‘Toxic Fiction’ (2013)


Ooh-ooh! I wanna be a TV villain! I don’t have a show, but I can still be a villain!

Toxic Fiction

Many of you are way to young to remember Dallas, a red-hot hit of a TV show starring Larry Hagman as iconic antihero J.R. Ewing. J.R. captured the public’s imagination: the more evil he did, the more they liked him.

Well, we don’t need J.R. or Dallas anymore; we have real-life villains that make him look like a philanthropist, and the daily nooze coming out of the Biden administration puts Dallas in the shade. And unlike Dallas, it’s on every day, not once a week. J.R. was a saint compared to these stiffs.

4 comments on “‘Toxic Fiction’ (2013)

  1. “ If you put all those lies up on your stage, someday we’ll have them in our business.”

    I am Increasingly of the opinion that our era of constant entertainment plays a huge role in the decline of our civilization. Theater (which is now a constant part of everyday life for many people) is false by its nature. The reason is simple, if you made a real-time video of my everyday life, no one would watch it, because it would be too slow paced. If you selected a few highlights, the video might even be interesting enough to watch, but the video would now be inaccurate.

    Drama, and comedy, is by its nature, exaggerated. I remember the fictional character JR Ewing, and even watched a few of the early Dallas episodes, but I realize that this is a fictional character, and the the only things that the fictional character of JR Ewing “did”, were the things that the writers came up with. The shtick of JR Ewing was an extreme exaggeration of an amoral, self-centered character. At least at the beginning of the series, it was funny, but after just a few episodes! in my opinion, it went too far. The challenge for the writers is how to outdo their prior work. The law of diminishing returns mandates that character and plot development will tend to become more exaggerated over time.

    In my humble opinion, this can be deleterious to some of the audience, or at least be misleading, whether intentioned or not. In our era of easy video recording, this is a very common, because of the shear volume of video being produced. Even factual, documentary material can easily become exaggerated. The line between factual information and dramatization is blurry. There are presentations which straddle this line, by their very nature, such as docudramas and biopics.

    Many people take the medium itself as being authoritative. This might have been more valid many years ago, when there were three major television networks in the US, and getting anything on the air at a national level meant that one of these networks felt that it was worthy of their airtime. But nowadays, there are innumerable sources of video content and anyone with a video camera, or a smartphone for that matter, can become a producer of television content. I can make a video, upload it to YouTube or TikTok and present whatever I care to. It’s quite possible to present inaccurate information, just by making certain that the camera does not capture images we prefer not to present. A small event can be presented as a large event, just by making certain that the perspective is carefully controlled.

    “Factual information” can be manipulated to make a small demonstration seem to represent a majority viewpoint, even when it is actually limited to a small sector of the population. We only see what the camera is pointed at, and only what the editor chooses to include.

    When I became an adult, and established my own household, I quit watching broadcast television. I have seen very little television since my early twenties. Very soon after I quit watching broadcast television, I noticed that every time I was exposed to broadcast programming, I found it very distracting. By not being exposed to television programming, I lost the desensitization caused by watching television. This lesson was not lost on me. Essentially, television programming seeks to influence its viewers by a juxtaposition between presenting entertainment, with occasional interruptions for advertising.

    Distraction is a powerful tool in manipulating people, and a cornerstone in hypnosis. Broadcast television seeks to place its viewers in a highly suggestible state, because it makes advertising much more effective. Unfortunately, it also makes for a population of people conditioned to accept whatever they see and hear on television as authoritative. I believe that this is a major contributing factor in the situation we see around us, today.

    Consider the Amish, who avoid connection to the world at large. They are not anti-technology, and in fact make use of modern technology in many parts of their lives. But they do not want to be connected to the mainstream of this world. A faithful Amish person in the ‘80s, was unlikely t9 have ever seen JR Ewing, and quite possibly have never even heard the name.

    While I don’t agree with every aspect of the Amish beliefs, I admire them in many ways. The Amish seem to realize that the tide of this world is against Christianity, and have separated themselves from the mainstream culture. I’m not suggesting that we all be some Amish, but I think that they have the right approach when it comes to television and other forms of mass media entertainment.

    So I think that Solon was onto something.

    1. “Come out of her [Babylon], my people, lest ye partake of her plagues…” –Revelation
      Story-telling is as old as humanity itself; it may even be wired into our DNA. But there’s something unwholesome and weird about the way it’s being handled today.”

      Solon saw it coming.

    2. Exactly. I’m not against drama, or music, by any means, but like everything else, it has to be used properly. Using drama to conceal a political viewpoint is nothing new. Apparently, our fallen nature leads many people into being dishonest, in both our words and actions. This explains the phenomenon, but does not excuse it. We all have the responsibility to be honest, and I’m afraid that much of today’s entertainment wouldn’t measure up to a standard of honesty.

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