Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sputnik Moment

Those were the words that our president used to describe the crossroads at which we now find ourselves. To paraphrase: We should all be feeling a little Sputnik right now. In his speech he used words like Internet and clean energy, and you could just feel the italics and quotation marks around them. After all, those are ideas that have already flown. They are in the books. We have to start looking for new ways to break ground and/or shoot for the stars. Of course, those two metaphors are already pretty well spent, so we're going to have to work on those as well.
This was the frame of mind I was in as I looked out over the rooftops of our neighborhood and noticed, as if it were the first time, all of the satellite dishes staring up into the morning sky. Why, I wondered, am I so opposed to getting my television from outer space? Am I so afraid of a strong wind or a heavy rain that could possibly interfere with my ability to watch reruns of "The Cosby Show?" Shouldn't I have more confidence in the technology of the future? After all, I have been watching cable television for nearly thirty years, since before there was such a thing as Conan O'Brien.
But deep in my heart, I knew the answer. I am far too connected, literally, to cable TV. Knowing that there is a wire, nay a pipeline, pouring an endless stream of information and entertainment in to my living room gives me quiet comfort. I can relax on my couch and check out what is happening on the SyFy channel without having to worry what galactic interruptions might block the signal. There is a cable that connects me.
I am stuck in the past. I live in a house with a computer to human ratio that is approximately two to one, and yet I refuse to let a beam of extraterrestrial infotainment bring me the same viewing satisfaction I have received for years via miles of coaxial cable. I could tell you that it's all about the price, but the truth is the cost is always negotiable. Which leaves me with yet another alternative: going all the way back to a pair of rabbit ears and trying to tune in whatever frequencies I can manage. Now that sounds like science fiction.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I use rabbit ears...some days I can barely get Maury. Believe me, you don't want rabbit ears.