Watching Tivo While People Starve

The ReplayTV in our kitchen bit the dust this week. (ReplayTV is the Betamax of the DVR world.)  We struggled for a few days and then, despite our tight budget, bought a Tivo to replace it. It’s now one of three Tivo’s in our home.  For reasons not entirely understood by me, the purchase resurrected a thought that plagues me every now and then.

Our country spends millions upon millions of dollars to produce mindless, artless, totally trivial entertainment which we in turn spend millions upon millions of dollars per year to consume. What would happen if the money spent producing and consuming total garbage was redirected toward giving people in this country and others the minimum standards of a decent life, a roof over their heads and food on their table?

Believe me, I am not getting up on my high horse. I am quite selfishly unwilling to part with my six televisions and five DVR’s (not to mention VCR’s and DVD players). However, if the government told me that I would have to do without luxuries until everyone had a minimally decent standard of living, I would begrudgingly give in, knowing it was for the better good of all concerned.

I’d like to know your reaction. What would you say if the next President of the United States called a press conference on the day after his inauguration and said:

Effective immediately, I am ordering the shut down of all TV and movie production studios. I am also ordering the discontinuance of all industry devoted to pure entertainment. The money previously used for these purposes will henceforth be redirected to housing and feeding the poor in this country and all over the world. Luxuries will resume when every American and every world citizen has a home and adequate food to sustain a decent life.

How would you react? I await your comments.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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11 thoughts on “Watching Tivo While People Starve

  1. What if you have been given everything you have so that you can share some of it with others in the world in some way? What calls to you out in the world that is one small thing you can give to with either your time, energy or money? I have 2 Tivos and enjoy movies, also books, and I have a lending library from which I can give good books away to people. If you begin to notice where your thoughts go and what calls your heart, you’ll find something or some corner of the world you can make better. We are each presented with opportunities to bless others whose lives cross our path all the time–even if it is just a smile. Begin by looking and see what it is you can do at home first with your family, then your close community, then later something larger than yourself if you’re called. The rewards in just being a really kind, conscious, and attentive father, cousin, husband or friend is just the beginning. We are each not meant to save the whole world at once, just to improve our little patch of it beginning at home. Blessings.

  2. I am considering a world in which that could happen. We suddenly find out we have elected an American Mugabe.

    Were that to happen … I would publicly recant every position I had ever made in the interests of peace. I’d volunteer to help the unfortunate just about any where and every where.

    Then, being quite a bit smarter than Timothy McVeigh, I would begin waging a guerrilla war against the US with the confidence that I could kill hundreds prior to capture.

    I’m too old for regular soldiering.

    I can derail a train with homemade thermite. I can turn a propane canister into a thermobaric bomb so I make some real kick ass IEDs.

    I happen to know a guy who home makes fully automatic firearms and then buries them against just such a day as you describe. He test fires them before packing them in grease in capped PVC tubes on his 15 acre wooded lot. He’s a bit of a nut. I know OF a second guy who does the same kind of thing. No Sh*t, Rutherford.

    It goes without saying that I would take the random opportunities to kill liberals. It would suck to be you because there is somebody just like me living near you.

    I’d start picking off Muslims, too, because I know who I’ll have to fight after defeating the US.

    I wouldn’t wait to see if the President were impeached.

    It would be unlimited civil war. That’s what would happen.

  3. ChenZhen, I suppose it is a communist or at least socialist idea. I wasn’t really focused on the equal distribution of wealth (although that is inherent in what I wrote), I was more focused on the sense of social responsibility. Why is it that no society, to my knowledge, has found a system that guarantees a minimally decent life for all its citizens? Socialism sounds good on paper but does not translate when applied by humans.

    I think that Patricia has proposed the only humanly possible solution which is for each person to help even the playing field in their own little way. But honestly, it isn’t enough is it? There are countless charitable organizations and scores of philanthropic individuals and yet millions still suffer and starve. While they starve, Richard Roeper talks about what a cinematic achievement “The Dark Night” is, a movie that took millions to produce. There is a social disconnect there. I don’t blame Roeper. He has to make a living. Just seems to me that we spend our time on stuff that ultimately does not matter in the whole scheme of things. My post asks whether forced social responsibility is the only answer.

    By the way, Patricia, I’m flattered that you chose to speak about my thoughts on your blog. Thank you for your consideration and your contribution here.

    Ecclesiastes, clearly the idea of a change in social priorities did not appeal to you. I infer that at the center of your objection is the assumption that a malevolent dictator would be the ringleader of such a social change (i.e. your Mugabe reference). While I hate to fall back on the “What Would Jesus Do?” cliche, I’ll ask you. Wouldn’t Jesus if he were to return tomorrow, advocate just such a change in social priorities? Your reaction only confirms my suspicion that if Jesus were to make an appearance today, preaching true love of fellow man, he’d be killed before he got his first sentence out. But I digress. Do you believe that providing everyone with a minimally decent standard of living is a goal not worth pursuing on its own merits, or a goal not realistically obtainable, and therefore not worth pursuing?

  4. Rutherford,

    I am all for charitable works. What you are proposing would mean the deaths of over a billion people and we’d be lucky if it were less than 4 billion.

  5. Mugabe didn’t get elected by proposing starvation, disease, and ruin. He got elected on a platform that sounded exactly like what you are proposing.

    It always ends up looking like Zimbabwe, or the USSR, or South Africa, or North Korea, or …

  6. What would Jesus do?

    Although post #19 on the prior thread was directed to Wickle I will expand on it for you.

    The scriptures are sacred to me. I will not debate them. I will not proselytize. I’m not going to try to ‘save your soul.’

    Addressing Jesus strictly politically, he said:
    1 – give the government what is due to it,
    2 – stay out of court,
    3 – the poor will always be with us and trying to eradicate all poverty was foolish, and
    4 – stone the adulteress.

    Read it yourself.

  7. They can have my home entertainment system when they pry the remote from my cold, dead hands!

    But seriously….

    “Effective immediately, I am ordering the shut down of all TV and movie production studios. I am also ordering the discontinuance of all industry devoted to pure entertainment. ”

    This would be devistating to the American economy. The revenues lost to advertising would be tremendous. Communities that are based around sports and entertainment facilities would fail. Hundreds of thousands of jobs would be lost in the entertainment sector, possibly getting in the millions.

    Not to mention the tax revenue that would be lost when companies in the various industries effected packed up and moved to a non-socialist country.

    To answer, “How would you react?” I can’t give that an honest answer other than I would be very disappointed.

  8. Rutherford,

    I should explain my thinking, because I’m reading something that I don’t believe you intended to write.

    You are proposing a US where the President can sweep away the first, second, and fourth amendments, and all property rights by executive order.

    Let me propose an experiment.

    My preferred charities are:

    The Harrison County Children’s Shelter,
    The Boy Scouts of America,
    The Salvation Army.

    I order you to give $10,000 to each of these. You are forbidden to give any money to anyone, including family. You will not buy anything except what I deem necessary for your own consumption.

    I will maximize your contributions to these worthy causes.

    It’s not for me. it’s for the children.

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