The Idiot Box
Greetings, all of Daryl’s fellow rage-a-holics! If you’re lucky enough to know me, you know that I speak very openly and crassly about my one-sided battle with depression. If you’re just meeting me for the first time, well, let me tell you – I speak very openly and crassly about my one-sided battle with depression (I say one-sided because I watch from the couch as it slowly takes over my life). But I know I’m not alone. Many people experience depression, a large majority being mothers, particularly first-time mothers. And do you know who is staying home with the children during the day? The mothers; especially first-time mothers. And do you know what they’re watching? The Doctors, and a variety of other daytime talk shows, soap operas, and news programs. I don’t know what depression is like for other people, but the topics I happened to run across on one such day of being a stay-at-home mom are of no help to anybody.
Growing up, I was only generally aware of the Today Show, just thinking it was perpetually on one channel. Now that I’m an adult, I know that it’s only a measly 5 hours, and I’m routinely up before it starts at 7am. I appreciate how they promote the crap out of the segments they have coming up, like they’re Uncle Leo with a death grip on your arm for fear you’d walk away. So, thanks to these hyper-ads I was routinely teased with a man who received multiple transplants – high risk, one-in-a-million of course – and was going to meet the donor family for the very first time. Are you fucking kidding me?! Not only am I depressed, I’m also slightly groggy and a little pissed that I’m not still in bed. So, for the next 4 hours I’m reduced to tears because it just happens to be the moment I walk into the living room that I get to hear about it….again. So I cheated on Today and flipped over to Good Morning America.
Here we have the black woman who documented her battle with cancer much like – but much less gross – Katie Couric’s tour of her colon (I’m not racist, I just don’t remember her name and I’m too lazy to look it up. If you want to know so badly, you do it. Let me know what you find out). The woman next to her starts a story about a woman who decided to give birth in an art museum. Um, sure. People have weddings there, so why the heck not? And people would be able to watch, i.e. performance art. Um, I’m sorry, what?! I changed the channel just as they said, “This material is not suitable for all viewers.” I love a good birth story, as long as there aren’t cameras and a price of admissions involved. Furthermore, who watches this kind of thing?! People spout, “Oh, childbirth is a beautiful thing!” No, it’s not. It’s fucking gross and involves vomit, blood, mucous, drool, human tissue, and poop. Yes poop! Next you’ll tell me taking a dump is beautiful. But I digress…..So there I was, changing the channel….
Remember Steve Wilkos circa Jerry Springer when it was so conveniently on right when we got home from school? He was the one who burst every balloon in the audience by breaking up the stripping fights when a really gross person started fighting with an even grosser person. Now he has his own show which is a step above Jerry, but below Maury and in my haste to avoid the desecration of an art museum, I accidentally landed on Steve and his Shocking Molestation Accusations. Now this just made me sick.
I managed to make it through the rest of my daytime schedule relatively unscathed. I love The Talk, and I find Anderson Cooper to be just creepy enough that he’s entertaining. My baby usually takes a nap around then and I decide it’s a good time for me too. We get up around 3pm, just in time for Dr. Phil, which I never pollute my ears with. In all honesty, I just really can’t stand his accent, but his channel is still one from before we went to sleep.
I wasn’t really watching because they were showing those explanatory, reenactment videos so I checked the information guide. On this very special episode, Dr. Phil was berating parents who are believed to be inflicting too harsh of punishments on their children, presumably an idea sprung from the video of the Judge whipping his daughter. Among them being…..wait for it…..gluing their children’s hands (to what it didn’t say), and forcing a child to kill a pet. Yes, you read that right. Even re-writing it now is making my heart pound and my hands start to shake.
After that, the rest of my day sort-of went downhill. I don’t blame it on TV, but is there no part of a producer’s mind that might consider this would BOTHER people?! Specifically considering said producer probably has her own standing prescription of Zoloft. People think they’re being cutting edge, ground-breaking journalism, bladdy, blah, blah. Fine, but why put it on daytime television when mothers are home alone and have easy access to kitchen knives? Better yet – these children these shows claim to be looking out for aren’t; in case you missed the memo, children are awake during the day and will probably offer a glance or two at the television. Yes, it’s my responsibility to make sure she isn’t watching anything she isn’t supposed to, but, come on, work with me here, since you’re supposed to be rated G. Or E….whatever.
Now here it is in the evening and we’re watching a documentary on banjoes on PBS. You can still be informed without learning every gruesome detail; and sometimes ignorance really is bliss.