Plus: a sci-fi assignment!
I'll go back even further -- I miss pre-cable. There was nothing wrong with having three networks plus PBS and what became Fox. Watching the same shows, at the same time, helped bring Americans together. In October 1980, a big chunk of the country watched the movie "The Burning Bed" about spousal abuse. Tens of millions of people tuned in it at the same time on a Monday night and then talked about it for days. By the end of the week, new laws were passed to protect spouses, police departments changed policies, our country was different. "Roots" changed us; not enough, but it changed us. So did "The Day After", about nuclear war. And there were other things that held us together -- laughing about Cosby the morning after (not any more, of course); listening to Republican colleagues admit that Jesse Jackson had given a superb speech at the Democratic Convention (which they had to watch because all four networks broadcast the conventions simultaneously); "60 Minutes" stories that provided conversational fodder for a full week. I think we underestimate how the advent of cable robbed us of shared experiences that held us together.
I understand Sonny's point of view, but I don't agree with it. I love streaming and only paying for what I want. My husband retired last year, we moved to the mountains, and we cut the cable cord. I feel great that I no longer subsidize things like Fox News, which I find morally repugnant. It is okay for me if there is less content, because there is way too much right now for me to keep up with anyways. I have craft hobbies, I read a lot, I don't need to fill many, many hours of TV. My only regret with getting rid of cable is sometimes I would like to watch CNN or MSNBC for breaking news coverage. It looks like Max is going to give me CNN. I know Peacock does have some live news, but I do miss Rachel Maddow and Nicole Wallace. (However, I do not miss them enough to pay for a live TV subscription through Hulu, which would be my only option where I live because there isn't a cable company available in my area.)
"I don’t want to be a completely negative Nancy..." Oh stop it Sonny, you don't NOT do something you're really good at. You and JVL are basically Sith lords at this point.
And GODDAMMIT Hollywood! I NEED MY NEOLIBERAL WORM MOVIE! I hope the studio heads walk the Akkaris sands with a rhythmic step.
I cut my Substack newsletter, magazine, newspaper, and stream channel subscriptions back pretty severely. There's still some web
/service subs I am still considering cutting to see if all this cancellation will result in feeling deprived and uninformed.... or feeling wonderfully zen, like I have oodles more time for activities. I have a fallback replacement - a library card. Free. I mean, the world will continue on its axis and there is the chance less may make me a happier person.
absolutely piss pouring rain where i live today... and then i find out Dune is delayed
Bulwark+ is the only Substack I will never let go of, for the same reason you cited: it’s truly a magazine. And you, Mr. Bunch, created the content I never miss within it. As said before, I’m legally blind and I won’t do movies in a theater--I can squint at my phone--but I love to read about movies, and ATMA is a hoot. By they way, I can watch John Carpenter’s “Dark Star” today. What does everyone think of it?
I liked Elysium!
2 pts for using the word 'vexed' :-)
Seriously, I love that word.
When I was a youngster my hubs worked for a TiVo competitor. That company had developed an algorithm that allowed you to skip commercials automatically. The guy who wrote that code is brilliant, and it just worked. We had one of those beta boxes and In our house for about two years, I never saw a commercial. He even put in a commercial mode so that you could skip the football at the Superbowl and just watch the commercials. Bet you never heard of this right? Because a whole bunch of content providers banded together and sued the company out of existence. Commercials will be coming back on all services, it's like crack to those content providers. It's only amazing that it's taken this long.
I think we would have become crankier no matter what cable/streaming did.
But yeah - we pay for cable; then we add on Max, Hulu, Netflix, Apple +, Showtime; and we have Amazon Prime as part of Amazon. (Max and Showtime may be through our cable provider; not a separate charge) A la carte is fine if you only want a couple things; in the software business, a suite license is less than the cost of the individual components. I like the Suite idea. My husband likes the a la carte but admits it's gotten pretty pricey. We ended up with both.... We'd love the NFL Pass but just can't justify adding it. and we refuse to add Disney Plus because really - don't we have enough to watch? I so want BritBox - but again, don't we have enough? (We have access to PBS because we do monthly donation to our local station.) The madness will never stop, will it?
And hitting a firewall on a news source when you only read one or two articles a year from that source is frustrating as heck.
I'm pretty sure we would have been crankier no matter what.
I actually completely agree with this. I think streaming may only be preferred because cable is still an option, for some streaming becomes a premium feature. I'm not sure if I'm unique, but I get most of my "streaming" through the on-demand parts of Xfinity. I get live TV and on-demand. It's a pain but I don't want to spend my time managing all these subscriptions where more seems to mean less.
Another thing I'm noticing is a lot of TV is a one time experience. We know some episodes from our favorite TV shows because they were just on a channel and you got sucked it. You got a lot more passively. Now if you want to rewatch an episode, you have to actively seek it out. I have some favorite TV shows that I barely remember because they were streaming only and I'm usually off to the next streaming show.
For me, cutting the cord was not about the bundle but about a) escaping "linear TV" (ie scheduled programming), and b) not paying to watch ads.
I love streaming. I'll never go back to cable even if it costs me more. I'm getting exactly what I want in this format. I don't know if this is true of everyone, but I really really loathe commercial interruptions and not having control of what I watch or when I watch it. These are the things that made TV (and by extension the cable bundle) so awful to watch.
I don't know if I'm the only one - but I have less than zero interest in listening to a podcast. Any podcast about any topic.
Dates back to the days of terrestrial radio. I hated talk radio. One of my favorite radios stations (who otherwise played a good mix of AOR) thought it a good idea to put on the Howard Stern show in the mornings. Never listened. It carries over IRL. I like to talk with people. I hate listening to people talk. I mean others conversations.
I sure wish you guys would post transcripts of your podcasts.
I can't help thinking that we treat "entertainment" as if it is important and it's not only:
1) Bad because it eats time without building any cumulative benefit or more than the most fleeting and spurious satisfaction-- reducing the time available to devote to productive activity
2) Bad because, like any other thing (drug) that stimulates reward neurochemistry, it habituates, so greater and greater stimulation is required over time to attain the same level of pleasure -- resulting in more time being devoted to empty and increasingly deleterious stimulation
3) Bad because the entertainment we consume is overhwelmingly what we seek out, which being carefully formulated to exacerbate appetitive urges, degrades taste and judgment.
4) Bad because it short-circuits the virtuous cycle of effort --> progression of small achievements --> progression of smaller cumulative gratification --> inclination to engage in productive effort --> more achievement. This distorts perception of what satisfaction and happiness are.
A virtuous cycle: music lessons, daily practice, improving skill, leading to a lifetime of satisfaction and capability. Our vicious entertainment culture: "air guitar". (Go to your child's elementary school talent show. I was astonished to see yes, one or two kids playing piano, or actually dancing -- but half a dozen or more doing "air guitar" to whatever crap pop "music" was polluting the cultural air of the day .. and others lip-synching rap (not taking time or effort to make verses themselves) ... and even more astonished that the parents of those kids were immensely proud of their progeny's accomplishments. )
Entertainment in a healthy society both diverts and ennobles. The entertainment in our deeply sick culture is like the White Witch's candy in The Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe: it degrades and sickens while at the same time increases appetite for the leprous distillment.
Mr Bunch accurately depicts the circumstance we are in. Those who would subjugate us offer us free "choice" of what we want to take in, and of course we choose to take in what degrades us into slaves.
Just turn the goddamn things off, and stop encouraging people to attend to the garbage.
I'm 68 years old. If I could go back and rescue the stupid young person I was at the time from the folly of his inclinations, I'd dope slap him and tell him to turn of the idiot box entirely. When I'm gasping out my last tortured breaths I'll be regretting the countless hours I pissed away filling up time with Gilligan's Island... which was practically Shakespeare compared to the tsunami of peccant garbage spewed out today and like forever chemicals taken into the metabolism of our society -- to the ruination of all.
(Also get those damned kids off my lawn!)
What Laurel says below is the real problem with cable. People didn't mind paying for stuff they didn't watch. People minded paying for stuff they HATE. If you're a liberal, you HATE that your cable fee is subsidizing Fox News (and OAN!) If you're a conservative you hate that you're helping to pay Rachel Maddow's salary. Single bros hated paying for the Oprah channel and Lifetime. And non sports people hated that the biggest chunk of their bill went to ESPN and its brethren. Personally, I thought we got a great deal with cable. I watch sports, my husband watched all those WWII channels, we watched Doctor Who on BBC America, Covert Affairs on USA, Mad Men on AMC, and way too many shows on Freeform for someone withouth teens. Plus cable news, network TV, TBS, METV. We even got "free weekends" of the premium channels that let us watch all the good movies that HBO had since the LAST time we had a free weekend. It was great. But it kept getting more and more expensive. And there were fewer and fewer shows spread out across all those channels. And do you know how hard it was to try and watch reruns? I'd set the DVR to record every episode of (fill in the blank favorite old show) only to have the power go out one day, or the cable go out. It's so much easier just to find that show on a streaming channel and binge watch the whole thing.
Right now, I have Hulu with live TV. It's a great bargain. I was already paying $15 a month for Disney+, so for $50 more a month I get all the same channels (more or less) that I got with Uverse for about half the money. I don't get AMC or PBS (why don't any of the streaming services carry PBS?) But you can get a month of both through Amazon for around $6 and catch up on the few shows you might want to watch. The only problem is that they don't get Bally Sports so I can't watch the Braves. But I can't justify paying $50 more a month just to watch baseball.
Have to disagree with Sonny on this one. 🤔 Cable was the absolute worst.
The problem with streaming isn't so much the experience, it's the 1-2 punch of rising subscription costs coupled with pulling any show that doesn't immediately take off like a Saturn V rocket. How *dare* Netflix take a pass on a third season of "Mindhunter" and charge me more?
The Santa Clarita Diet could have run for another three seasons!