2016: Short Attention Spans Only



Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) covered all the bases last night. Since I normally don’t watch that show, I had to watch the news on this morning’s Tuesday Today Show to arrive and that implicit conclusion from NBC’s report this morning on the presumed legitimate tackling, harassment, and post-trauma eloquence of contestant Ryan Lochte for his lead role as an Olympian swimmer in that “drunk-out-of-their minds” Telephone Road style alcohol hiccup down in Rio last month. – Was it for real – or was it staged for a boost in ratings for the 15-year old show that features celebrities who never really were big stars competing for the effective title of “best ballroom dancer” among a field of contestants who rarely did much, anyway, in other public-light endeavours”?

The Show Must Go On. The former peroxide blonde, now dark-haired and straight looking Lochte capped off the surprise attack on camera to confirm that the interruption of his performance by a burly-guy ballroom tackle would not stop him. “I plan to keep on dancing,” Lochte affirmed.

What a guy! And it wasn’t like DWTS really needed any additionally bizarre brands represented among their cast of contestants. We understand that already had a female physical dwarf as one contestant and political dwarf Rick Perry, the former Texas Governor and tw0-timer presidential candidate, in the fold. Lochte already was in the mix as America’s favorite ethical dwarf before last night. After last night, Ryan Lochte may even have another shot at solid gold viewer attention.

Ain’t life grand?

Every day now, I become more convinced that sport, movie, television, and political programming ascribes to a code that reads something like the following. To get any of these minimal-attention-demanding activities moving in the direction that serves the producer’s desire for money and power, the proposed sport, entertainment, or political package must fly by all ten of these questions with “NO” answers before it is created and presented to the American Public:

  1. Will viewers be required to think too much from the very start?
  2. Will viewers have to possess long attention spans of six seconds or longer?
  3. Will this production place substance of content as more important than instant entertainment?
  4. Will PTSD sufferers be warned that this production could be further hazardous to their mental, social, and cultural health?
  5. Will the production include any music with lyrics of discernible substance beyond sexual suggestion?
  6. Will pretty girls shooting tee shirts into the crowd during the event cause any of the crowd to leave?
  7. Will it matter that some of the old men coming to the official event that sanctions tee shirt shots will now only be coming because of the tee shirt girls?
  8. Will tee shirt shooting take place during performances of Hamlet? (Of course not. Hamlet will not be seen. It could not pass our “Ten Negative Answers Required” questionnaire.)
  9. Will live audience cell phones be banned during this presentation?
  10. Ibid, Pokemon hunts?


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas




3 Responses to “2016: Short Attention Spans Only”

  1. Rick B. Says:

    Further questions that elicit a NO answer:

    11) Will audience members be required to have an IQ over 50?

    12) Will the TV program require script writers?

    13) Is it a problem if the movie is no more than an adaptation of a comic book or a remake of an older film?

    14) Even though we’ve made sports, movies, and cable television so expensive that most people are complaining about the cost, will they stop consuming what we offer?

    I finally reallized that #14 is the one that I can do something about. As a result, we haven’t been to a single Astros game this year (the Skeeters are a pleasant and much cheaper alternative), we rent the few movies that are actually worth watching on Redbox (they come out on DVD quickly enough), we don’t have cable TV (I do miss the sports events I would see, but I can live without them, even the Astros games as it turns out), and we watch mostly old TV shows that actually have such things as characters, plot, and some actual entertainment value (thanks to several free “oldies” stations like ME TV).

  2. Bill McCurdy Says:

    Those are absolute must-add suggestions, Rick. Do you think we still have time to save the culture from falling into the abyss, if it hasn’t already breached the river of no return? 🙂

  3. Rick B. Says:

    I may become as unpopular as Colin Kaepernick for saying this, but I liken our culture to ancient Rome = rotting from the inside out.

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