same reasons.

Kanrei's Warm-Up Rant, take (sigh) three. And...action!

There are so many reasons I feel badly for the youth of today. I realize this statement alone officially makes me an “old person” (please sign me up for AARP as quickly as possible), but it is true. And this is not because they can't play with toy guns any longer thanks to Columbine; or make crank calls thanks to caller id; or even ride their bike miles from home just to explore without fear of the dirty old man in the windowless white van. While all good reasons, none of them fully captures the reason why I feel so badly for the youth of today.

When I was growing up, I watched the “Skipper Chuck” show religiously. He was quite possibly my first real non-family role model.

Who is Skipper Chuck?

To this day I can't look at three fingers without thinking and sometimes singing “peace, love and happiness/ peace love and happiness.”

Great, but who is “Skipper Chuck?”

Everything my parents taught me was reinforced in the lessons Skipper Chuck taught us each day.

I am honestly and deeply so very happy for this deeply felt and obviously very important to you childhood memory, but who exactly is “Skipper Chuck” already, please?

My mother watched Skipper Chuck when she was a child as well.

Oh for Christ's sake already, who the f*&k is “Skipper Chuck”or I am going to stop reading right here and now?!

The “Skipper Chuck Show” was a south Florida institution for generations. Chuck Zink, AKA the "Skipper", was a third parent for every child raised down here between 1957-79. I am positive there was a local children's show where you were once upon a time. Think of him as our very own Bozo the Clown (without the creepy clown stuff). Wikipedia actually does a good job with describing the show, better than I can, so click here for more information.

This rant is not a tribute to Skipper Chuck. I was using my memories of him to illustrate a point- local programing is dead and buried. It is an extinct animal; an antiquated memory; a relic. The life blood of a community is slow fading away before our very eyes and somehow we are cheering it on. Clear Channel, Comcast, AT&T- forget politicians because these are the people who make or break policy. Every bill has pork attached to it, but we only become outraged over the pork “they” tell us about.

Think about it; it is almost as if the news “punishes” the politicians when they don't get their way by informing us of what is really going on. As a reward for keeping the dirty secrets, they are receive such gifts as the end of media ownership laws allowing even greater control by the few over the many and a relaxing if not outright killing of the Fairness Doctrine.

Oh, sure, the politicians do strike back from time to time. Remember Janet Jackson's “wardrobe malfunction” as a example of that, but these example are not only few and far between, but also almost exclusively aimed at those on the left. CBS had Dan Rather and was owned by Viacom, the company that also owned Simon and Schuster who were publishing a string of anti-Bush books around the exact same time!

Sorry about that brief political rant. Old habits die hard, but I am not going at the corporate takeover of America from a political perspective. I am more concerned with the end of a local community and the growth “acceptable” entertainment and news. The more control one company has over everything, the more we lose out on. We lose voices and beliefs not deemed acceptable by the major corporation. We lose the freedom to be who we are and, instead, find that success only finds those who conform to the corporation's views of what is right.

Today's children are, for example, spoon, force fed a steady diet of Barney and other corporate sponsored toy tie-in, easy product placement shows. There is no sign of finding who YOU are in these shows, but rather displaying how a “typical American” child should look like, sound like, and be like. Southern accents are now synonymous with being stupid; a New York accent means lower class or future criminal. Children who do not see people like themselves on television could and possibly will begin to think they are freaks and will try anything to conform to what they think is “normal.” They will also begin to divide themselves into groups that share this belief and those that don't.

Corporations are out to make money first and foremost. They will program based on national studies and cost analysis studies and not based on the local community and what is normal for there. A focus on what the nation need, I feel, makes it harder if not impossible to see what a community needs. There must always be a place for the local voice in the media and that voice is slowly catching laryngitis as the Clear Channels and the Comcasts continue their cost effective transformation of the broadcasting horizon.

Right now, the FCC is looking into relaxing the “one company to rule them all” laws and allow Clear Channel to take even more control of what you see and hear. There is something you can do about it if you feel the need. Contact your Congress people (both houses) and tell them to support the “Media Ownership Act of 2007.” Click HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS BILL.

The views expressed here are those of Kanrei and do not necessarily reflect those of the owners, staff, or advertisers of KHWL.

KHWL newstime- 2 minutes after the hour. Now, time for news and weather.


Scary Monster said...

Here in lilliput all of the TV stations are run by giants. They have local affiliates with some local programming, but most everything is controlled by the mother company. This doesn't really bother me. When me wants to cast me vote me does it with me finger. Me just turns off the tube.


Maddy said...

I'd forgotten all about Mork and Mindy - thanks for the reminder.

Can't say I'm a great fan of any of the current children's fodder on the telly, but mine enjoy Tom and Jerry just as much as I did.

Serena Joy said...

We had local programming and personalities when I was a kid. I remember "Cactus Joe," and I think there was an "Uncle Loony," though I'm not sure he was on the same show. The kids of today, as sophisticated at 8 as I was at 16, would consider that type of programming "moronic" and demand their demographically-appropriate cable programming -- while more laws are enacted daily to make sure they're treated like babies until they're 18. I guess only old fogies who aren't lawmakers can see the dichotomy.