Point of View, a Retrospective?


Point of View, a Retrospective?

May, 2023

I have been distracted with PIE and other issues, so I decided to look back a few years and rerun a few postings from the past – they seem to still work today.

I have become so disheartened with the news and other programs on television that I simply cannot continue to watch them. They are so filled with vileness, on all sides, that they send me into a fit of depression. So, I have found “MeTV” and reverted to the programs I watched ‘back in the day.”

I recently rediscovered “Monk” and Tony Shalhoub as he and his group deal with his obsessive-compulsive disorder and solve mysteries. It’s sometimes poignant, mostly funny, and doesn’t make you think. What a relief.

Then there’s Love Boat. It’s the most underrated program on television. It features actors who are reaching the ends of their careers, but still have abilities. It’s fun, doesn’t take itself seriously, and almost always leaves you feeling good, almost. From time to time they will drop in an episode that does jerk a few tears, just to keep you on your toes.

How about Perry Mason? How can you not be taken by Perry, Della, Paul, and even poor DA Hamilton Burger who just can’t seem to get it right, but nevertheless is honorable? Yes, the production company was honorable, too. Although extremely ill, Ray Collins, Lt. Tragg, was kept on the cast as long as possible, and then his name was listed in the titles to keep his morale up and to ensure he received his union medical benefits.

And how about Cannon? I like it because it was shot all over Southern California and I can recognize many of the locations. And it proves you don’t have to be slim and tall, and handsome to be a successful detective. I met William Conrad (Cannon) when they filmed an episode in my home town. He came up and introduced himself. “Hi, I’m Bill Conrad” and stuck out his hand. Most of these guys won’t give you the time of day. Oh, and they needed a location for a newspaper office. Mine didn’t look enough like one, so they used the local museum instead.

I sometimes refer to lines from the “Big Bang Theory” here on the blog. Sheldon’s “Oh, Gravity thou art a heartless bitch” Or George Takai when asked how he could possibly know anything about man/woman relationships quips, “I read.” Can you sing “Soft Kitty?” It helps if you are a gamer, or a sci-fi nerd, or have some knowledge of physics to get some of the in jokes, but let’s face it, any program that can have Stephen Hawking playing himself as a recurring character can’t be all bad.

I think that the reason these shows had such a large following was the sense of family. The chemistry between the leading characters led to a feeling that this is a family to which you can relate. Perry was a father figure, Della a chaste mother or older sister, Paul the rakish younger brother, Tragg that friendly uncle. It’s all there. In each of them, the core characters are truly family. And we need family now more than ever.

I commend these and other shows of the era, some long gone, some barely into reruns, to you as a relief from the horror that surrounds us today.

Instant News

Back in the day, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, to get something past an editor and into a newspaper or on a news program (remember Huntley and Brinkley) you had to have three sources and be able to confirm them to your editor. This prevented so called ‘fake news’ and ‘fake, but accurate’ reporting getting out to the public.

In those days, names like Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow brought a feeling of honor. To this day we don’t know whether Huntley or Brinkley were liberal or conservative. They would be horrified to have their politics bandied about on the nightly news.

Stories were checked and rechecked. Facts were verified. Reporters knew that if that didn’t back up their claims, they would be on the unemployment line.

Today we live in the world of instant news. When the president stubs his toe, it’s a race to who gets the story up first. Headlines like “President Stubs Toe, Stock Market Crashes” are flashed around the world before we are able to find out that he was kicking a branch out of the way so the Prime Minister of Israel, who was walking behind him, wouldn’t trip over it.

I lay most of this at the feet of social media. Everyone with a cell phone becomes a reporter. They shoot 60 seconds of video, put it on Facebook, YouTube or twitter, and suddenly everyone knows the ‘facts.’ Even if it’s completely and irrevocably wrong.

The mainstream media is put in a position that if it doesn’t rush to put the story up, it will be shown to be slow out of the gate and irrelevant. Facts and truth be damned.

One of the worst of the social media is a little gossip site called “NextDoor.” Anyone can say anything and send shock waves through a community. “I heard a large ‘bang’ at 3AM last night. Was it a gun shot? Be careful out there.” Suddenly, people are certain that roving bands of shooters are terrorizing a formerly quiet neighborhood. (Investigation showed that the large ‘bang’ was a pallet falling over, probably pushed by a cat jumping on it.)

Busybodies can cause more harm. “I saw a man walking down the sidewalk yesterday afternoon. He looked scuzzy, probably homeless. Be on the lookout for him. Next time I see him I’m calling the police.” There’s a very good chance that ‘homeless scuzzy man’ was me, walking to get my first haircut in months.

Sometimes too much information is worse than no information at all.

Carbon Footprints

Governor Newsom of California announced that he is ruling that by 2035 there will be no passenger cars sold in the state with an internal combustion engine. This is in a state that can’t even keep the lights on today without rolling blackouts. We are going to put huge pressure on the electric grid to charge all those millions of EVs.

I wonder…

A few years ago, we had an environmentalist speak at PIE. He was from Washington State and told stories about politicians who would come up with ‘environmental’ programs like schools that were built to be 100 percent in line with environmental requirements. The problem was that when you went back and looked at the school when it was finished, its carbon footprint was much greater than a traditionally built institution.

But there was another issue. That is the ‘staying power’ of the politicians. They would come up with a program (like the green schools), then in a few years get distracted and let that program go by the wayside in favor of some other flavor of the month coming down the pike. Or the idea would be proven untenable (like the high-speed rail in California) and simply wither away.

Since California is committed to ‘renewable’ energy but can’t keep the lights on with wind and solar (seems that neither work so well at night), how can it supply its 15,000,000 vehicles with electricity? Well, I guess these are details to be worked out later. It’s sort of like the old joke of the fellow who was going to travel to the Sun and when he was told that he would burn up he shared his solution: he was going to go at night.

This plan is from the same leadership that prevented the proper management of forests and led to the wildfires that have plagued the West for the past few years.

If, as the governor predicted, the price of EVs will be falling and their popularity will be increasing over the next decade or so, why not just leave well enough along and let the marketplace handle the situation? If the change from fossil fuels to EVs happened naturally, there would be time for the power companies to adjust to the new electricity requirements without the intervention of the government.

But then, when did you ever meet a politician that didn’t want to force something down the throats of the populace? It’s in their nature.

Article contributed by:
John Van Horn
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