dailybell2008: Imperfect Sunrises and Cable TV

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Imperfect Sunrises and Cable TV

The appearance of the sun breaking over the horizon yesterday was like something you’d see on one of those late night channel sign offs that television used to have in the days when stations didn’t have enough programming to broadcast for 24 hours a day. In these days of hundreds of channels and constant bombardment of every possible image and activity, it may be hard to imagine a time when there was such a limited range and amount of material that there would be down time. Maybe that downtime reflected a lack of imagination or a dearth of broadcastable materials for this relatively new medium. Perhaps there was a shortage of advertisers willing to pay for airspace to entice people with their products when those viewers were either half or completely asleep. Or maybe people were more discerning about what they were willing to broadcast to the public. Maybe “the public” was less a faceless entity of potential consumers and more a group of familiar people you might recognize when you were outside and not watching television. Neighbors, people in the grocery stores, coworkers, people on the bus- not people you knew but not exactly strangers, either. That is not to say that the content in those days of limited choice was more thoughtful or thought provoking than it is now. Game shows, sit-coms, quiz shows and soap operas abounded alongside the cowboy serials, doctor shows and police dramas. Before cable and HBO and before Ted Turner acquired all those movies from the 30's - 50's, the movies on TV were free. Before late night television was dominated by talk shows, those same movies played all night. For free. However limited the range and availability of programs- junk and gems- it was egalitarian. Now you pay. The more you pay, the more entertaining, the more variety and better quality of programming you expect. And one of those programs that used to be a throw away item at the end of a day that you can now pay for is the sunrise and sunset channel. The perfect sunrises and sunsets of your imagination. Over and over again. From one beautiful or exotic location to the next. Without the long wait, at an hour of your convenience and with music. So here is my second offering in a row of the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. However, because of all the clouds, the sun doesn’t make an appearance near the horizon. So I left that part out and just concentrated on the waves and the ground and left the sky to the imagination.

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