Watching television has caused me to conclude that evolution is a thing of the past. In fact, certain TV shows give rise to the suspicion that the human race is actually going backwards.
Take the women's liberation movement. Personally, I was only marginally involved, mostly because I hated that song by Helen Reddy about women roaring. (I also flatly refused to burn my bra, although I did wear my hair like Gloria Steinem for most of the '70s.) Still, it was a noble cause, and now it seems to be gone without a trace.We know this from watching QVC, one of the home shopping networks, where "Breast Enhancers," formerly known as falsies, are selling like hot cakes. Oddly enough, they also look like hot cakes.
It's shocking to watch a group of severely non-liberated women give heartfelt testimonials as to how their lives have been vastly improved by these things. (I don't know how they do it, since I feel guilty just wearing shoulder pads.) Further evidence that women are de-evolving instead of evolving can be found on a late night cable TV show called "New Attitudes," hosted by two cheerleader-types who are as up-to-the-minute as Wilma Flintstone and Betty Rubble. Their usual discourse consists of chatter about how to meet guys, babble about how to accessorize your wardrobe, prattle about whether to frost or highlight your hair, drivel about what turns men on, and gibberish about how to look sexy at work without getting fired.
It's not just women - infants are also dumbing down, thanks to "Teletubbies," the first show aimed specifically at the newborn to 1-year-old set. Just to get Junior comfortable with the telly, the four chubby, pastel-colored, simulated-alien-baby stars of the show have TV screens embedded right in their tummies. The plot is the same every day: The sun, a giant baby-face in the sky, rises and gurgles, causing the Tubbies to jump up and down and make nonsense noises. They then all watch something happen on their very own tummies.
At least on Sesame Street kids learn about real life! (Okay, so my 10-year-old is still a little confused about Big Bird - but he's got counting to 100 and reciting the alphabet down cold.)
Even the news on TV is getting stupid. Years ago, the evening newscast was appropriately boring. (Certainly no self-respecting teenager would be caught dead watching it.) These days, it's not much different from a talk show, often deserving of a PG-13 rating, or possibly an X, when the talk turns to politics.
Instead of a sober-faced Walter Cronkite, there's a rotating roster of talking heads perkily reporting things we wish we hadn't heard. For example:
1. Cigars are back, only now they're trendy and cool. The "beautiful people" flock to elite cigar bars to rub elbows with starlets and puff Havanas with sports heroes.
2. Monica Lewinsky, possessing no expertise in any area that I can mention, has been offered $2 million by a reputable publishing company to write a book telling the tawdry details of her sordid story. (Or maybe it's the sordid details of her tawdry story, I'm not sure.)
3. Princess Diana's death is still under investigation, with Paris police working around the clock, finally confirming the suspicion that she died in a car crash a year ago.
4. James Brolin, a second-string actor who once starred in a TV series, I think, received his very own star on Hollywood Boulevard, shortly after (and apparently because of) marrying Barbra Streisand.
5. While nobody knows who actually killed JonBenet Ramsey, many people remain huddled under an "umbrella of suspicion" in downtown Boulder.
6. Scores of people waited for hours outside video stores across the nation to purchase their very own copy of "Titanic." Most of them admitted they had already seen the movie. What really irked me was that a reporter covered this "event" live from the local Hollywood Video store. Even worse, now I'm writing about it! Oh well, what can you expect? I'm only human.