A simple way to help resurrect hope in America

Napoleon Bonaparte called history, “A set of lies agreed upon.”

It’s even been said that lies are the glue that holds civilization together.

And now, before our eyes, lies accumulate like flies on flypaper, germy, nasty things that get processed, pasteurized, and homogenized into history. Examples seem endless: from elections rigged with e-voting, to the heinous false flag circus of 9/11, to the Global War on Terror, to evisceration of the Constitution to “protect” people, to the off-the-charts upward transfer of wealth of bankster bailouts, to the murder of over a million people amid destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya. . . .

Look around, look in the rearview mirror, lies, and lies about lies ad nauseam . . . becoming history. Napoleon implied that it has always been this way, but one might wonder: Has it always been this bad? Might we respond to Napoleon’s observation with, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet?”

If indeed our trajectory involves ever-increasing divergence between history, and truth, is there some agent we could point to that facilitates this madness—something greatest of all at conditioning people to absorb lies? Something invasive, powerful, and even addictive enough to render majorities of populations unable to think critically—unable to tell truth from lies, leaving them gullible enough to swallow whatever mainstream corporate media (CorpoMedia) feeds them? There is one agent towering above other suspects, and almost every American is hooked. The agent is called TV.

Your brain on TV

Studies over the years have developed an impressive database regarding how the human brain responds to TV. Surprising, even alarming, much of the information—and easy to deny or ignore by the afflicted partly because of very real cognitive impairment, even actual physical damage.

As one watches TV, higher brain activity shuts down, energy shunted to lower brain functions, potentially leading to atrophy of higher brain regions. Also, content of most contemporary, especially mainstream programming, is stultifying, based copiously on fear, desire, sexual titillation, sensationalism, guilt, pathos and pride—sometimes all together in a brainstem whirlwind!

Not only can TV addiction destroy the ability to concentrate, reduce intelligence and increase chances of developing diseases of neurodegeneration (Alzheimer’s, dementia), it has been shown to physically impair development of children’s brains—frontal lobes especially.

TV viewing can significantly shorten attention span, and elevate the risk of attention deficit disorder (ADD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in both children and adults.

Our local newspaper even had an Associated Press story the other morning titled: “Fast-paced ‘SpongeBob’ tough on preschoolers.” Seems a new study shows that just 9 minutes of watching the cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants caused short-term attention and learning problems in 4-year-olds. The study also measured significant negative impacts regarding self control and impulsiveness. A spokesman for Nickelodeon, who disputed the findings, offered the reassuring jabber that “SpongeBob is aimed at children ages 6 to 11, not 4-year-olds.” Hello?

Guess we might have to crack down on those pesky 4-year-olds getting in the line of fire at 6 to 11-year-olds.


Within 1 to 3 minutes of TV viewing, brain activity tends to switch from the left hemisphere (Beta waves—active, logical thought) to the right hemisphere (Alpha waves—hypnotic state, high suggestibility opening direct access into the subconscious mind).This promotes increased levels of endorphins.

The term “endorphin” is a portmanteau of endogenous and morphine denoting a morphine-like substance originating within the body. Endorphins are opoid peptides produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus; like opiates, they induce analgesia and feelings of well-being.

Certainly, people have trouble kicking the TV habit for various reasons. The primary physical dynamic is their addiction to the endorphin rush; without the rush they experience symptoms virtually identical (if far milder) to opiate withdrawal: depression, anxiety, anger, obsession with scoring a fix. And scoring a fix is as easy as planting yourself on the couch, pushing a button—don’t think much . . . just relax, and, watch . . . aahhh. . . .

Mind control

When you switch over from left-brain kinds of critical thinking and logical thought . . . to that endorphin-enhanced hypnotic state where critical thinking—actual exercise of your brain—dissolves and your subconscious is wide open, you are had. That ultimately-suggestible plateau where “they” want you . . . and how many TV addicts might even have any idea? By a long shot, not enough to in any way to hamper control over how they feel about themselves, and their perception of reality.

The hypnotic state induced by watching TV is a dream come true not only for those seeking to control perceptions and beliefs, but for advertisers. In this state of high suggestibility, information tends to be downloaded directly into the subconscious mind, altering what people think without them even knowing—without any critical analysis. The brain can become a sponge soaking up “boob tube” juices.

The fundamental purpose of American politics is upward transfer of wealth; or as “Poppy” Bush crows, “The continuous consolidation of money and power into higher, tighter and righter hands.” An aware and thoughtful citizenry would make the continuous upward transfer of wealth we see now difficult to execute, but with America bursting at the seams with TV addicts it is, shall we say, a “no brainer.”

TV news

Perhaps it’s not just lies, the staple of CorpoMedia, but omission that is the most effective molder of Americans’ perceptions. Lies are easy to navigate because one can simply take the bulk of what CorpoMedia news propagates, rotate 180 degrees, and find truth. But with omission . . . for millions of Americans, simple omission of an event means it did not, or is not, happening. A perfect example is going down right now with the “Wall Street occupation” which, if CorpoMedia were your only news source, you probably would know nothing about.

Amy Goodman, host of “Democracy Now!” captured the omission reality last week in her excellent article, Speaking for the 99 Percent: “If 2,000 tea party activists descended on Wall Street, you would probably have an equal number of reporters covering them.” Well, as it is, CorpoMedia is trying to make it something that didn’t happen; it’s called, omission. The reason the tea party is a CorpoMedia darling . . . the tea party is a corporate sugarbaby. Find out where the party originated, and from where it’s funding gushes (hey tea party, who’s your (sugar) daddy)? And CorpoMedia calls the tea party a “grassroots” thing. Multibillionaire grass. . . .

How bad is it?

A study in June of 2011 concluded that the average American watches 5.3 hours of TV per day; almost 160 hours per month, or 2,000 hours per year—80 days! By age 65, that equals 9 years of uninterrupted screening. 9 years doing virtually nothing but having your higher thought centers stunted. And that’s average; imagine how many hours per day hardcore users watch TV.

It’s bad. So bad that TV addicts’ poor brains, confronted now with upwards of 300 channels to choose from, might even suffer choice fatigue that can quickly drain stamina.

If nothing else, chronic TV viewing is certainly a reliable ticket to nowhere. Not actually living life, but watching CorpoMedia’s version of life—and version of what you desire, how you feel, what you believe, how you think, who to love, who to hate, who is winning the wars, why we need more wars. . . .

How could America NOT be going to hell? Meanwhile, the streets are swarming with cell-phone zombies, eyes glued to that little screen in the cell phone welded to their hand. Computer screens filled with videos . . . screens, screens, everywhere a screen—you can even get headgear now with a TV screen in the visor so if you want, you can watch TV literally full time. Not thinking, just watching and absorbing, full time. Of course people need to work, and sleep—but generally those are the only two other things Americans spend more time on than TV.

My wife and I usually walk several miles after supper, mostly in parks though sometimes in various neighborhoods. We’ve seen lower-income neighborhoods become so speckled with satellite dishes it seems like every house, no matter how shabby or ramshackle, has at least one feed of satellite TV. However, if you look closely, some of them still have only cable.

Virtually all of them flicker inside with mesmerizing rapid scene changes.

Neighborhoods higher up the income scale seem to have proportionately fewer dishes, less flicker . . . at least fewer overt signs of “boob tubing.” Might a direct relationship be there regarding tickets to nowhere?

Ten years ago, shortly before our TV moved on to greener pastures (Gawd rest its soul), my wife fielded a call from Neilsen; they were conducting a ten-minute survey of TV viewing “habits.” In response to the pollster’s first question, “How many hours per week does your family watch TV?” my wife said: “Two, maybe three.”

“Two or three hours in a whole week?” the lady asked.


“Thank you ma’am. . . .”

And it’s not just your brain

Recently, results of a large number of studies lasting up to 6 to 10 years suggest that for every 2 hours people watch TV, they incur a 20% increase in their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

A number of other health problems including obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol—death at an earlier age, surely . . . the more TV a person watches, greater the risk of all of the above.

The minimal brain exercise coupled with sedentary lifestyle; the sitting and simply watching . . . it’s far more damaging than say, sitting and reading, or driving; that seems at least partially related to high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, fat, salt—the processed “junk food” often consumed as swarms of commercials with pretty people imploring you to just go for it massage your buttons.

So what’s this about resurrecting hope?

People sometimes respond to my articles with variations of: “Lots of nice words, but words don’t do anything. We need action. People need to DO something!”

A friend of ours with young children has been told repeatedly by kindergarten teachers: “If there’s one major thing you can do to help your child, it’s turn off the TV.”

Well there it is. If there’s one major thing we can do to help salvage remains of our “constitutional republic,” it’s the same thing—turn off the TV. Americans who care enough about their country to really learn about their country need to just turn it OFF—kick TV and start getting more exercise in parts of the brain that distinguish us from animals.

Those parts of the brain are all that stand between life on Earth, and corporate profit until death do us part.

Something as technically simple as flicking a switch could benefit us more than anything else we might do. People I know who have kicked TV, when exposed to TV again, often respond with such as: “How could I have spent so much time doing nothing?” And, “TV is insulting.”

Is it merely coincidence that ascension of TV in America so closely parallels America’s descent into massive infrastructure decay, perpetual unemployment, exploding poverty, maldistribution of wealth? Americans watch more TV than any other citizens on Earth. TV is obviously a drag-down drug Americans would benefit greatly by using less of. Another no brainer?

But it’s a full-blown addiction epidemic most people shrug off—even though it’s so obvious that citizens lose big-time when “democracy” becomes a spectator sport. And addiction usually involves ever-increasing doses to approach satisfaction.

Imagine . . . statistics showing that Americans are suddenly, significantly reducing their amount of TV watching—that could be some great news for a change, perhaps heralding an increase in citizen involvement in the running of their country. Participation of aware, intelligent citizens seems our most effective option in slowing the rate of American decline—our best way to combat corporatocracy, oligarchy, and globalization. Conversely, our continuing trend toward ever greater TV addiction retards any widespread hope of personal, community, national and even biospheric improvement.

The road to hell is paved with increasing amounts of time spent watching TV.

I don’t pretend to have any breezy solutions. Drastic reduction in the amount of time Americans spend watching TV could benefit America greatly, this I believe. Americans need to wake up, kick TV, and live their own lives.

Do we need some sort of “12-step program”? Maybe, “TV Addicts Anonymous”?

Some people get a tad defensive when questioned about their TV habits. The most common answer I’ve heard to the question of whether or not there is anything “good” on TV is: “The History Channel.”

Napoleon, again: “History is a set of lies agreed upon.”

Rand Clifford’s novel Castling, the classic “Story of the Power of Hemp,” and the sequel, Timing, are published by StarChief Press. The novels, “Priest Lake Cathedral,” and “Voices of Vires” will be available soon.

One Response to A simple way to help resurrect hope in America

  1. It is so frustrating when we go to our doctors office since they added TV’s to each cubicle in our clinic. They used to just have the health information tv’s or sometimes healthy meals and prep in our doctors cubicle, but then they decided to give each a TV with cable tv garbage. Even when they had the medical stuff I used to sit next to the window and tried to spend the waits that were either to wait for my appointment or wait while my husband saw his doctor trying to look out the window even though it took some contortion to turn away from the set. Now they have taken all the seats so they are ALL facing the TV and it just drives me nuts. It makes me feel like I could break down and cry. Not that I am so pure I don’t see TV at home, but at least it is something that I try to view for information, the MSNBC following of Ed and Al Sharpton, but that is all I can take or I try to be near my husband for an hour before we go to bed each night and frequently fall asleep. Not the Judge Judy or whatever is the crap they play in the doctors office.