Saturday, November 22, 2008

Broadcast Sports and I Won't Last A Day Without You

Little by little, free broadcast sports coverage is being taken away from the poorest segments of the Untied States population, and it looks like by the time we get through these dreadful single digit years, if you don't pay for cable TV sports specific networks, you will be shitouttaluck. I don't even care to look into digital broadcasting implications, as obvious as it is that all technological advancements are mostly about wringing even more money out of the masses of barely-able-to-afford-anything-anymore, especially food. But let's just say you decide to get by without food and want to be a sports fan. If you live in a city you can still go to a baseball game (as long as you're not in Boston), though don't pick that day to resume your diet, because a hotdog is $15 and a bottle of water is $5. You could save all year and maybe afford an NFL game, but pro basketball has long been affordable only to corporations. If you happen to have a TV, and actually LIKE Notre Dame, you can watch college football. By early next decade, however, the bowl games will be on cable only, and the Final Four are sure to follow that trend. If you have no TV, like me, you won't have to deal with all that digital conversion bullshit, but say you want to find some sports on the AM radio, like in the old days? Forget it!—though you may be lucky and find some so-called Christian bullshit that is so far out even Christians can't stomach it. Most of radio is now, however—as is most of broadcast TV—infomercials—and if you happen to be INSANE and enjoy infomercials, you must now endure commercials during your infomercials. There was a brief window where the Internet seemed like nirvana for sports fans, and indeed these days it's the only place I can find anything at all, but the golden age is over, and soon the Internet will be so gummed up with information gathering robots and animated commercials that it won't work at all. It's more or less there already. You can still get a newspaper, of course, if you have the patience to page through advertisements for the Internet to finally find a poorly written, uninspired article. I was thinking—what IS the opiate of the masses anymore? Is there still $1.50 a six pack beer?—because you sure can't afford cigarettes, taxed as they are in order to pay for the sports arenas that only the rich can afford to visit. What if they decide to tax lottery tickets, someone asked me, and they go up in price like cigarettes? Lottery tickets are ALREADY tax, I reassured them, the rich finding yet another way to tax the poor. I'm sitting here on a grimy Saturday wondering exactly how much it will take before The Revolution, or will there be no Revolution? If there is none, does it mean that the powerful have so totally learned how to control the not-powerful, that they have completely enslaved the—with little, malfunctioning electrical devices, to play with, and direct their anger towards—and the terror of the disappearance of all civil rights? Or are the powerless sitting back and waiting, doing the only subversive thing left that costs nearly nothing, reading books? My pessimism answered that question as you might imagine, and I found it necessary to take refuge in the only drug I have left to me, the Carpenters. Or more specifically, the song "I Won't Last A Day Without You." That song is so far beyond "one day at a time"-- it is pretty much a surrender of existence-- the only thing left is a glimmer of something once idealized as love. I mean, it's probably not even about another person-- it sounds like it could be an ode to a magical antidepressant drug, or maybe a commercial for a cheap, canned cocktail. I could dedicate my life to this song; maybe I have. It is the most compelling pop song ever written, and has the perfect verse and chorus combination, like a punch to the gut followed by punch to the face. But then, most weirdly is that horrible bridge, unimaginable, bad, and out of place--you know, "touch me and I end up singing"-- it's so wrong that it always makes me think about "improper" touching, if you know what I'm saying. I guess you could say it's like the thorn on a rose, but still, a thorn is one thing-- you don't see a human turd on a rose. And then there's that line, "When there's no getting over that rainbow," which I know is meant to mean when it's impossible to reach that world “somewhere over the rainbow,” but to me has always had a different meaning. To me, "no getting over that rainbow" means not getting over, as in not dealing with, not coming to terms with. It's like they're singing, “when you can't really find a way to deal with that rainbow, when you can't come to terms with it.” That's what makes this song, to me, magical, and it's exactly the best example I can come up with of how there might be a glimmer of hope in this fucked up, fucked up, fucked up beyond belief, world.