This article originally appeared in the 09.19.13 issue of Metroland
This is the 200th Rapp On This
. Damn. It seems like just yesterday that I celebrated
#100. Strangely, though, it seems like eons ago that Steve called and asked if
I’d consider writing a column about, in his words, “what you do.” To which I replied (and Steve will back me up
on this), “Steve, I’m not sure Metroland
readers would be all that interested in tales of binge-drinking and
masturbating like a monkey.” But alas, apparently
you are. My people!
schedule for the 13th
Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit is
filling up nicely. It’s the best, most
useful, informative, forward-looking music conference on the planet, and it’s
cheap. If you’re a working musician or in the biz for real or even just
interested in where it’s going you should try to get down there. It’s a blast. October
28-29, Georgetown University, Washington DC, futureofmusic.org. I’ll be giving a musicians’ legal toolkit
workshop mid-day Monday.
on. A close friend recently announced
with some fanfare that he was “cutting the cord,” which in modern parlance
means ditching his cable TV service. I
found this quite amusing since he’s only had cable for a little over a year! For most of the twelve years I’ve know him
whenever I’ve mentioned something I saw on TV he’d say “We don’t have TV in our
house.” We all know people like
this. They don’t have to spike the
statement with tones of hubris and superiority because it’s implied in the
words: we don’t need TV
. And, of course, being on the receiving end of
the statement invokes certain feelings of shame and remorse: “Geez, instead of
watching TV I could be reading a good
, having a meaningful
conversation, practicing a timeless craft”
and so on.
his announcement hit me because I’ve just almost decided to do the same
thing. And I’m no newby, no latter-day
Luddite; I’ve had cable from the git.
Remember the dark brown plastic box with the light brown buttons and the
long brown cord to the TV? How someone
would always trip over the cord, pull the box off the “coffee table” (typically
a wooden cable spool rescued from the side of the road) and knock over the
bong, sending bong-water everywhere?
always been part of the household. And,
for a long time, for good reason. Before
the internet it was the portal to the greater world. Obviously, that’s no longer the case. But there was also good stuff to watch. At the risk of sounding like our parents,
that’s not the case anymore.
actually have cable, I have DirectTV, but it’s the same deal. There’s like 1000 channels. I watch maybe 3. I’ll watch Stewart and Colbert and TCM when
there’s a good movie, which is usually.
I love TCM. A couple of weeks ago
they had a Martin Balsam film festival. Yes! Martin Fucking Balsam. And I watch Buffalo Bills games (if you’re a
Buffalonian you understand), and the occasional Big Sports Event.
about it. My last serious series
addiction was Entourage
, which I got
into because it followed The Sopranos
. I’ve enjoyed the couple of episodes of Madmen
and Breaking Bad
I’ve seen, but not so much that I wanna plan my life
around them. Maybe I’ll watch past seasons on DVD next time I have the flu.
surfing is dead. Why? Because the Big Media assholes have driven
general cable programming into the rat hole.
I need a shower after just perusing what’s on. Tonight’s servings on Direct TV? Channels 1-50: game shows, lame network
series, WWE; Channels 50-100: infomericials (Don’t Let Your Neck Reveal Your Age!
); Channels 100-200: pay-per-view, where I’m supposed to
to watch premium content.
Uh, no; channels
200-300: more infomercials, sports, more sports, and some news and old cable
standard channels that used to be good.
Old standard cable channels
A&E, Discovery, MTV, VH-1, etc.
Sigh. Bravo, initially dedicated
to “film and the performing arts.” Now? Real
. A&E, originally documentaries and biographies. Now? Duck Dynasty, Storage Wars
, and reruns
of shitty crime dramas. Court TV, which
showed actual court trials with in-depth legal analysis. Now? It’s TruTV, with shows like Top 20 Most Shocking..., Top 20 Funniest...,
And then, of
course, we all know what’s happened to MTV and VH-1.
gruesome. But still, cable’s
addicting. It’s hard to quit. I just broke a rib, and thought I’d keep it
to watch while I healed, then realized that no amount of pain medication would
make that crap watchable. Hey, the Bills
are looking damn fine! But they’ve done
this to me before. In fact they do it
every year. On the off chance they’re
still hot come December, well, there’s sports bars. Then the other night I watched Al Jazeera
Unhurried, intelligent news reporting.
No screen crawls, no soundtrack, no 5th
level, no pretend attitude, pretty boys or bimbos. It’s brilliant. It’s by far the best news programming on TV.
But I can
watch it online. Buh-bye.
Paul Rapp is a
Berkshire IP attorney, lifestyle maven and woodsman who at the moment only
hurts when he laughs.