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The power of television in Asphaltistan

I'm just back from a quick vacation in the vicinity of Morro Bay, California. Most importantly and enjoyably, I communed with sea otters, pelicans, herons, and egrets while kayaking on the calm waters of the bay. But I also spent a little time reading and writing, and I watched more television than I've seen in years.

The tube was plucking my heart strings like a cheap banjo, making me care about people I've never met as they played roles they couldn't care less about. Between heroically manipulative drama and humor, the "news" convinced me that the media, politicians, and a vast majority of industrial humans actually care about the living planet. Television feeds our massive case of collective desire, one bullshit sandwich at a time.

Of course, there was nary a mention of global climate change or peak oil, much less the thousands of daily insults we visit on the non-industrial cultures and non-human species. The hologram works brilliantly through its ignorance of issues that actually matter and in-the-face irrelevant distractions.

As a consequence of television's power, I'm firmly convinced the ongoing economic collapse will not reach completion while the television remains on. Viewers are simply too easily and chronically manipulated by the irresistible medium. Resistance is futile.

Along the way to Morro Bay from Tucson, I had the distinct displeasure of driving through Lower Asphaltistan. And not once, but once each direction. Driving through L.A. is only slightly less amusing than swimming through hot asphalt, naked. After suffering for hours at a stretch through the experience of speeding, stopping, swearing, and swerving through the world's premier example of car culture, there's the additional problem of getting the deeply embedded asphalt, reeking from every pore, off the body at the end of the day. No amount of scrubbing in the shower expunges the feel and odor of L.A.

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