It strikes me—and she confirms my impression by her observations—that there’s a real meanness in much of what comes on the air even in shows that should be only about which finials to choose under the eaves, and what spice goes on the roast pork. By meanness I intend what someone before our generation would understand by it: pettiness, shallowness of thought, smallness of spirit, avarice, being unwilling to praise others, a thoughtless slovenliness; all things snide, selfish, crude, currish, and coarse.
Sometimes I’m at the dentist’s and have to overhear something like The View, which, as far as I can tell, is a show in which four or five shrieking spluttering hags escaped fromMacbeth kick and scratch and pull one another’s hair while engaging in “debate” that has no more content to it than “I wanna!” and “So’s your mother!” Or I’ll see an advertisement for a crime show, featuring some craggy middle-aged man with a permanent glower, who looks for all the world as if he chews vipers in his office and spits the venom on his Turkish carpet. Or an advertisement for a medical show, featuring an anorexic female doctor with scowl-wrinkles, or a semi-shaved male doctor whose masculinity consists in never smiling or saying a single friendly word to anyone alive. Serious stuff, you know. If That’s Entertainment, give me silence. I’d much rather listen to the robins chirping in the maple trees when the sun sets. Did you know, reader, that robins are thrushes and are excellent singers?
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