I promise the following story is true. And just in time for Christmas! On Wednesday afternoon, I arrived home from work and decided to sit down with a remote control and hot cup of coffee - not an unusual routine. I really wasn't interested in anything on television at the time but I thought I might scan the channels and just relax.
It's a guy thing but I first turned to ESPN. For those who frequent the sports channel, you'll know the program I will soon mention. It is not part of my normal viewing spectrum. The first program I found was a sports talk show that featured an obnoxious New Jersey host and four sports "experts" from media outlets across the country. It was a combination quiz show and talk show with a twist. The host would ask some sports question of the day and the four "experts" would see which one could out-yell the others for camera exposure. I kid you not, it was the Jerry Springer of sports. The "experts" were screaming their opinions at one another and the host was taking great glee in out-screaming all of the above.
The outright chaos was just too much so I turned to Fox to catch up on the latest national news. Since I work in the news business you'd think I would be sick of the daily grind. But I'm a glutton for punishment.
On this news channel popped up yet another panel of political "experts" discussing the federal budget, the Patriot Act and oil drilling in Alaska. And just like the sports guys, these "experts" were screaming and getting red in the face trying to make their point. It was most certainly not a debate, it was an argument with emotions near the edge. You just knew someone was about to have a heart attack.
Enough already. Hand me the remote.
So I flipped to another news-related channel to get away from the yelling. I found Jim Cramer and his show called Mad Money. I like the guy. He offers common sense advice on how to spend your money. But poor Cramer had joined the crowd. He was yelling - no screaming - at the camera with some fast-paced advice on how to invest your hard-earned dollars. But he was running around in a flurry of activity, all the time yelling his financial advice.
I found a book and finished my coffee.
Civility has evaporated in our society. Peace and quiet exist in limited quantities and they are hard to find. When you turn to television for entertainment and find nothing but chaos, then something is wrong. And I honestly think it takes away something that is important in our world.
My routine will likely continue. But my choice of programming will likely change.