The Gospel Truth

Honey, Who Shot the TV? | September 18, 2010

On 9/11, I interviewed author Ben Wiker on KSIV in St. Louis.  Ben has a new book out, 10 Books that Every Conservative Must Read.

It is a canon of great thinkers from Aristotle to Hilaire Belloc whose profound insight into the human condition should make deep thinkers of everyone who turns its pages.

Wiker said something during the interview that got me thinking about another subject–television.

Over 28 years ago he and his wife sold their only TV for $25 and have apparently never owned one since.  This bold action prompted a few phone calls.

One fellow from Tennessee said that he took his out and shot it in the backyard.  He was probably an Elvis fan as well.

Elvis blew him away

Ben later commented that he wondered if his innocent remark might have started an epidemic of bullet-riddled TVs all over the country.

When we came back from our break, I had to say that I guess the last words that you and your wife heard coming from the black box was ‘Nite, John-boy’

He said that actually Dallas was the last program that they had viewed.

I had to agree that since Bing’s girl shot JR he show was never the same.

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Before she shot him

Ben does have a valid point.   His not watching TV leaves him a whole lot of free time to…read.

Millions of Americans I hope are finally coming to this realization.

Commercial television and cable are becoming a vast wasteland of subtle and not-so-subtle attacks on the American family, sexual morality, private property and organized religion.

I stopped watching commercial television years ago, especially their eye charts of news programs on NBC, CBS, ABC etc.  They report nothing but the agenda of the left, virtually ignoring conservative issues and successes.

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Liberal agenda

It is as if Karl Marx was running the major networks.

I think it might have started with Maude when this spin-off character from Aaron Spelling’s Archie Bunker had an abortion.

Played by the late Bea Arthur, Maude was married but in her early 40s and not happy with the idea of having a baby.

Maude TV Show Cast Members

TV chose a sides

I think she only had one adult daughter on the show, so the idea of her even getting pregnant was preposterous.

After a teary and gut-wrenching drama she finally decided to terminate her pregnancy, much to the approval of the watching audience.

I think at this point, TV declared its side in the culture war and since then, it has only looked forward to the next traditional icon to attack.

With this breaching of the life and death barrier, it was not long before TV was taking sides on euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research.

Feminine flesh and cleavage had always been part of the advertisement side of TV but the actual on-screen sexual activity had usually been tame or at least subtly suggestive.

Now there is a lot more T&A and of all the people having sex on TV, none of them seemed to be married…at least to each other.

Gone were the pristine families of the Clevers, Ozzie and Harriet, Burns and Allen, and the Danny Thomas Show.

Even the combative love of Ralph and Alice Kramden in the Honeymooners ended each segment without fail with a platonic marital embrace with Ralph saying You’re the greatest!

We also watched Bishop Fulton J. Sheen’s #1 program, Life is Worth Living.

What a wonder he was for the Catholic Faith.  He was even more popular than TV’s #1 star, Milton Berle, that they called him Uncle Fultie.

sheen05.jpg Archbishop Fulton J Sheen image marialeslee

Uncle Fultie

Another problem with TV is its tectonic shift to featuring gay characters, gay sex and a glorification of the gay life style as something more reasonable and desirable than traditional marriage.

Hundreds of TV writers are homosexual and their agenda quickly permeated much of the TV viewing.

Will and Grace, which I have never seen, is probably just the most egregious  but gay characters abound.  Starlets kiss each other on the mouth whenever they can get a chance so as to tell America…this is OK.

In one of her books Ann Coulter made the point that the raunchy language and behavior of the immensely popular  Sex in the City was written by gay men…for other gay men.

The characters seem so unlike any women any of us have ever known because they are just the gay ideal in drag.

All this being said, I have mixed emotions about my TV.

I have been watching the box since my parents bought our first TV in 1950.  The first show I ever saw was the Lone Ranger.

TV in the early days was didactic.  It did teach, maybe in a sophomoric way but the virtues and lessons were easily understood.

I always wanted to be the kind of father Ward Clever was.  In truth, he was a bumbler but he was always patient in listening to his boys.

Talked to his boys

I can honestly admit that I have not always yelled at my two sons and have actually invited them into my den for a few fatherly chats.

I also was able to catch an obscure TV show in 1960.  It was a show, like Glenn Beck’s but without the apocalyptic Angst that permeates Beck’s show.

It was called A Way of Thinking, and it was hosted by a Dr. Albert Burke.

I vowed to become just like him.

I was enthralled by his scholarly analysis of the issues of the day–racism, the environment, and  discrimination against women.

As a young married couple with small children, my wife and I watched a lot TV–especially the cop shows on the 1970s and ’80s.

There was the bald-headed cop, the old, fat, and female detective shows–they were all clean and with just a modicum of violence and most of all they were entertaining.

Now that has all changed.  TV is on a secular soapbox to sell a way of living that is offensive to mainstream America.

TV is a vital part of our culture.  Without it I don’t think I could talk to as many people as I do.

Like a poor man’s Burke I have really become a cultural commentator.

In 2006 while recovering from an illness and the lethargy that went with it, I spent 3-4 months watching the box sets of 24, a solid show whose main character, Jack Bauer, vacillated between world savior and a dark Machiavellian figure.

After watching four years of the frenetic activity I was a nervous wreck but my strength was fully restored.

I have just started watching a similar set of Lost, which deals with serious theological issues and moral issues.

And let’s not forget sports.  I have spent countless hours watching games.

As a boy growing up in New York, they televised every home game for three different teams.  I was never without a game if I wanted see my Dodgers or even the hated Yankees.

I only watched the Giants when I was truly bored.

Then there’s football.  The NFL has become part of the cultural landscape.

Now there is Fox News.  My wife could  not exist without Fox.  She has become a news and interview junkie.

I do turn off the TV for about two hours every night so I can read my 100 pages.  This is my form of intellectual exercise.

So while I admire Ben’s courage, I see too much of the positive side of the medium for me to emulate him.

Like so many inventions in our world, it can be used for good or evil. I am saying that every viewer has to be very selective about what one watches.

If you spend your time watching filth and garbage, you will think filth and garbage.

My advice is to watch TV selectively.  Tune out the garbage and look for programs that actually have a point.  That’s the only way we can recapture our culture from the Marxist iconoclasts.

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1 Comment »

  1. You have nailed it on the head. TV is a waste of time. We are very picky when we do watch. Not too many choices but FOX and Glenn Beck are on our list. Weather channel, and Andy Griffin. That is when we watch. My husband does like his cowboy shows. Mostly we read . Almost forgot EWTN. Pax

    Comment by Mary B — September 19, 2010 @ 3:09 am


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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at bbprof@sbcglobal.net

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