Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Troubled technology company Yahoo, whose previous claim to fame was that it’s named after the stupid, brutish people in Gulliver’s Travels, is now getting into the television business. They announced this week that they’re commissioning two comedy series, and that they’re going to start streaming live concerts every day.

With this move, Yahoo joins the ranks of Netflix, Amazon, Google and every idiot with a phone and a YouTube account. Can it be that these companies have realized that, far from clamoring for new gadgets and Web sites, people really just want to watch TV? (Actually, most of the new gadgets and Web sites are designed for TV watching.) Humankind’s destiny is to evolve into recumbent blobs capable of absorbing massive amounts of televised entertainment, as depicted in Disney’s WALL-E.

Just look around. There are TV screens everywhere. In elevators. In every restaurant or bar. On airplane seats. On grocery shopping carts. In kitchens and bathrooms. I know a lot of parents who treat the TV as a pacifier for their kids, but who’s pacifying us?

Of course, not just anyone can create such crowning cultural achievements as “2 Broke Girls,” “Wipe Out” or “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” This kind of talent will be increasingly in demand. And while I’m glad to see new opportunities for creative people, the current milieu of thousands of channels, Web sites and download sources, all brimming with utter crap1, does not fill me with optimism.

1With a few notable exceptions.

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