Sunday, July 31

TV Guide™: What Went Wrong?

By now you will have learned that TV Guide™, once the weekly publication with the greatest circulation in the country, nay, the world, will soon cease to publish actual television listings. It will no longer serve as our Guide. They are, as it were, getting rid of the difficult math section. The size will change, too: no longer will our wait in the supermarket checkout line be assuaged by thumbing through the two-to-eight Collector's Editions nestled snug in their racks, hardly bigger than one of those index cards that are bigger than real index cards. In jettisoning the Listings section the magazine will actually become larger, in defiance of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. We live in disturbing times.

Oh, I know there are scoffers out there among you. The snazzily dressed, technologically savvy, postmodern young urbanites with your digital recording and your onscreen menus; the libertarians who say the market determines value; and yes, even my fellow liberals who say Walter Annenberg was a slimy, scum-sucking, mobbed-up bastard of a Nixon crony who should be dug up and killed again just to make sure. To you TV Guide is antiquated, strictly for "squares", one more example of how The Man just don't get it. To which I reply, fine. I'm just an old Luddite who answered when his country called so that you'd one day be free to sneer at me on the street. I'm unfashionable, incontinently nostalgic, and my turn signal goes on for blocks without my noticing. Sure, what you call my analog ways aren't "cool", and I guess there's no place anymore for my near-encyclopedic command of Laugh-In cast members and British Invasion-era singles in today's world. You don't need the collected wisdom of the elderly anymore. You've got the internet.

Or maybe you're even one of those people who claims to despise television, to be too good for its anodyne amusements and lockstep "USA! USA!" 24-hour news coverage. And all I can say is, I'm sorry for you. Because once upon a time this country was about community, a Golden Age when all Americans, regardless of which Protestant denomination they belonged to, could choose one of two or three available sitcoms or Westerns, depending on reception, that showed us what the real America was like.

Look to yourself, Young American. Wake up, smell the coffee, and enjoy the mind-numbing celebrity-based chitchat on the morning news programs while you still can. Because just as my day is here, yours is coming. And trust me, it won't be pretty.


D. Sidhe said...

Hey, if it still makes you happy...

But the housemates had better stop insisting we buy it for them now that we know "How else will we know what's on?" is no longer a valid excuse. (Sunday paper guide, on-screen cable guide, internet guide...) If they want vapid celebrity gossip, they can pay for it themselves.

I admit I've been exclusively using the on-screen cable guide for several years now, coupled with channel-specific websites. But that's mostly because my origami, paper doll, and paper modelling habits kill plenty of trees already.
Well, okay, and I don't give a damn about celebrities, and TV Guide doesn't give a damn about Nature and The Living Edens.

harry near indy said...

btw, murdoch now owns tv guide.

either annenberg or his heirs sold it to him.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I don't care. I can't afford cable TV any more, anyway. The upside: in this hot summer weather, I can cool off by watching the snow on the screen. (Actually, I do care. I would watch of the television if I could.)

Meanwhile...what can we shrink? We have to move fast. Right now, there are a bazillion small TV-Guide-sized wire holders which will soon lie fallow. We have to shrink something and take over the space before it's gone forever. Mother Jones? Uh, the Bats Left Throws Right Weekly Compendium?


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