Watch It! He’s After Your Brain!

Doctor Daniel Amen

Doctor Daniel Amen

Is he a zombie? Not exactly, but close enough.

Watch public television at certain times, and you are likely to see various health practitioners standing in front of an audience of middle-aged and retired persons who are afraid of (1) getting cancer, (2) losing their memory, (3) blowing up like a dirigible, or (4) outright dying.   All you have to do is listen to the good doctor, buy his DVD, and read his book—and you will be on your way to becoming one of the immortals.

There are inevitably a number of do’s and don’t’s, connected with diet, exercise, sleep habits, etc. It’s like New Years Resolutions all over again—and you know how well those work! Basically, like resolutions, it’s a self-directed program with no snarky degreed individual looking over your shoulder to tell you shape up fast.

I usually associate these medical salesmen with Doctor Daniel Gregory Amen, whose audience is frightened of getting Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. So, there they sit, clapping on cue at all the good doctor’s talking points.

Perhaps his program is good: I am in no position to judge. But I am dismayed that so much of the Public Television audience has reached a point where health has merged with self-help. As for myself, I will continue to consult with my physician about any worrisome indicators. As for brain health, my readers are aware that I am past help. You might just pronounce the final Amen.

Theta, Goddess of Television

What Happened to the Promise?

What Happened to the Promise?

Back in the 1970s, the first truly great television channel was born. It was called the Z Channel, and it was available only through Theta Cable Television, a subsidiary of TelePrompTer Corporation. Here was a channel made for film freaks such as myself. I could watch not only popular films, but film classics, including French, Italian, and Japanese classics with subtitles.

The trucks belonging to Theta Cable bore the following logo, of which I could find only this very imperfect example on the Internet:

Theta, Goddess of Television

Theta, Goddess of Television

The Z Channel ended badly with a murder/suicide when program director Jerry Harvey shot his wife and then turned the gun on himself.

Around then, the Z Channel segued into the Sports Channel, which interrupted their movies with Stanley Cub playoffs. I remember calling my cable provider and demanding to cancel the hockey channel. They knew what I was talking about.

There were other hopeful beginnings, such as Headline News, CNN, Bravo, TNT, and even MTV at the beginning. Now the only cable channel of any worth is Turner Classic Movies (TCM), which still has no advertising, and which shows films uncut and unscanned (i.e., letterbox versions). As far as I am concerned, the rest is mostly sports (way, way too much sports), right wing news, and celebrity gossip. I would be in heaven if all that mattered to me were Kim Kardashian’s ass and how the Cubs are faring against the Hornets. Oh, yes, and Benghazi!

Cable television was once a land of promise. Then, I suppose, Eve ate the apple; and we were all drummed out of paradise.