One nation, televisual

I found that I’d overlooked this little gem of an article that came out at the end of last year.

The big sort has also been happening on the small screen. With a profusion of channels and platforms for TV shows, people are increasingly watching parallel and disconnected pop-culture as well as disconnected politics and daily experiences.

In other words, it turns out that Calvin’s Dad was wrong:

I think this may be heightening the partisan divide in the US (And possibly throughout the world). People are already not easily disposed to seeing things from “the other side”'s point of view. How much more difficult is it going to be to get people to understand and talk across the divide if the people on the other side don’t share their everyday references and metaphors.


Maybe the same way we did it before television? Because we did do that.

I work in a pretty multicultural environment. The breakdown of TV watching (without percentages, because I don’t have a good fix on those) includes:

  • people who mostly watch stream and/or satellite from the old country, whichever country that is
  • people who are cord-cutters and watch whatever’s on-line, which may or may not include Netflix
  • People who pirate most of the shows they watch (which basically means they watch HBO without the ads)
  • People who watch cable TV. Note this last group are in the minority.

And for all that we manage to mostly get along, mostly find common ground, and mostly talk about TV when we’re not talking about work – despite not always watching shows in the same language, never mind the same shows.

The one thing everyone where I work agrees on watching: the World Cup.


“What is this World Cup you speak of?” - Most Americans




Of Hockey?

Yes, I know which one, really, but hey. There are canucklehead stereotypes to maintain*

* Curling works too.


From what I’ve seen, what caused the divides was false or blinkered divides created in the era of mass broadcast media. It looks bad now, but only in the way that (reported) rape becomes a crisis only after most people begin acknowledging that rape is a crime in all cases.

When light is allowed in, what was night becomes a myriad of shadows.


“Oooh, Curling!” is what I say every time I find curling on TV.

So mesmerizing, I can’t not watch.


This confirms my observation on a topic on BoingBoing that NCIS is white guy privilege fantasy:


Yeah, but look at that last line about Walking Dead viewers!

(Haha, autocorrect first wrote that as Waddling Dead)

NCIS is one of my watches for when I’m stuck in a hotel and nothing else is on, mostly because I’ll watch anything with a murder mystery component.


Oh I have long known that zombies = immigrants/people of color ever since I walked into Cabelas and saw all the “zombie” targets on the shelves.


Yeah, I enjoy the procedural elements of the show, too. It’s well produced.


I have to admit, I’ve totally missed that up to now. I was still stuck in the “fear of epidemics” or “fear of suburban monoculture” themes from the Romero films.


I think that’s because we treat them as our “other”… to me they’re the white-male-supremacists who can’t see things have changed and that they are literally a dying breed. At least, that’s who I imagine I will most likely have to defend myself against.

Basically, whatever it is that we fear in people can be projected onto zombies, so while I am not afraid of immigrants or POC, someone who is would definitely see that – especially since Hollywood loves them that white, male, hero.


That’s one of those sports things, isn’t it?


I can certainly see this feeding into that for some people, but I think for most, it’s just more fun to shoot at zombies than at blank concentric circles. The people that have strong anti-immigrant or POC feelings … well, I’ve seen pictures of targets that turn my stomach and they sure weren’t zombies.


I certainly think it’s right-wing authoritarian broadcasting. So watchable, too! :thinking:


I like curling too! Since the digital conversion we don’t always get Canadian channels but I used to enjoy watching it.


Crapcast blows, but they carry CBC in the Metro by default. Oh, and NBC sports have been showing curling for the last two winters!


I would probably rather watch that one! Needs a Gonk soundtrack:

One of the unrealistic things about a long-form zombie story such as TWD that bothers me is that as the zombies age, far less of them will be able to walk. Probably within a few months - and definitely within years - there would be more crawlers than standing ones. This would be relevant to the story when it comes to easily hiding under cars or (groan) a dumpster.

As “done to death” as the zombie genre is, there are so many details like this which I have never seen addressed in such fiction. They are too flimsy an allegorical device to allow for getting sloppy with all of the other world-building details.


Also, petrol goes off, so good luck using those cars after a year or two.

I lost interest in TWD after the first couple of seasons because it switched from dysfunctional group pulling together to survive into a Randian nightmare of warring murder-hobo groups.