Seek out the si­lence

Austin American-Statesman - - OPINION -

An­other mer­chant — a bar­ber — has lost my busi­ness. And it’s un­for­tu­nate, be­cause my hair and I are in the mar­ket. I’d love to hand some­one money to man­age what fiber re­mains on my head, but I won’t sit there and en­dure a forced march through the brain of Glenn Beck in the process.

That was the case the other day when my locks were placed in the care of a gen­er­ally com­pe­tent cut­ter, and the rest of me had to join a stu­dio au­di­ence bathing Beck in starry gazes.

Since the bar­ber has no no­tion that such an im­po­si­tion would be ex­cru­ci­at­ing to many, I won’t be back.

In how many places have you, a cap­tive au­di­ence, been so ex­ploited? To whose twitchyeyed, mar­ket-driven in­doc­tri­na­tion where you ex­posed: Bully Bill O’Reilly? Pretty boy Sean Han­nity?

Hav­ing Fox News crow­barred past my eye­lids has hap­pened while giv­ing blood, while down­ing a burger, while wait­ing for a physi­cian.

You may love said ex­po­sure, and good luck with that.

You might say that when I get my hair cut I want TV news that fits my lib­eral slant, like CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, PBS, BBC, all of those.

Ac­tu­ally, no. When I get my hair cut, I don’t want to watch oil be­ing belched from the brine, or soc­cer fans los­ing their minds, or even the face of LeBron James scratch­ing his beard about all the hub­bub.

The fact is, I just want my hair cut. I don’t want the TV on at all.

The im­po­si­tion of tele­vi­sion has be­come one of the in­for­ma­tion age’s most an­noy­ing and coun­ter­pro­duc­tive con­di­tions. For one thing, in most cases the tele­vi­sion peek­ing in over your lunch part­ner’s shoul­der can’t be heard. And if it’s loud enough to be heard, it’s in­trud­ing into ev­ery con­ver­sa­tion.

Air­ports are the worst abet­tors, and the most prob­lem­atic since air­ports are gen­er­ally more serene than the av­er­age res­tau­rant. And peo­ple have a longer time to be cor­doned off in an in­for­ma­tion tun­nel supplied by a cable net­work. Yes, gen­er­ally it’s CNN, not Fox. But as clear-headed and agenda-lack­ing as CNN may be, it’s still of­fen­sive.

I want si­lence. I want to read. I want to think.

How many of you out there have sought refuge from TV’s in­ces­sancy in an air­port or hos­pi­tal wait­ing room? I know I have (some­times hav­ing to move again be­cause some­one three seats away wanted to share busi­ness or in­ti­mate life de­tails with the per­son in his cell phone ear­piece.)

Hav­ing a mu­sic video in­stead of news does not make un­re­quested TV less in­tru­sive. I’m no fan of Brooks and Dunn, sorry. You wouldn’t want me mak­ing your mu­si­cal se­lec­tions, ei­ther. Talk­ing Heads, any­one?

Sports is prob­a­bly the least ob­jec­tion­able thing to have on the screen, and is some­thing that peo­ple can tune out more eas­ily if they de­sire, say in a res­tau­rant. Still, what­ever hap­pened to si­lence and eye con­tact?

My point: Be you a mer­chant, air­port man­ager, doc­tor, me­chanic, what­ever pub­lic/pri­vate space you com­mand, let me choose what chan­nel my brain is on. You have no right to be fin­ger­ing my re­mote.

More peo­ple need to start com­plain­ing about this. In a place where I’ve do­nated lib­eral amounts of blood, I in­formed the staff that if I was go­ing to bleed for the greater good, I would not do so lis­ten­ing to a Fox News rightwing foot sol­dier

And if no one lis­tens to you, or can’t hear you over the TV, walk out.

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