Sunday, March 13, 2005

Good Bye United States Of Unconsciousness.

Every once in a while a band comes along with lyrics that scupper cynicism with all the force of a paving stone smashed against your head. With recent musical adventures tossing and turning through various shades of electronica, along came The Disposable Heroes Of Hypocrisy to shake me out of atmospheric beats and bleeps and back to 1992 era hip- hop. Their most famous song ‘television’ lampooned the sedative effects of couch potato addiction. On ‘Stay Human’ by Spearhead, Franti takes up a more reggae tinged, guitar strumming laced chill and subjects us to an ode to Ganja. Having come through college, where a good two years were spent in a wafting cloud of smoke, where every essay was done with ashtrays ever flowing with roaches and pint glasses of coffee I’ve come to see a strange but obvious correlation between cannabis and television. Both are as demobilising as hell, picking up a remote on an evening is as obvious a mistake as skinning up.

Somewhere between the desire and the indulgence the hands of a clock speed up immeasurably. But there’s an even more obvious difference: with Television, this means you just fall asleep and postpone activity. With smoke, it means paranoia engulfs your brain, like a donkey’s blinker and an amazing focus is developed. With hash you have some since of individual selectivity, where you provide your own blinker on activity. TV is simply the ‘united states of unconsciousness’ provided by programmers desperate to attract their fill of sponsorships, controversy and ads. This has prompted me into some thoughts around a theme beloved of our punk brethren - to smash the TV or not?

It made its way into my life again just before Christmas when it a 14” Black box was rescued from a faith unknown and transplanted to Dundrum. Currently it straddles provocatively atop a bookcase, the remote lies like a temptress across a bed side desk. The panoptical fucker is never out of view or grip, productivity and discipline has lapsed to a new low, with a by waste of books and ‘to do’s…’ arising on my shelves like a leering tower of surrender as I join the couch potato brigade. Two years ago, frustration with the wall papering of a sitting room with the constant sounds of MTV, Big Brother and the Osbourne’s prompted ripping a gaudy flower print from a frame to replace it with a scrawled cartoon of a TV being fucked out a tower block with the caption ‘TV Destroys Critical Thought.’ Now that was drastic signal to the start of a summer reading in parks and cycling randomly like a hyperactive monkey. This time the approach is less dramatic, but every bit as much a symbolic break - a red and black flag now hangs over the screen. Goodbye motherfucker, its back to the sitting room. Such was my opposition that when a friend told an ex, I now have a TV gawking at me most days, her eyes popped as if the messenger was ill. These days, to be a prat you could say there’s more appreciation for the dialectic, there is a human agency in watching television, not every one that spends their time watching it is bought off, we naturally critically engage to one degree or another. The problem with TV is that it’s a one way streak, obviously it has very little sensitivity to your opinion.

So here is a personal rule of thumb

Yes to: skimming the TV guide and identifying films and shows I want to watch.
No To: letting TV dictate what I watch and do just because it is TV

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Soundtracksforthem specialises in iconoclastic takes on culture, politics, and more shite from the underbelly of your keyboard. A still-born group blog with a recent surge of different contributers but mainly maintained by James R. Big up all the contributers and posse regardless of churn out rate: Kyle Browne, Reeuq, Cogsy, Chief, X-ie phader/Krossie, Howard Devoto, Dara, Ronan and Mark Furlong. Send your wishes and aspirations to

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