Neil Coppen

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Philo’s Great Brain Drain

September22

I consider myself a vaguely intelligent person, one who is able to exert a healthy degree of self control and discipline but why then, after swearing, vowing to never return, too resist at all costs, do I find a stray finger worming itself toward the remote control, zapping- the dormant beast nightly into hideous animation. Curious I tell myself, yes curious to learn what level’s society is prepared to stoop toward, by keeping my finger on the remote I keep it on the pulse. Sadly I’ve run out of excuses now, can no longer justify the senseless rubber necking T.V induces. Plagued with the curiosity to discover what unsavory servings of perversion, distortion, flesh contortion, television might wreck upon me, I find myself returning to it night after night. I have come to recognize this as a problem, even addiction, one that has been growing worse over the years, surreptitiously creeping up on me and stealing my hours, numbing my brain and cramping my remote control finger. As with most addictions it is wise to journey to the source, weed out the perpetrator responsible for its very origins. My findings lead me to learn that the culprit in question’s name was Philo Farnsworth, a seventeen year up start ,who came up with the idea for the world’s first t.v -whilst idly gazing out over a bucolic setting of his hometown fields in Utah. What connection young Farnsworth found between T.V, tractors and undulating grass (he may just have been smoking it) we will never know but he went on to prophesize that his proposed box of image and sound, might just bring an end to all the world’s wars’- that once people from around the world could see how similar they all were, there would be no desire to fight against or hurt one another. One thanks god then that Farnie did not live to see such a desecration, how hastily is utopian brain wave mutated into humanity’s brain drain. In fact, were he still around today, Farnie might very well find himself a reluctant contestant on one of those show’s titled ‘When good ideas go bad! It’s hard to imagine how he might respond to a leisurely evenings channel surfing in our current age. What he would make of the wrestling barbarians, ingratiating game show hosts and inane soap operatic’s. The slew of ignoramuses clamoring for their precious fifteen minutes of immortality/immorality.The glycerin stained cheeks and quivering bo-toxed lips – re enacting out the days of their lives (or rather the small lives in their days.) One can only hope he would weep before laughing alongside the canned sitcom hysterics? The guffawing recordings’- consistent and convincing as a wash of ‘Lost City’ waves. Laughing at what? As they strive to ‘out do’, ‘out perform’, ‘out rage’ one another. Gawking as they slash, lacerate- lipo suck and silicone stuff one another into obscurity. Camera salivating, toddlers wailing as their once dowdy now unrecognizable Benoni mummy returns home (mummified) a bandaged beauty queen, soon to be reborn butterfly- only this time more buoyant, and sporting more plastic then the pool lilo. As for the violent veneer of Television advertising, credit card fraternizing? The flashes of ivory teeth, sparkling behind sinister ‘This product will change your life’ smiles. Spoon feeding and spilling on our bibs, seen we’ve forgotten to open our mouths- rather minds, then wallets, a reflex action as elementary as the knee jerk. Inciting the masses to munch on what Frank Loyd Wright very rightly dismissed as ‘bubblegum for the brain’.

Certainly not the window on the worldthat our misunderstood Philo had hoped for but an engrossing beast nevertheless. Were he still around would he be able to tear himself away from the catastrophe in the living room? gooi the remains of his tarnished creation out the window? Summon up the courage to wish his divine inspiration had never amounted to more then a few hazy summer day dreams back in the fields of o’l ? Surely we’d all be better off watching a few hours of undulating grass each evening and something tells me that poor Philo, moaning from the grave, would not hesitate in agreeing with me.

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