I’ve never fit in comfortably with my own kind. I like to wear jeans and fishing shirts; I feel ridiculous in a suit.
I live my life on the run, or, to be more exact, on the runs– the streams and rivers fed by wildness.
I like the fly-fishing life, the stream walker’s hike, the life of close contact with the elements of nature. I enjoy the sharing of experience, the music of this world, with any one who listens.
You could say that I’m a misfit. I’m not one to argue.
Back in the late ’70s I read Jerry Mander’s Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television and I haven’t softened my position on the subject yet. The problem is inherent in the medium, non-reformable.
Oh sure, the content could be better– less gratuitous violence, stupidity, and sexism, more variety in entertainment and education, but the muck involved is more insidious.
Other technologies, such as the printed word or the PC or the copy-machine, are not controlled by the rich, the powerful, the few. They don’t have that widespread, instantaneous entry to our heads. They allow some interaction with the source and let our voice be heard.
The TV addict, on the other hand, passively observes. The addict is diminished and conforming, a dependent thinker when he thinks at all.
Democracy is a small thing in the land of big screen television. Personal relationships can mutate there. Our understanding of nature is reduced and flattened. There’s a disconnect with sensory experience.
TV has its place, however. It’s an excellent tool for advertising. It creates big industries around some lousy and unnecessary products. It allows us to become addicted to its message: we’re inadequate, unhealthy, and probably a little insane.
We’ll buy our way to freedom, thanks to all the ads…
We could buy our way– if watching this new “opiate of the masses” wasn’t so… exhausting. There’s a drug problem here on Earth.
TV has another place in life. Although my father at age 87 could still quote Shakespeare and maneuver adroitly through a crossword puzzle in The New York Times, my mother, at the same age, has reduced mobility and no longer has the will to read. The television is a friend.
She can sit and chuckle at life’s absurdities and get pissed off at the news on CNN, but at least she’s responding to something in the world when she’s alone.
Only a misfit would talk like this, instead of kneeling at the great, oracular shrine.
3. A misfit might prefer to ramble on the slow change of autumn leaves. He might imagine the solitary pursuit of wild trout as a sports event, fer chris’ sake. In the time of baseball play-offs and the rising tide of football coverage, he might pit himself against… (no gladiator images, please)… the Trout.
On a “par 12” stream, for example, he might give himself three hours in which to score 12 points– one for each trout at 8 inches or more, one for every three trout less than 8-inches long. All trout have to be taken on a barbless hook and then released unharmed. Scoring 12 points in three hours is a draw. Over 12, he wins. Under 12, he loses.
No… it was just a thought. I’ve got no time for trifles–a game less barbaric than the sport of “salmon baseball” that I once observed being played by idiots at the dam on Oak Orchard Creek. I remember walking by those guys, disgusted with the scene.