Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Don't shove Fox in my face

Another merchant has lost my business, this time a barber. And it’s unfortunate, because my hair and I are in the market.

I’d love to hand someone money to manage what fiber remains on my head, but I won’t sit there and endure a forced march through the brain of Glenn Beck in the process.

That was the case the other day when my locks were placed in the care of a generally competent cutter, and the rest of me had to join a studio audience bathing Beck in starry gazes.

Since the barber has no notion that such an imposition would be excruciating to many, I won’t be back.

In how many places have you, a captive audience, been so exploited? To whose twitchy-eyed, market-driven indoctrination where you exposed: Bully Bill O’Reilly? Pretty boy Sean Hannity?

Having Fox News crowbarred past my eyelids has happened while giving blood, while downing a burger, while waiting for a physician.

You may love said exposure, and good luck with that.

You may be saying that when I get my hair cut I want TV news that fits my liberal slant, like CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, PBS, BBC, all of those.

Actually, no. When I get my hair cut, I don’t want to watch oil being belched from the brine, or soccer fans losing their minds, or even the face of LeBron James scratching his beard about all the hubbub.

The fact is, I just want my hair cut. I don’t want the TV on at all.

The imposition of television has become one of the information age’s most annoying and counterproductive conditions. For one thing, in most cases the television peeking in over your lunch partner’s shoulder can’t be heard. And if it’s loud enough to be heard, it’s intruding into every conversation.

Airports are the worst abettors, and the most problematic since airports are generally more serene than the average restaurant. Also, people have a longer wait time to be cordoned off in an information tunnel supplied by a cable network.

Yes, generally it’s CNN, not Fox. But as clear-headed and agenda-lacking as CNN may be, it’s still offensive.

I want silence. I want to read. I want to think.

How many of you out there have sought refuge from TV’s incessancy in an airport or hospital waiting room? I know I have (sometimes having to move again because someone three seats away wanted to share business or intimate life details with the person in his cell phone earpiece.)

Having a music video instead of news does not make unrequested TV less intrusive. I’m no fan of Brooks and Dunn, sorry. You wouldn’t want me making your musical selections, either. Talking Heads, anyone?

Sports is probably the least objectionable thing to have on the screen, and is something that people can tune out more easily if they desire, say in a restaurant. Still, whatever happened to silence and eye contact?

My point: Be you a merchant, airport manager, doctor, mechanic, whatever public/private space you command, let me choose what channel my brain is on. You have no right to be fingering my remote.

More people need to start complaining about this. In a place where I’ve donated liberal amounts of blood, I informed the staff that if I was going to bleed for the greater good, I would not do so listening to a Fox News right-wing foot soldier

And if no one listens to you, or can’t hear you over the TV, walk out.

Former Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. E-mail: jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now maybe you can understand why we cacelled our subscrition to the old trib before you got the boot. Ha!!