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SEEKONK, MASSACHUSETTS, United States

WHAT A SHAME- A look at the low points in the modern media.

PSEUDOSCIENCE ON TELEVISION- LOGIC AND THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD NEED NOT APPLY. PT 1.


Ufo, Alien, Alie, Futuristic, Science

Digging for answers.Before Cable Television and the creation of the Internet, most Americans had only a few choices when it came to T.V. Channels that could be tuned in at home.  At the time, there were the three major Networks and maybe a few local stations for the viewer to pick from.

The Networks naturally chose to produce those programs that would generate the most income, mainly by # of viewers.  Comedies, Action Shows, Medical Dramas etc., were common choices.  They all had one thing in common:  To Entertain, not to inform.

In those days shows about Science and the Natural World were few, and mainly relegated to certain stations. These would be broadcast at odd days and times, in the hopes of gathering acceptable ratings.  However, there were a few examples of shows that could generate public interest, even though they emphasized the educational nature of the subject matter.

Examples;

NOVA-  First broadcast in 1974, NOVA specializes in Scientific Documentaries that are thought provoking with excellent production values. Especially noted for its award winning writing and editing. 

COSMOS- (The 1980 version, hosted by Carl Sagan.  This is not meant to take anything away from the superb 2014 version hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson). I can think of no other show that was as instrumental in inciting public interest in any single branch of Science. (Cosmology).

WILD KINGDOM-  Began Broadcasting in 1963.  By tuning in, many children got their first look at exotic animals from around the World, living in a natural habitat. Sponsored by Mutual of Omaha, it made original host Marlin Perkins into a Cultural Icon.

Unfortunately, another show premiered in the 1970s, which would become the first of a long list of programs pretending to use the Scientific Method and Critical Thinking to evaluate controversial subject matter.  I am referring to the Leonard Nimoy hosted show "IN SEARCH OF."
See PT 2.

WHAT A SHAME- A look at the low points in the Modern Media. HUMILIATION TELEVISION; IT DOESN'T GET ANY LOWER THAN THIS. PT 1.


Bar, Pub, Drinks, Restaurant, Nightlife


Television is many things. It can be used to inform, teach and educate. 

However, let us not fool ourselves. It is primarily a business and profit is its’ ultimate goal. Those profits can be found in Televisions primary mission; to entertain.
                                              
Throughout broadcast history, T.V networks have provided a vast selection of different categories to entertain the viewing public.  Sit-coms, police and detective dramas, science fiction and soap operas etc. are examples of fictional or scripted shows.  News shows such as 60 minutes, 20/20, Dateline etc. are examples of non-fiction informative programming.  These can entertain, while at the same time providing useful and desired news and information.

In recent decades, “Reality T.V.” shows such as “Survivor” and “Big Brother” have entered the mainstream.  Focusing on a confrontational content that features supposed non-actors in contrived situations, it is generally a benign low-brow form of entertainment.   However, a new and disturbing form of reality televisionrhas sprung up.  Its’ popularity is a reflection on the dark nature that permeates today's society.  I call it “Humiliation Television.”

To illustrate, let me ask the following questions;

- When did subjecting oneself to insults and degradation publicly, and on camera, become a desired career path?

- Why is the need for some modicum of fame cause some people to lose any sense of self-esteem and dignity?

- Why would any one take seriously a show that claims to be unrehearsed, spontaneous and true to life, when it is obviously staged? Dialogue and actions done on camera are pre-determined by the producers to create an illusion of authenticity.

In following articles I will examine different types of these shows that make-up Humiliation Television.
(See PT. 2 in a future post.)


WHAT A SHAME- A look at the low points in the modern media. HUMILIATION TELEVISION; IT DOESN'T GET ANY LOWER THAN THIS. PT 2.



Musician, Rockstar, Band, Music, Rock

I would like to make clear the parameters of this article, regarding what programs are considered to be part of Humiliation Television.  These shows feature guests and situations that can either be scripted or true to life.  In some cases, it is the intent of the producers to mask the true nature of the show.  However, they all have this in common; the guests or antagonists are portrayed, through their actions, as contemptible human beings.  They are only to be looked upon as creatures worthy, at best, of pity or worse to be scoffed and laughed at. They have one other important characteristic; they choose, due to certain incentives, to make public their failings, bad decisions and improper actions.  This is done in the desire to “entertain” the viewing public.

The first type of reality show I would like to examine is the “Jerry Springer/ Maury Povich" category.  Yes, these shows have been around for a while, but in recent years have spawned a host of imitators.   I don’t include all talk shows (Oprah and Dr. Phil have their problems with authenticity and sincerity, but at least they attempt a semblance of caring about their guests).   This type of talk television doesn’t even attempt to realistically disguise their intent, which is to provoke physical and emotional confrontations among those appearing on the shows.

These programs are such trash, with repugnant guests and subjects that don’t merit any sort of constructive criticism.  How much of these shows content are real and not staged is unknown, but that really is beside the point. Removing and destroying any sense of shame and/or humanity among the guests is the order of the day.
(See PT. 3 in a future post.)
Date-8/5/2013.

Scroll down for future posts.



WHAT A SHAME- A look at the low points in the modern media. AN INTRODUCTION TO THE U.S. CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM- WHAT THEY DON'T TELL YOU ON T.V. PT 1.


Courtroom, Court, Courthouse

It is unfortunate, but most of the world seems to get their information about legal proceedings in the United States from what is transmitted over the air. ( Television and Radio).

However, these programs frequently distort reality, choosing to depict subject matter in the most shocking and emotional way that will bring in the highest ratings.  Often, this does not reflect the issues that will actually influence the lives of  all Americans.

The following articles will address a few misconceptions about this essential, but often misunderstood part of life in the U.S.

- The Jury system is designed to weed out the Racist, Bigot, Irrational etc.  In other words, anyone who cannot render a fair and unbiased verdict.

This may have been the goal, but in practice it is entirely untrue.  Peremptory Challenges that remove
prospective jurors without cause, Companies who specialize in researching the type of juror who will be predisposed to decide a certain way, and there being no evaluation to ensure that a juror is sound of mind, are just a few ways that send the concept of a truly impartial jury into the realm of mythology.  In fact, many criminal attorneys are evaluated by the ability to pick a jury that sympathizes with their case, even before a single word of testimony.

The above are the results of a system that is not designed to seek out truth above all else, but to encourage competition between two opponents, with the winner "Having the best game plan."

This leads us into part two, THE ADVOCATE.








WHAT A SHAME- A look at the low points in the modern media. TELEVISION: HOW DO I KNOW IF IT IS WORTH MY TIME? PT 1.


Cinema, Film, Movie, Theater


This is a Question that should be Simple to Answer. Shows that Promote Pseudoscience and Pseudohistory are Often Advertised in ways that are almost Comical and Satirical in Nature. 

However, should all Programming be Disregarded if Commercials about such Shows Indicate a Lack of Professionalism and/or Intellectual Discipline, with little regard for Proper Research Methods?

This Depends on the Type Viewing Experience that you want to have.


Suppose you want to be "ENTERTAINED" , WITH NO REAL DESIRE TO EVALUATE THE TRUTH OR REALITY OF WHAT YOU ARE SEEING.

WATCHING "TALL TALES", which are not meant to Impart Factual Data, but to ENCOURAGE "SUSPENSION OF BELIEF" AS A WAY TO ENJOY THE STORY, ARE THE BEST EXAMPLES OF THESE.  If this is Appealing to you, Tune In, and Treat it like an OLD FASHIONED "CAMPFIRE" STORY, WHICH IS NOT INTENDED TO BE A LEARNING OPPORTUNITY.


HOWEVER, IF YOU WANT TO MIX ENTERTAINMENT WITH AN EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY, AND VALUE THE "SUBSTANCE" OF WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO WATCH, THAN YOUR STANDARDS WILL HAVE TO CHANGE.

THIS IS WHERE THE HANDLING OF THE SUBJECT MATTER IS IMPORTANT. IF ATTEMPTS TO DECEIVE YOU INTO ACCEPTING BOGUS OR FAULTY INFORMATION AS FACTUAL OFFENDS YOUR SENSE OF INTELLECTUAL HONESTY AND INTEGRITY, THEN AVOID CERTAIN PROGRAMS COMPLETELY.



The Problem is: How can we KNOW?

Sometimes, the COMMERCIALS/TEASERS GIVE US A PRETTY GOOD IDEA. If not, the First Few Minutes, INTRODUCING THE SUBJECT,  AND THE HOSTS OR "INVESTIGATORS", MAY LEAVE SOME CLUES ABOUT THE MATERIAL THAT IS TO FOLLOW ON THE SCREEN.

CLAIM OR TEASER #1-  "THIS WILL REWRITE HISTORY"...OR..."THIS WILL SIT SCIENCE ON ITS HEAD."

Although I am not going to say that it is a CERTAINTY, ANY PROGRAM THAT USES SUCH DIALOGUE TO BEGIN THE EPISODE IS PROBABLY... 


WHAT A SHAME-  A look at the low points in the modern media. TELEVISION: HOW DO I KNOW IF IT IS WORTH MY TIME? PT 2.

Ufo, Spaceship, Science Fiction


...Just another CASE OF PSEUDOSCIENCE/PSEUDOHISTORY ATTEMPTING TO PASS OFF SLOPPY METHODOLOGY, POOR SCHOLARSHIP, MISSING OR POOR EVIDENCE, AND LOGICAL FALLACIES AS VALID ATTEMPTS TO EXPLAIN...

...JUST ABOUT ANYTHING. If there is one thing we can know for sure, when looking for BAD TELEVISION MASQUERADING AS "EDUCATIONAL", "INVESTIGATIVE", OR "GROUNDBREAKING, " IS THAT THEY ARE WILLING TO EXPLOIT, AND DUMB DOWN ANY SUBJECT IN NEED OF PROPER INTELLECTUAL INQUIRY, AS LONG AS THE RATINGS JUSTIFY THE ADVERTISING REVENUE.

So what should we be looking for, that will give us HINTS AS TO THE QUALITY 
OF THE PROGRAM BEING BROADCAST?  BELOW ARE A FEW EXAMPLES
OF NOT FOLLOWING THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD, OR THE RULES OF LOGIC.

CAN YOU SPOT THE FLAWS?

1)  "MOST UFO SIGHTINGS ARE SPACESHIPS, PILOTED BY BEINGS FROM         

OTHER PLANETS."

     "WITNESSES HAVE SEEN UFOS TRAVELING AT SPEEDS, AND                        
      MANEUVERING IN WAYS THAT NO MAN MADE AIRCRAFT COULD, 
       GIVEN OUR PRESENT TECHNOLOGY. THEREFORE, THESE UFOS 
       ARE FROM OTHER WORLDS."

2)  "SCIENCE CANNOT EXPLAIN WHY THE SHIP DISAPPEARED."
                                
                                         INSTEAD OF

     "THE CAUSE OF THE SHIPS DISAPPEARANCE IS UNKNOWN."

3)  "DO YOU THINK THERE ARE ANIMALS EXISTING ON EARTH TODAY, 
      THAT ARE UNKNOWN TO SCIENCE?  IF SO, WHY DO YOU DOUBT
      THE EXISTENCE OF BIGFOOT?"

      "JUST BECAUSE SCIENCE HASN'T CAPTURED A BIGFOOT, DOESN'T
        MEAN THEY DON'T EXIST."

TO BE CONTINUED.





WHAT A SHAME- A look at the low points in the modern media. THEY SAID...WHAT? ARE YOU SURE? PT 1.


Tarot, Cards, Magic, Fortune, Telling

As more and more of the information we get about Politics, Economics, Law, and Health Issues comes from Television, and not the printed word, a New Awareness must be recognized.  That is the Realization that News and Information on the screen is now Entertainment First, with Public Service a Distant Second.

I cover how this Affects; Current Events, Politics, Education, Science and General Knowledge in other Categories and Pages on this Website, and won't duplicate those efforts here.

The Purpose of this Article, is to point out some Common Assumptions, Irregularities, Misconceptions and Red Flags that will often indicate the Dubious Nature of Whatever Information is being Broadcast, regardless of the Subject Matter.

1) WATCH OUT FOR QUALIFYING WORDS AND PHRASES.

This is a Common Tactic by those who want you to think that they are; "EXPERTS", "WELL- READ", "IN THE KNOW", or part of the INNER CIRCLE that is in touch with the MOVERS and SHAKERS.

It is also the Bread and Butter of PSYCHICS AND FORTUNE TELLERS.

Listen carefully, when you hear examples like the Following:

-  "IT COULD BE A...."

-  "MAYBE IT'S..."

-  "SOMETIMES WE MUST..."
   "SOMETIMES WE SHOULD..."

-  "WE MIGHT BE ABLE TO..."

-  "A REAL POSSIBILITY THAT..."

-  "THEY MIGHT BE WILLING..."

-  "IT MIGHT END UP..."

I could go on and on.  Whenever Such Words or Phrases are used, it is an attempt to avoid the possibility of being HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR INCORRECT/INACCURATE INFORMATION, OR PROVIDES A WAY OUT FOR AN OPINION OR PREDICTION THAT FAILS TO COME TRUE.

These WORDS OR TERMS offer no real MEASURING STICK INDICATING PROBABILITY...
See PT 2.








WHAT A SHAME- A look at the low points in the modern media. PSEUDOSCIENCE ON TELEVISION- THIS IS ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE: MY STORY. PT 1.

Adler, Bird, Bird Of Prey, Raptor













I have used this term: ANECDODTAL EVIDENCE many times when referring to testimony provided by those who have used it to support such pseudo-scientific subjects as Bigfoot, The Loch Ness Monster, Alien Visitation, Demons., etc. Often, it is the only evidence offered in many cases.

ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE IS, ( MY DEFINITION)-  Individual Testimony, regarding a Personal Encounter with a Specific Phenomena. It can be Sight, Sound, Smell, Touch, Taste. In other words, the five senses. From this Event, the individual draws conclusions about the Identity of said Phenomena.

Unfortunately, such an encounter that is not backed up by any corrorborating evidence that can be properly observed, studied, or analyzed, to Identify the Reality or True Nature of the Subject under Speculation, leaves Science with little choice but to characterize the PHENOMENA AS UNKNOWN, WITH FURTHER STUDY NEEDED.

Now , I am not going to talk about previous incidents in which I was asked to offer an opinion, or investigate the experiences of others.  This is MY CASE OF OFFERING ANECDOTAL TESTIMONY.

Date- 10/11/2016.

Place- My Home. Specifically: Dining Room and Back Yard.

Time- Approximately 12:15pm. Weather- Partly Cloudy.

Sitting down at my Dining Room Table to eat lunch , I glanced out to the Back Yard, and saw a Large Bird alight upon a Bird Bath located about Ten feet from the Dining Room Window.  Although, by no means an Ornithologist, I had worked for a company that Manufactured, among other things, High Quality Binoculars, considered to be among the best in the World. (SWAROVSKI). So, I had developed a Mild Interest in Identifying Birds found in North America. Well, the appearance of this one surprised me...

See part 2.