Television has no future. It’s finished as a medium, really. That’s why youtube and people’s own personal approaches to making programs is so interesting. Television, essentially, murdered itself, and once it recovers from its suicide, there might be a renaissance of some kind. But, as of now, it doesn’t do anything interesting.
When I see all this glitz and these same formulas about how people look on television, what the lighting is like, how the sound is done, it becomes apparent to me that it’s just a whole received tradition based on absolutely nothing except convention. That’s how we’ve done it before. And, I just think it’s finished. It has no energy as a form anymore. The media has got to rethink their world.
My perception is that the most important thing that could happen on television in America is for it to slow down. It’s just so frantic, and there’s a kind of level of hysteria that we’ve maintained here giving rise to, what I call, a fire hose mentality. This simmering level of hysteria and hostility is maintained, and then, at the right time, the hose is pointed somewhere and suddenly everyone’s paranoia and attention focuses on this one spot. The argument that is always given is, “Well, that’s what the viewer wants,” but, of course, nobody really knows what the viewer wants. This is only what they’ve ever been given. They’ve never actually had an option to choose, or not a real one anyway. Obviously, it would take a while to acclimatize to something that didn’t offer a surprise every ten-seconds. And, the direction of music, for instance, is for one item to cancel out the one before, and for the news always to be wrapped up with some funny little “ha ha.”
I avoid telling you this face to face so as to avoid sounding contrived, but I know this to be true. I think people open up their hearts when you sit down with them. You look them in the eye and see them for who they are and who they want to be. You see their future, past, and present (in that order). You realize that the material separating you two is only temporary, and as you open your mouth, this barrier slowly fades like wind on water. What I love the most, though, is how musical your silence is. Without perfectly defined parts, the songs flow vividly, like we’re able to plug headphones into your head, and are somehow allowed to listen to the music inside. I hope to meet you with physicality one of these days because I know we’re meant to. I pray for you. I dream of you. I cry for you. I laugh with you. And, I admire you far too much to let you pass without a glance. We’ll stop in our tracks. Our eyes will smile at each other and do all the talking.
My heart has raced a lot lately. Sometimes in the car before I arrive, or on the floor of my room waiting for her response, I panic (not that I mind all that much). I feel like I’m actually doing something with the time I have.
I remember a complaint I had years ago. I was sitting on my couch catching the afternoon sun each time the garage door was swung open by my dad. I hated that I was inside. I couldn’t just go out. I mean, I could, but I couldn’t. I was tired, I was bored, I was lonely, I was paralyzed. I recollect wanting friends real bad, but I was much too shy to search for them. (Though, I’m not sure many kids were like me at that age.) These were days and days of endless pondering, wondering if my loneliness was my life. Looking back, I realize it kind of is. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I know it now, that this being alone, this having no burden but that of the eyes, is a sort of freedom.
I took a walk through downtown Tacoma last night. I was alone, it was late, and it was empty sans the melancholia, and it took me back to those timeless afternoons of first grade recess. I would lay on my side and stare at the grass, I would walk the perimeter of the playground not looking up once, and I would always watch the kids at play, smiling to myself. I used to make fun of them in my head. Their immaturity made me laugh (as I drank glue and sported my light-up power ranger sneakers). I’m still that person though. I’m still very much a little boy who is outside looking in, or perhaps in, looking out. But at this age, I have come to see it all as a blessing. I love what freedom I have. I love the little steps He’s put in my life—those tiny aids that help me grow so much, the people that I have miraculously crossed paths with, and those nights like the last that remind me how real He is.
Lately I’ve been thinking that being alone is a freedom as long as you’ve got truth to live by.