Monday, January 7, 2013

Paving Paradise

I woke up this morning to find out that just about everybody in the country had tuned in to PBS last night to catch the beginning of the third season of Downton Abbey. It was a topic of discussion on the Today Show and CNN and Good Morning and Wake Up, America. Never mind this guy Hagel or Hillary Clinton and her bo-bo, everybody wanted to talk about British class distinctions and who got to savor the best zingers, Dame Maggie or our own good-time gal Shirley.

Time was, Bobby and I were the only two people either one of us knew who were watching this show. Nobody else could be bothered. Hell, nobody else seemed to know it was on. We had it all to ourselves, a tiny park of wit and civility surrounded by acres and acres of ka-pow action shows, over-miked sitcoms, and whatever else sells deodorants and laxatives these days.

Now, they’ve gone and paved our little paradise and put up a parking lot. And as you very well know, if you build it—a parking lot, I mean—they will come. And come and come and come. Even if there isn’t enough room for all the cars.

It might be time for me to stop watching.

This has happened to me before. Some years ago, HBO came out with that show about life in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I watched that one, and I was enjoying it, too, until I started seeing how some of my friends and neighbors were getting real proprietary over it, like it was their story, like it was all about them and what they had gone through. It didn’t help if you tried to point out that they weren’t black or that they didn’t know which end to blow on a horn or that they had only just moved here from Massachusetts seven months after the flood waters had receded. That was their life, man, up there on that screen, with all of its heartaches and passing joys and more heartaches and disenfranchisements and callous beatings from the man! Damn.


Lot of power in that TV. Somebody ought to try to channel it for good.


  1. yep. i was watching too. i watched the first two seasons on netflix before i knew anyone else even knew about this show. i don't even know why i started watching, but i was quickly hooked. it's just such a spectacle, the colors, the lushness, the manners, the intrigue. i hope popularity won't change them, although i fear it has already begun to. (and between you and me, i am convinced the little sister is really black...)

  2. I'm so with you on "Treme," Glenn. Couldn't bear to watch it after two or three episodes, all that self-identifying going on around here. And that ridiculous T-P TV critic's exegesis every week! Puke! Stay cool, my man. Arthur

  3. Wow, thanks for the justification, Arthur. I remember trying to explain my feelings to some of "the congregation," but could never get through to them.

  4. Oh, I would love to see that little wood pile shaken up, too!


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