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Programming like The Duggers or Honey-Boo-Boo, the duck dummies or crap about Nostradamus is indicative of the lowest common denominator which The Learning Channel, The History Channel and even The Discovery Channels have drifted toward. Putting informational, educational material in their program schedules failed to bring the revenues they wanted, possibly because it make some of their audience feel stupid. But they found a solution; they went with pap, cutesie stuff and pseudo-history, and my god how the money rolls in!
They say we get the government we deserve. Sadly, the same thing may be said of our entertainment.
So there the system went wrong: people don't want to be educated. How come? Exhausted from the ratrace? Overwhelmed by ads? Stressed by trying to keep up with the Joneses? Lied to too often? Perhaps they were never fed interesting info?
It's an equation I've run onto repeatedly: Believing is easy; knowing is hard. Add to that the unfortunate fact that too many people are plainly and simply LAZY and you get the dangerous combination we're confronted with here.
As to what suppressed people's natural curiosity originally, the first place to look is the First Estate, for sure, though other things are in play as well, including information overload.
Even back in the early days of TV, there were shows that were just stupid....like "I've Got a Secret." I was watching that turkey one night (while waiting for my boyfriend to pick me up) when the contestants' secret was that they had 20 children, and the studio audience went crazy, cheering like they'd just scored the winning touchdown or something. I turned off the TV.
But, then I always hated "Lucy," and "The Honeymooners," too. All that yelling and whining. My parents loved both those shows. GAG me.
I always liked "Watch Mr. Wizard," and was thrilled to meet him many years later when I was working at KCET. I was the family dork, I guess.
(I was also glued to the set when a local show called "Frosty Frolics" was on the air LIVE. It was the first time I'd ever seen professional ice skating, and I knew what I wanted to do more than anything else.)
Gary Moore says "OK that's 20 down and now we are going to Bill Cullen. We will go to Dorothy once she kills a gallon."
EEEEK! Someone else who remembers I've Got a Secret!
I grew up without tv - my fundy parents wouldn't have one - and later reruns of shows like Lucy didn't make any sense to me.