The Feelies

What do you do before bedtime, do you have a ritual? Do you have a morning ritual? Save the morning ritual, its still too early to stomach the implications of how well or poorly you start your day.

At night I watch TV, netflix, shows, “the shows.” Ah, the sweet “shows.”  Switching between a sitcom I’ve grown obsessed with, new cartoon network programming, I just noticed they added Fringe, I just finished watching Sons of Anarchy.  Whatever it is that we watch, its been sort of haunting me ever since I had a conversation with a friend last week.  He claimed that television is an artificial way to “feel things.”  Its a series of programming designed to make you feel the range of human emotions while your real life lays in a pile of emotionless inactivity.  The fucker has a successful life, he lives in California with his wife, he has his own internets company.  Yes I said internets.  I love this guy, always have, especially when he used to roll blunts to get through the day in college, especially when he was a social newborn just like me.  I don’t think we ever grew out of that.  But when he says these altruistic statements about what not to do, what to run from and what not to run from…I get slightly unhinged.

I have no idea what unhinged means.  Television “the ultimate feelies,” I read Brave New World recently.  Not sure why, I guess I always wanted to.  In the book their most popular entertainment is a mix between theater and 3D movies, a mix between actions and brazen nonsense so uplifting, so sensational it lifts you off your seat.  You can feel like you’re there.  Which is what we all want anyway.  Who the fuck would show up to work if they could not only watch the hot blond in fringe solve ridiculously absurd cases but feel the cold wind, drink the hot coffee in her hand, feel the flirtatious nature of that actor from Dawson’s creek slip through his undeniably thin acting skills. Oh, give me the motherfucking “feelies” every lonely night.

It recently occurred to me that everyone I love, except for my best friend, is alone.  My mother, my brother, my girlfriend, myself.  Sure we all have friends, some of them have pets but they all live alone.

When I was a kid I dreamed of this “father” figure in the world of virtual reality.  Funny how “virtual reality” is an outdated term.  But my idea was that there was an evil genius who simply gave the world what I as a kid wanted, complete immersion, complete immersion is where we are headed.  Unless god sends an asteroid the size of a titanic slingshot towards Earth, eventually Thursday night television is going to turn into “the feelies.”

Enter Fahrenheit 451.  A book about the burning of books.  Every time I tell people books are dead they refer to the “kindle.” Well the kindle is a lovely thing.  I hope it sticks.  What is scary is that violence and over population is a major part of the novel, check check.  The catalyst for Montag’s going off the rails in the book is finding out this beautiful innocent girl, a little Walt Whitman in her own right, gets run over by a car.  The main thing though, is that in Bradbury’s book you work to finance “walls” of television.  The TV makes no sense, its words, its interactive, you’re a part of the action but it makes less and less sense.

I’ve recently caught myself going to the movies, by recently I mean, the last few years, with a small bottle of liquor.  I even said to my girlfriend the last time, “it makes mediocre movies waaaay better, like you get your money’s worth.”  That’s absurd, I am actually doing what movie theaters have yet to dream of.  What if you could drug people slightly, and in different ways and different doses to make each movie better.  What if the perfect cocktail of gin, cocaine and hallucinogens made GI Joe the fucking greatest thing you’ve ever experienced. Just a thought.

Already, most actions movies, we go to, we experience and we are none the wiser.  We come back from them, without a desire to say anything other than, “that was great.”

Enter, THE FEELIES.

My point is my nighttime ritual is Television.  Between How I met Your Mother and the new season of Justified, I avoid reading.  In fact, as in F451, if I had to burn a book everytime I wanted to watch an episode of my favorite show…my books would be gone, I’d have new books delivered everyday.  Why is that scary.  What scares me about the fact that TV is my bedtime bottle, my numbing babe?  Sure people have loved story telling since the beginning of time, theater, greek theater, vaudeville, radio, tv shows once a week, multiple tv shows once a week, enough shows to watch multiple tv shows every night of the week.  At what point does storytelling replace our own stories.

And why is my point such a “goes without saying.” And that’s exactly it, I’ve felt this and carried this thought ever since my friend made such a bold and annoying statement.  He isn’t right, TV isn’t evil.  But that’s not what the bastard was saying.  If it “goes without saying” why does saying it make it more troubling.

Like the seed of doubt that makes Montag start hiding books.  Maybe we all have a treasure trove (Montag has many books stashed away) of things we’d rather be doing with our time.

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2 thoughts on “The Feelies

  1. Delivering this comment straight to your virtual door! I think I spend the same amount of time in my head “lawn mower man” style. Not the best idea. Why are books elevated above tv shows? Maybe tv is too young a medium or tries to reach too large of an audience….. for profit. A good story makes a strong memory that can be returned too over and over. Thanks for triggering my brain, and making me think!

  2. Delivering this comment straight to your virtual door! I think I spend the same amount of time in my head “lawn mower man” style. Not the best idea. Why are books elevated above tv shows? Maybe tv is too young a medium or tries to reach too large of an audience….. for profit. A good story makes a strong memory that can be returned too over and over. Thanks for triggering my brain, and making me think!

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