A ‘Brave’ New World

Having just written America Needs a Renaissa, I was in no mood for Orwellian indignities. Traveling through three airports the other day, I had finally had it – not with the patdowns and security lines, but with the mandatory television.  

I stopped into a store to grab a magazine, and there was CNN, unavoidable, blaring over my head. I went to my gate and there was CNN, staring at me, out-talking everyone trying to have a conversation, overriding anyone trying to read a book or use an iPhone. I arrived at my connecting airport, got to the gate to discover the flight was delayed and sat down in the only area available – under a particularly loud airing of CNN.

Of course, airports aren’t the only places where television is mandatory. Children’s clothing stores stupefy curious, energetic children with TV. Doctors offices subdue restless patients with TV.  Office lobbies, takeout counters, hotel dining areas,  even school and university “common spaces” keep things institutional (as opposed to personal) with TV.  

But mandatory television watching in airports is political as well as institutional. On just my single travel day, CNN personalities highlighted the Patraeus sex scandal while having virtually ignored the Benghazi scandal; bemoaned the inadequate “local” response to Hurricane Sandy, despite having  let the mayor of New Orleans completely off the hook in their rush to blame the response to Hurricane Katrina entirely on George W. Bush; and insinuated that the “fiscal cliff” could be avoided simply through higher taxes, having never emphasized the immutable problems created by reckless spending and borrowing.

And so, in the spirit of “America Needs a Renaissance,” I spoke out. But I hadn’t realized the irony when I ended that post by saying we needed to be more brave; at the airport, Brave New World came to mind. I asked the attendant at the gate to turn the TV off or down. You know the response. She “couldn’t.” 

  1. Aodhan

    I sympathize with your double-plus-ungood experience.

  2. HeartofAmerica

    CNN has contracts with airlines and airports to provide propaganda to the people. I doubt that they will be going anywhere anytime too soon.

  3. Percival

    CNN is for people who want to think they are current without the angst associated with actually understanding the present state of the world.

  4. Brasidas

    Ouch, Anne! You’ve touched a nerve. I’ve long complained about CNN’s rule over the airport airwaves.  The unrelenting liberal worldview is nearly unbearable.  A sympathetic friend and I went so far as to purchase one of those universal remotes that are supposed to be able to turn off any TV anywhere with the hopes of using it surreptitiously in airport gates across the country.  Didn’t work.  

    Can you imagine the cultural impact if a voice  with a slightly more conservative perspective were coming from those screens?

  5. John Walker

    There is a coaxial cable feeding Minitrue into the telescreen.  It is usually connected to the rear of the apparatus with a BNC or twist connector.  Disconnect it, and you have peace and quiet, not to mention an absence of indoctrination at the gate.  Is there a statute which forbids this?

    You can also easily take diagonal cutters through security.  I leave it to your imagination.

  6. Brasidas
    John Walker: There is a coaxial cable feeding Minitrue into the telescreen.  It usually connected to the rear of the apparatus with a BNC or twist connector.  Disconnect it, and you have peace and quiet, not to mention an absence of indoctrination at the gate.  Is there a statute which forbids this?

    You can also easily take diagonal cutters through security.  I leave it to your imagination. · in 0 minutes

    Good to know about the cables, but do you think anyone would notice the ladder?  ;-)

  7. Omid Moghadam

    I have tried the argument at almost every airport and have been told by countless gate agents that they can not do any thing about it. They dont even have control over the volume.

    Now, maybe a bit of guerilla warfare is in order here. Each of us should travel with a universal remote and test whether we can reek havoc on the screens from the Ministry of Truth at airports.

  8. John Walker
    Brasidas

    Good to know about the cables, but do you think anyone would notice the ladder?  ;-)

    Didn’t know they were so high there.  In Europe, they’re mostly reachable from ground level.  (Not that I would have had any experience with that, of course.)

  9. Kervinlee

    I am gross and perverted

    I am obsessed and deranged

    I have existed for years

    but very little has changed

    I’m the tool of the government

    and industry too

    and I am destined to rule and regulate you

    I may be vile and pernicious

    but you can’t look away

    I make you think I’m delicious

    with the stuff that I say

    I’m the best you can get; have you guessed me yet?

    I’m the slime oozing out of your TV set

    Frank Zappa, I’m the The Slime

  10. Edmund Alexander

    I’ve had many times when I used to enter a breakroom and the room would be empty while the TV was blaring.  I’d turn off the TV so I could read.  The result would be the next person to enter the breakroom would see the TV off and ask, “Is the TV broken?”

    The idea of shutting it off and shutting it out is incomprehensible to far too many people.

  11. Anna M.

    Total agreement here.

    I haven’t had TV for over ten years, and going into almost any public space in the last few years makes me feel like I’m being punched in the face over and over again.

    Even university and college libraries have the ever-present flat-screens in their entryways and reference-desk areas.  The volume is turned off, but CNN is still flashing away at you like an obscene traffic light.

    Sorry, I don’t care if the content is conservative 24/7 (not that it ever would be)–I just want the darn thing off!

  12. Anne R. Pierce
    Omid Moghadam: I have tried the argument at almost every airport and have been told by countless gate agents that they can not do any thing about it. They dont even have control over the volume.

    Now, maybe a bit of guerilla warfare is in order here. Each of us should travel with a universal remote and test whether we can reek havoc on the screens from the Ministry of Truth at airports. · 9 minutes ago

    I’m sorry to hear it’s futile complaining at airports.  As patients sit trying to read their magazines in Drs.’ offices, I’ve multiple times requested that the TV’s be turned down.  Same response:  We can’t.

  13. Rachel Lu
    C

    When possible, try demanding to see X sporting match. I’ve had success with that one, and airport personnel know that it’s risky to thwart a desperate sports fan.

  14. FirstAmendment
    Brasidas: Ouch, Anne! You’ve touched a nerve. I’ve long complained about CNN’s rule over the airport airwaves.  The unrelenting liberal worldview is nearly unbearable.  A sympathetic friend and I went so far as to purchase one of those universal remotes that are supposed to be able to turn off any TV anywhere with the hopes of using it surreptitiously in airport gates across the country.  Didn’t work.  

    Can you imagine the cultural impact if a voice  with a slightly more conservative perspective were coming from those screens? · 55 minutes ago

    This is a great idea!  Any techies out there know how to do this?  If we could all carry secret “off” buttons it would probably take “the authorities” months to figure out what was going on!

  15. Pseudodionysius

    Can’t we put a Burka over the television and claim religious freedom?

  16. ConservativeWanderer

    Anne, may I suggest you start carrying one of these?

    • Prank device allows you to control virtually any TV or digital camera

    • Works up to 400 feet away (a good ninja is never seen!)
    • Bomb button will cause a TV to change channels & volume at random for 5-15 minutes
    • Jam button blocks all other remotes from controlling the TV
    • Take control of all TV functions to watch what you want, wherever you are
    • Upgraded TV codes support virtually any TV, including new HDTVs
    • Powerful IR LEDs give this remote a huge range
  17. Jim Brown

    Ease up on CNN.  These are the only viewers they have.  A guy’s got to eat.

  18. Anne R. Pierce

    Creative solutions, all!  But, since I’m technologically very challenged, the only one I’d be capable of is throwing the burka over the TV.  Think that would work?

  19. Anne R. Pierce
    Percival: CNN is for people who want to think they are current without the angst associated with actually understanding the present state of the world. · 1 hour ago

    So true.

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