There are guilty pleasures that we all enjoy every day. I am talking about the plain blunt negativity that seems to soothe us somehow. Even though I am an individual who is basically in constant pursuit of positivity, I still adore well-timed, mean, angry, sarcasm. Maybe specifically people that are positive in general find negativity really funny. My sister bought us a brilliant card game for Christmas this year that is absolutely nothing but evil and wrong, and we have had more fun, and laughed harder playing it than we have ever had with any game before. One of my kindest friends seriously almost laughed himself sick playing it. For whatever reason, sometimes the truly deeply wrong amuses us. And sometimes, it becomes such a regular wrongness that we forget it is wrong.
I am going to pick on Seinfeld today, but don’t get me wrong, there are gobs and gobs of sitcoms that are highly comparable in their awfulness. I have probably seen every episode of the sitcom at least once. I have seen many of them multiple times, and it absolutely boggles my mind that during all of that time, I never once really thought about the fact that an egotistical, self-centered, over privileged, asshole was making me laugh. My mother always loathed the show, so maybe this is an understanding that comes along with maturity. The show aired when I was a teenager after all. I have no idea if the man was portraying his actual personality, or if the situational comedy was actually crafted to turn him into a terrible human being, but man! I was spending hours of my life watching a group of petty, greedy, irresponsible individuals who literally are (if they were real) the problem in our country, parade around for my own amusement. Why? I should have been sobbing at the sight, and instead I was laughing at it.
The reason that this now shocks and frightens me is because I have been thinking a lot lately about the power that television has to turn off peoples’ critical thinking and make them more willing to accept any idea that is being broadcast in their direction. If I reflect on the state of my mind on a day-to-day basis when I was watching that show, I can see a vast difference between my positivity and productiveness back then in comparison to today. It would be a huge leap to suggest that there is a possibility that I was actually being dragged down by one of the most popular comedy sitcoms of my time…but still, what if I was? For me, being a person who detests materialism, and greed, and selfishness, how on earth could I have been in a state where I was not disgusted by what I was watching? Something is amiss. It’s just an observation, but I suggest that we all pay a little bit more attention to what we are watching on television, and what we are allowing our minds to accept. I am beginning to believe that television is really, truly, dangerous.