Graduation Present

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It’s graduation time, and commencement speakers all over the country are exhorting high school and college seniors to stay involved and do what they can to improve the world.

Of course, to change the world, you have to know what’s going on, so I read newspapers. Sometimes I despair about the younger generations. Old as I am, for me that’s GenX, GenY, the Millenials, maybe even the Pepsi Generation. These days, they get most of what they know from TV or blogs.

If they are in the forefront of Generation Next, that means the Daily Show, which they see as hard news. If you catch the Daily Show on an average night, you probably know why Mitt Romney lost the last election. If you’ve never watched, you are probably out of touch with tomorrow’s leaders.

Of course, most young folks are not watching the Daily Show, they are watching the lamestream media. The lamestream may include the original three networks, but these days, it is most assuredly led by FOX. Talk about unbalanced! This addiction to TV might be excusable if Generation Next was watching the 6:30 news shows on the lamestream. Unfortunately, too many are just watching reality shows.

The term “reality show” is one of the great oxymorons of our day. Truth be told, reality shows have nothing to do with reality. Try watching “The Real Housewives of Orange County” and tell me if you really know any people in OC who are rich, glamorous, yet incredibly stupid, all at the same time.

You are probably asking how I stay current on this subject. Well, it only takes about 10 minutes to scope out these shows. My wife claims I am slow and she can figure it out from the 30 second promos the stations run.

I’ll admit we had our share of mindless TV back in the day. Gilligan’s Island comes to mind. But we also had Laugh In, The Smother’s Brothers, All in The Family, The Jeffersons, Maude, The Golden Girls,  Edward R. Murrow, and Walter Cronkite. Don’t believe me when I include The Golden Girls? I caught a re-run the other night, and they were dealing with gay marriage–more than 25 years ago.

But our real saving grace before cable TV was that every household subscribed to newspapers and magazines. Teenagers might have started out reading the sports page or the comics, but Pogo wasn’t a bad segue to the headlines on the front page.

So if you’re looking for a good graduation present, think about giving a subscription to a good newspaper or magazine.


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