Shame in America died a long time ago and I doubt very much that it will ever be re-born. To clearly date myself and to further the notion that this blog entry may just be the ranting’s of an old man; I think shame officially died when a major television network decided that the Morton Downey, Jr. show was appropriate for broadcasting. For those of you that don’t know, think of the Jerry Springer Show on steroids. Naturally, the dominoes began to fall as they do and then came the aforementioned Springer, (fill in the rest), and then jump to Snooki, Honey Boo Boo, et al. Along with Jazz and of course, Hip Hop, Television is probably the world’s most influential, uniquely American art form. The term popular culture might as well be replaced by American culture and that is in large part due to the influence of TV throughout the years and what have we evolved this great medium to? Flavor of Love and the other offerings by the geniuses at VH1, when I think about the kinds of things that I watched on TV growing up, I truly feel saddened for today’s generation. Social commentary like Good Times, All in the Family and Mash or even the silly bubble gum offerings like Happy Days that always offered up some moralistic theme (I was such a Fonzie fan until he “Jumped the Shark” and became Henry Winkler), are now largely gone from TV. And again, like the premium on grammar and shame, it’s doubtful that such shows will ever return. In a world saturated with competing media all vying for our attention, TV like newspapers and other print media, is struggling to remain relevant and so in order to do so it will continue to produce shows that shock and tantalize rather than educate or advance morality.
But that’s just how my brain works, a simple T-shirt can take me to places that no one would ever imagine that I’d ever get to. This former latchkey kid is indebted to the programming of 80’s TV because it challenged me to think and helped to nurture the imaginative blogger that now sits in front of this keyboard. When the fun was on channel 5 and that “Bill was sitting on Capitol Hill” you were at least getting more than just “Pulp.” I could go on teasing your memories of TV and hopefully spark your own inspirations of days gone by and get you riled up about this and that and the other thing, but I know for many of you the question remains: where the hell is Hak’ going with this? Well it’s simple really, to keep it in the TV theme I guess I’m having a “Network” moment, you know: "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" When you have a mind like mine and you are thinking about things that are gone in this country you inevitably arrive at the fact that 17 year old Trayvon Maritn and many other young black men like him are gone. And more often than not their killers have gone free. And so today, I resolve to not let anything that I deem important get a pass. Not f#@&ed-up grammar, not shameful behavior, and certainly not injustice. At the very least I will shout out the window a la Network, or get on this Blog and let somebody here my rant about it. As folks gather in my former home, DC to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, I think it behooves all of us to rededicate ourselves to make sure that fewer things we value are lost in our lifetime.
Peace I’m gone!