The Friday Morning Listen: Black Flag – Damaged (1981)

A few years a back, me and TheWife™ decided that our cable bill just wasn’t worth it. On most nights, we’d watch (or put on and sort of ignore) a few things on either the Food Network or maybe HGTV, all for a ridiculous sum of money each month. So we shut it off — much to the hilarious dismay of the Comcast sales person: Sales rep: “May I ask up why you’re discontinuing our service?” Me: “We don’t watch TV.” Sales rep: “Oh.” — and became “cable cutters.” It made perfect sense for us.

Our declining interest in television centered around a couple of areas, one of which was violence and death. I’m not about to go off on a “Oh, everything is so violent these days!”-type rant because let’s face it, there was plenty of violence on television back in the 60s and on through the 70s. It’s more that our reactions to it have changed. We’re just not interested. The tension that it produces is in no way entertaining. Decades of cop shows, lawyer shows and hospital shows have ruined those genres for us. We’ve had enough. We’re done.

A second (and completely unrelated) topic is the issue of romantic love and the clichés that surround it. While I do understand why writers will tease out the “Will they or won’t they?” plot line, the knee-jerk reaction to break the couple up as soon as possible is just pathetic. I’ve been told that the reason for this is that “conflict sells.” I get that, and surely that amps up the tension during the “Will they?” part of the story. But the template used these days is to find a way to put the couple in jeopardy as soon as possible. Heck, on some shows that happens during the same episode!

Are happy couples boring? I mean, me and TheWife™ are pretty danged happy. Also, very far from dull (in our own eccentric way). Is there nothing interesting to write about happy couples?

I suppose I’ll never get an answer. In the meantime, I’ll be watching documentaries about artists and writers. If I never see a car chase, stick-up, or “gritty” drama again, I’ll be a happy (and apparently boring) person.

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he writes several weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.