Getting in the Last Word
A Bad End for Badfinger

Television in Belize

Josh and Jazz are back from Belize, and they confirm all fears about Western influence.

Cable TV has hit the outlying villages. It’s pricey, but irresistible. People pony up the dough, and spend all their evenings, with family and friends, huddled around the flat screen. Homes are tiny in Belize, often just one room shacks. When nightfall comes, every window emits that flickering blue light that says: no one’s getting any sleep till prime-time’s over.

It’s like unleashing syphilis on the American Indians. The country folk have no natural immunity, and within two years, values that have been around for generations evaporate, replaced with TV values. Boy-girl standards of conduct realign to that of American TV. Kids sprout bandanas and hang out all night. Old folks, who used to be smart, are now seen as dumb…..just like they are on American TV……you don’t waste your time listening to them. You certainly don’t follow their ancient counsel. And if you want all the goodies they show on TV, then you need cash and you need it fast. Hard work in the fields, like the dopey old folks do, won’t cut it, but selling drugs on the street will, just like they do on CSI!

Here in the USA, we’ve all become accustomed , if not immune, to slutty blood and guts TV. It didn’t happen overnight. It took 60 years of gradualism. My wife and I rented some Dick Van Dyke sitcoms a few night ago ….the show was a favorite of the 1960’s. Dick wore a sweater and tie in his own house. Their bedroom featured double beds! If a  man and woman had to sit on the bed, rules-of-the-day were that one foot must always be on the floor. Yes, yes, I know. Today that would be a challenge for dreaming up new  kinky positions, but it wasn’t so then.

Imagine if you’d sprung CSI or Gilmore Girls on the I Love Lucy crowd. Wouldn’t the producers have been tarred and feathered? People wouldn’t have stood for it. It took two generations to gradually break down resistance…two generations of pushing the envelope, one tiny step at a time, to get to where we are now.

The third world, in contrast, is offered no such period of acclimation. Western TV is poured undiluted on an unprepared people, and the results aren’t pretty.

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