The Decline Of Western Civilization And The Destruction Of Life On Earth As We Know It -- Or Who Needs 500 Channels? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   The Decline of Western Civilization and the Destruction of Life on Earth as We Know it -

Or Who Needs 500 Channels?

by D. L., Stoughton, MA

The American scientist has a sorry life. He works six-day weeks, 14-hour days, and still has not come closer to his ultimate goal, leaving most of the general public heartbroken. No, he's not researching a cancer cure or an AIDS medication -- he's working on the 500-channel, interactive, high-definition television.

First, let me explain the lifestyle of this mythical beast. It invades the sanctity of the human den, then sets up a throne. Its ancestor, the TV, simply told humans what to do, but this critter is too highly evolved for that. It induces mindless spending by means of 100 home-shopping channels, and another 50 channels featuring commercials only. Once the unsuspecting viewer is convinced that he needs the new, improved deluxe mega-Chia Pet Plus, the loyal HDTV will call up the company, give it the viewer's credit card number, and order a Chia for him. If a viewer gets hungry, the beast will order a pizza -- or a whole grocery list. And if you find you have any free time, it will barrage you with 350 channels of mindless programming, such as the Joan Rivers channel and the Mating Habits of Mongolian Animals channel, all with CD-quality sound and laser disc-quality pictures.

What can be done to stop the spread of this horrid creature? And does the American public want it stopped? Maybe that's the whole problem. The average American Joe has turned into a mindless lump who just obeys what the television tells him. He is lured into the TV trap with the deceptive label of interactivity, but the only interaction is between the TV and the viewer's wallet. Don't be fooled! Every year, there's a Great American Smoke-Out. Why can't we have a Great American Unplugging, where we all shut off our TVs, VCRs, computers, Gameboys, etc. and slow down for a day? We can read a book or take a walk through a park. We can do anything, but most of all, we must turn off our TVs and get lives!


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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