Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dear TLC

To Whom It May Concern:

Do you know who Philo Farnsworth is? Philo Farnsworth invented the television.  He is, therefore, indirectly responsible for everything that you watch (the medium is the message, and so on and so forth).  

If, through some incredible science fiction technological meddling, Philo Farnsworth was to be brought into the present day and given a tour of all that his miraculous invention has produced - news reports from around the world, Sesame Street, computers, medical advancements - he would probably call the whole thing off if some poor intern accidentally let him tune into TLC.

"What's this?"  He would ask in his old-timey voice.

"Oh, that's TLC."  The hapless intern would reply.

"TLC?"

"Yeah, it's The Learning Channel."

There would be a long pause while Honey Boo Boo happened on the screen that he invented.

"Tell me," Philo would say at last, breaking the silence.  "Tell me: what exactly would someone learn from this?"

I'm not suggesting that all programming on every other network is better.  Remember when A&E was just World War II and Law & Order re-runs?  Or when MTV decided that what its viewers needed was less music?  You are not the first to lose your way, and you won't be the last.

But. and this is a pretty big but, so it's going to get its own paragraph before I continue with my thought in the next paragraph.

But you have LEARNING right in the name of your network.  It's right there.  In the middle.  A&E got around it by saying "well, we're about arts AND entertainment.  Technically, acting is an art, and Law & Order is entertaining, so..."  Even MTV can say "well, okay, no, we don't necessarily focus on the music itself anymore, but EVERY show we have has a theme song and then there's music playing in the background, and some of the commercials have jingles, so..."

I have a theory though.  A theory that helps me to understand why it has come to this.  It's amazing that nobody else has figured this out, but that's because you hid it right in plain site.  Your network is called The Learning Channel.  Up until now, we've all assumed that this is because we will all learn something when we watch it.  That's not the case though, is it?  It's not The Teaching Channel.  It's The Learning Channel. 

All this time that Discovery and PBS have been doing shows on advances in technology and the search for intelligent life and the creation of artificial intelligence... and it's right there in HD.  You've got some kind of Artificial Intelligence that has been learning over the years.  You started off high brow, with programs about home improvement and science and animals and nature.  Then gradually, it became about fashion and flipping houses.  Now it's about something that I don't know what it is, but I know that I get a headache watching it.  And yet, it keeps going, so I assume that people are watching it and advertisers are paying you to do it.

Shut it down.  Please.  For the love all that's right in the world, turn off the experiment!  It's not worth losing an entire generation for!

Either that, or may I suggest changing your call sign to TLCD (The Lowest Common Denominator)?

1 comment:

  1. I guess I'll ask Uncle Google what a "honey boo boo" is.

    But, and it's a pretty big but, that's going to turn into it's own paragraph, (that was funny!)

    I'm pretty sure I don't want to know what it is.

    ReplyDelete