Has Anybody, Ever…
IF YOU WANT TO BE AN INFORMED PERSON you have to pay attention to what is going on around you. You must be, to use the hip word du jour, “Proactive” and take the initiative to gather information and learn from it.
It’s not always easy.
I can think of two examples that sort of leaped out in front of me recently, like suicidal Terre Haute squirrels (Terre Haute – that’s French for, “Do you serve Tater Tots?”).
At 6:59 AM the other morning, just before they rolled over to the Today Show, the local TV station ran a short blurb about their obligation to provide X number of hours of Children’s Programming per week. They finished up by saying that they keep detailed records of their efforts and that those records are available for public scrutiny at the TV station offices during business hours, Monday through Friday.
Just “Come on down!”
My question is: Has anybody, ever, in the fifty year history of the station, showed up at their studios and asked to peruse those records on Children’s Programming? My guess would be – No.
I’m sure they keep lovely records and that they are in good order and quite readable, but who, outside of a few Speed Freaks who haven’t slept in weeks and are tired of counting the tines on all of the forks in their kitchen, and some guy who has an unnatural crush on the morning Weather Bunny, would ever consider driving the twenty-five miles down to the station to check on how often they air episodes of Barney the Dinosaur.
I can tell you right now – once is too many.
They keep those records strictly because they are obligated to per FCC regulations. I’d bet you a fried baloney sandwich that if someone did go to the station and ask to see those records the receptionist would be butt dialing 911 to have a SWAT Team hurry over before it all turned into a hostage situation.
Not even people who think of themselves as Children’s Programming Activists ever bother to actually visit a station to look at these records. They simply hack into the FCC computers and steal it all – the old fashioned way.
My other example of what you need to do to learn the story behind the story is much more familiar and doesn’t require a long drive.
If you go into most Fast-Food purveyors and look up at the menu on the wall you are likely to see some sort of “Nutritional Information” – usually a Calorie Count and the Salt or Fat load in the food items. It’s a start to being better informed – a start. Somewhere else on the menu board, probably in small print near the bottom, will be a message saying something like, “For complete dietary information on all our food choices, write to us at ‘Bite Me’ – 666 Coronary Bypass Avenue, Yada Yada City.”
Just like with the TV station records, I doubt that anyone standing in line waiting for their “Depth Charge Burrito” and Dr. Pepper is going to jot down that address so they can write to the Home Office of Taco Gastritis to get the full information on what they are about to eat. If they did know what was really packed inside that tortilla they might change their lunch plans.
There are all kinds of information and data out there on all sorts of things about which we should be better informed, but they don’t make it easy.
I should be better informed about things in my life, but I know that I’m not going to drive down to the TV station or write to the taco joint either. I’ve got other things which seem more pressing to me. Instead I will just try to brush away the big chunks that litter my life and hope that the little chunks don’t do me in.