Feel The Bern: TV is Dead
Enjoy the fresh air

My wife and I like to shop at the $5 and $10 movie bin at Wal Mart.  Recently, she bought a season of the old school Mission: Impossible TV show.  We noticed some things from our Sixties time warp:

  1. Only people displaying a particular style were allowed on TV.  All men were clean shaved (except baddies) and wore short hair with a part.  They wore suits in public, and sweaters in private.  Women always wore high heels and evening gowns. 
  2. Children are not seen.
  3. People from the sixties drank like fish and smoked like chimneys.

                I'd like to talk about point no. 1:

                Back in the 90’s where I’m from, I remember high school being one tsunami of style or culture after another.  The Tommy Hilfiger and Abercrombie phases were particularly dominant.  Then there was the baggie jeaned skateboarder look, the baggie jeaned NWA look and so forth. 

Most of this came from MTV.  Everyone watched it, and it created a collective consumer consciousness that drove teenagers insane with style greed.

                What are my kids watching? 

                My son likes to watch a British Minecraft Youtuber build virtual stuff.  He also likes the Crazy Russian Hacker, a Russian-Oregonian Youtuber who does science experiments and other cool things in his basement. 

                My wife likes Facebook.

                My daughter likes Youtube.

                I like Seattle Sports Insider. 

                We don’t have cable.  We don’t subscribe to a newspaper.  We don’t subscribe to any magazines.  The only entertainment we will spring for are blockbuster movies, books, or video games.  We are the new normal.  Everyone I know is doing the same thing.  Televised sports are the only thing that people watch on live TV.  As a result, commercials have zero influence on American culture.  TV is dead.   It was killed off sometime in the last five years but its death started with TiVo.

With no TV to tell people what is cool, style has become a hodgepodge that hasn’t been seen since the Wild West.  You are just as likely to see a kid wearing a tucked in plaid shirt as you are to see a kid wear his pajamas into a store.  My kids have no brand loyalty to Nike, Reebok or Sketchers.  My kids don't see any style of dress as uncool.  Would it surprise any of you to see someone walking down the street in a gladiator suit? 

                This is not the world I grew up in. 

                Then posters LR and Rick have a discussion that turned this lightbulb on for me:

If Bernie or Cruz or whoever uses a free public medium to communicate his/her ideas, and it RESONATES with people on such a large scale, then that candidate has in effect spoken directly to the people. Democracy. - See more at: http://baseball.seattlesportsinsider.com/blogs/kk/konspiracy-korner-feel...

Says LR.

            Billionaires created a system that allows a guy with a Honda Civic hybrid, smartphone, and HDTV to run rings around them in financing a campaign. For free. He doesn't have to spend a dime on advertising. So..that makes who corrupt? Nobody is corrupt, and rich billionaires are not "rigging campaigns". They are forced to sit back and watch an old socialist use their infrastruct to fund his campaign. Free advertising that beats paid advertising, and even beats public financing without facebook. 

Bernie posts a meme and instantly the whole world gets it, and moves it along. How is that inferior to TV advertising, which expensive, and can't be passed along?

- See more at: http://baseball.seattlesportsinsider.com/blogs/kk/konspiracy-korner-feel...

Says Rick. 

                They were arguing about something else, but their consensus was the interesting point.

                The loss of elite media has created effects that go way beyond clothing and toys.  While this is worrisome, as it provides a way for a lowbrow WWE type candidate, like Donald Trump, to flourish, there is something great here as well.  The Vanderbilts, and the Kennedys,  the Bushes and the Clintons are out.  If advertising is free, and has minimal effect when it is not, then money cannot buy the American vote.  I don’t want to live in Sweden or Idiocracy*, but it feels like an old cancer has been removed from the United States. 

                The future has been somewhat disappointing, as I was promised easy living and a hoverboard, and I got student loans, a dryer that argues with me about the lint screen and computers so small they are in constant danger of being run through the wash.  But this, seeing a generation that isn’t brainwashed by commercials, this I can sink my teeth into.  TV is dead.  Feel the Bern.


    *Idiocracy is a vulgar dystopian future movie by Mike Judge where everyone is stupid, and the president is a pro wrestler who shoots an FAL over the heads of Congress when they get out of line.  I think Donald Trump’s potential presidency might be kind of like that. 



My main hope in my posts was to consider new paradigms. To be honest, my original post was going to merely point out that Sanders' campaign complaint was "ironic" - but went full board and used "phony" to stick with terminology Doc used in his original question. In retrospect, I felt it was a mistake and unduly turned the discussion into something more acrimonious than I intended. 

my greater desire was to provoke some new thinking, and man, you offered it in spades with your fascinating post. Thanks!

lr's picture

but I think it's a bit off the mark to suggest brand loyalty doesn't exist anymore or that kids don't see ads. Tv ads have been replaced with internet ads, and I don't suspect Under Armour and Nike are giving Steph Curry and Kevin Durant 100's of millions of dollars out of the kindness of their heart :)

I think we're on the way to killing the influence of money as it pertains to having an edge in advertising in the politcal world, but we haven't arrived there just yet. Bernie still has to raise tons of money to stay competitive in terms of ad exposure separate from internet coverage. Difference being his comes from the people directly.

(Bet your kids do have a sense of cool or uncool. As an experiment, throw on those baggy skater jeans from high school with the baggy Nirvana tshirt. See what they have to say lol)


:- )  Had the same thought LR.  But then again, Mojician did put TV sports in its own category.

I'd kind of like to know the resolution of this paradox:  that TV and newspapers are shrinking in resonance, but some $$$ metrics continue to spiral upward and outward.


In my experience, the sk8rboi jeans with an Avril Lavigne shirt would fly, or not, depending on whether the KID was cool.  Based on what I see at Hot Topic, you could just as well wear a Him logo or Betty Boop or both, on top of your bondage pants.


That had me laughing out loud.  In my mind, the kid you are talking about had dyed black hair with a purple streak and some stainless face jewelry.


The cheap steel cheek piercing with 40-weight motor oil in your hair, and the 1950's look with Hanes T-shirt and totally unpretentious haircut, are the two looks that cannot be suppressed.  I knew a kid once who went back and forth.  No lie.

lr's picture

Matthew Mcconaughey is doing Lincoln commercials, Drake prefers Sprite, Sofia Vergara Diet Pepsi, the list goes on. People watch the Voice, American Idol, the eleven iterations of CSI, people are watching TV. Just not as much by our or our kids generations.


Maybe its wishful thinking to say that TV is dead.  Maybe its just in remission.  But the Tomatometer has rated fresh lately.  It would be fresher if Hillary dropped out of the race.

lr's picture

Couldn't agree more. Am longing for the day when the average voter recognizes and quarantines politicians of Hillarys ilk. We're getting closer, but boy do I wish the pace would pick up.


Like watching five convergence lines mesh at the island on Lost.  A lit prof could make twelve PowerPoint slides out of the technique there Mojo.  :- )

Quite a read.


You had me at "plaid shirt."  One of my 15-year-old friends ... when I was 45 and him 15, that is ... wore a flannel shirt like that, frizzy hair over his face like Thing from the Munsters, was rapturous over Queen and Donnie Darko.

Most young people I know are not self-conscious about what they prefer in music, movies, clothing and culture.  They do what they like.  This may be one of the great virtues that came out of the New Chaos...


Is Seattle Sports Insider a reflection of the new eclecticism?  ;- )  If so, Dr. D knows a few AARP members around here who are as free-spirited as the teenagers...


Yep.  SSI is an eclectic site, denizened by eclectic people.  Its nice to see a generation of kids turn out the way you are.


Your pivot point there Mojo, the fact that Everyman has been equipped with a microphone, is one of the few things that brings me hope amidst the chaos ... thanks for making the point in such a provocative way ...


To the extent that Sanders is "using Facebook" to run for the Presidency, we're all glad.


To the extent that a very well-to-do, powerful American white guy should rail against the System, he comes off like James Cameron or Michael Moore preaching against Hollywood ... while sipping a Chardonnay at a Hollywood party.  

Always hits me wrong when any American with a smartphone in one hand, and a latte in the other, marches down the street wearing a sandwich board protesting the Man.  There are people in want in this world, y'know.


Marvel and Disney still have total command and control over children.  The OP is incorrect to suggest that something hasn't filled the void.  Kids literally wear their Marvel costumes to school now and teachers increasingly have to take away their light sabers in class.  LOL


;- )

And it gladdens Dr. D's heart to see comic books take over the big screen.  Movies have always been about escape fiction.  Why not surrender to the flow?

There was never an amigo who knew more about Batman than me, by the way.  In my 50's, I can still get way lost in a Detective comic.  I may go to the Dawn of Justice movie eight times, if they do it right.


Our youngest daughter's first clearly audible word was "Batman." No foolin'. In 1989 Michael Keaton starred as in the first Batman movie not directly based on the TV series. MacDonalds had a promo going giving away free Batman mugs with a purchase. On a Saturday morning, my wife and I took our two daughters to MacDonalds for breakfast, and when our youngest saw the mug, before she had ever said Mommy or Daddy she clearly and repeatedly said, "Batman."


And on that note, I propose we shut down the blog.


I'm just saying...the death of TV is not going to stop our concern for social memes, trends, fashions etc.  The kids do still have standards for what is cool and what is not...they're just different.

And I agree...the comic book movies are the best thing that has happened in Hollywood in its long and entertaining history.  They are allowing real political discussion again, for example - where conservative, libertarian, liberal and leftist philosophies are being aired out in the middle of escapist fiction in nearly-equal measure and people are getting to think for themselves again.  No more McCarthy-era blacklisting, no more radical leftist (cultural Marxist) PC thuggery.  Just tell a good story and consider all viewpoints. :)

By the same token, conservatives these days hail the arrival of alternative media and the collapse of the TV dynasties because it is giving more ideas playing time...including theirs (for the first time since the Reagan era).


I've been to more Avenger and Frozen themed birthday parties than I can count.  Went to an Ariel birthday party last Saturday.  The mermaid has been top of the six year old charts since 1992 or so!  I'm going to start buying the birthday boy/girl slingshots and puppies so my kids will quit being invited to those things. 


Now that you bring it up, I wonder how much time Disney spent designing Ariel and Belle images that would span decades.  Hmmm.

It sounds trite, but in clothing, Giorgio Armani has a well-deserved rep for designing things that look hip today and will be still be fine in 30 years.  ... Elton John songs.  ... Wade Miley's repertoire. ... trial lawyers.


The very best Disney Princess I've had the joy to watch since Cinderella is Rapunzel in Tangled. Seriously, folks, it's a very good and enjoyable movie. Laughed all through it, and it's chilling in places as well in true Disney fashion.

Treat yourself and rent it for a date night. Skip Frozen - well, at least be sure your little Princesses see it, and remind them often of it when Mr. Right comes calling  for her heart.

M's Watcher's picture

It seems Sanders has made progress with his 3 million donors vs the PAC money of the others, but the victory isn't complete unless he actually wins the election.  It isn't enough to just be competitive, or to get Hillary worried, or force her to spend more in the primary season than expected.  


For Sanders personally, if (when) the machinery finally succeeds in blocking him, I could see him fading into oblivion and ... don't know how many years he (or I or you) has left till the end of the line.  So, can definitely relate to this comment Watcher.

Although, in terms of posing a *threat* that must be reckoned with ... in terms of changing the landscape ... not so sure what the ramifications will be of his and Trump's bull-in-china-shop acts.


And maybe that indeed suggests the "game is rigged." But let us remember that we all have one vote, and it can't be bought sold or transferred. So if Billionaires control the system, then what we are really saying is that, while we aren't controlled, because we are smart, THOSE people over there are sheep, and THOSE people are being manipulated by "the rigged system."

So, I suggest these careless words about rigging and manipulation be fleshed out from now on. Tell us, Bernie. Who is not voting for you because Billionaires have rigged the system? Me? Is my conservatism merely based on the power of money? Kansas? I've heard that one before. Do point out the gullible rubes for us. 

Bernie's failure will have a built in excuse. That is what I love about Billy Beane, and I have favorably compared Bernie to him. Billy will never complain about the Yankees rigging the system. He will use his form of ju jitsu to beat the system.

added: However,  mark my words here. If Bernie enters the convention with a clear and indisputable majority of the Democratic Party vote, and if the machinery denies him the nomination, it will do so at great peril to itself, and will face a landslide loss throughout the election: Presidency, Congress, etc.. There are built in protections to Democracy. 

lr's picture

but they can be INFLUENCED. You keep skirting around this simple truth. When one entity, a corporation or union or somesuch, can pour as much money as they want into advertising for a candidate, their voice is amplified 10,000x to voters across the country. It's a direct correlation. This influences peoples opinions. You are essentially calling the "riggers" idiots, because you claim this tactic doesn't work, that it doesn't affect the outcomes of elections. So people like the Kochs, who have amassed $50 billion between them are flushing $889 million down the toilet this election cycle for no reason at all? They're just delusional old men? Think about the implications you're making.

I get you support CU, am not going to argue any longer whether you should or shouldn't. We are all entitled to our opinion. But supporting it does not mean you get to hand wave the effects of the decision. It's like saying I support the Keystone Pipeline, and when someone raises the environmental issues attached to it going no, that won't happen.


LR, I am going to assume, based on your strenuous support of Sanders' rigged election line, that you are pro-Sanders. If I am correct, then tell me which voting blocs in the Democratic Party are being unfairly influenced by billionaire money. I recently read that George Soros gave Hillary $6 million. Who is he Influencing? Blacks? Feminists? Government based Labor Unions? Teamsters and non Government service labor unions, upwardly mobile singles and dinks? Gays? Teachers? 

lr's picture

My argument from the beginning is that CU, which allows unlimited donations from corporations and unions is bad for the democratic process and thus the country as a whole.

Let's do a sample exercise. Say a TV ad that will get seen by 5 million people in Florida costs $100. Say the average donator can afford to give $1. It takes 100 people to make one ad in support of one candidate. Now along comes Soros. He drops off a check for $10,000. His ONE voice can produce 100 ads. The message Soros or Charles Koch or David Geffen advocates for isn't the point I'm driving at. The point I'm driving at is that those individuals have, by law, 10,000 times the ability to influence people by supporting one candidate or the other because they have the most money.

Whether Hillary (wait, forgot, Super PAC's aren't controlled by the candidates wink wink) takes that $8 mil and makes an attack ad, makes an ad about feminism and her mother, makes an ad about teachers unions, makes an ad about marriage equality, that isn't the point.


Read through this and tell me high cost TV and digital ads don't matter. The projected $4.4 billion to be spent on TV ads alone this cycle suggests otherwise.

An estimated 87% of people over the age of 18 are exposed to political TV ads.



But they've been neutralized by free media. Free media owned by billionaires. If you aren't able to use free media, you darned well better have money to spend.

20 facebook friends actively forwarding Bernie memes is likely a more effective way to spread the word than thousands of dollars spent on TV ads. There is a multiplier effect as 20 becomes 400, 400 becomes 8000, 320,000, etc.

As enthusiasm grows, Bernie gets more free media as he appears on TV shows, SNL, debates.

Now you begin to collect money online, and looky here! So much money rolling in you can go ahead and do ad buys. And it's easy to raise: click here, insert credit card number. And share that you did so with your friends with another click. 

lr's picture

obfuscating my point intentionally or unintentionally. Either way, I've made it half a dozen times and you always counter with "Bernie is crushing it on Facebook, therefore, billionaires have no effect." If that were the case, WHY ARE BILLIONAIRES STILL DUMPING BILLIONS OF DOLLARS INTO THE PROCESS?? Lord almighty. Read the link I sent or don't. This conversation seems like a dead end either way.

I apologize for coming across a little gruff, but it's frustrating making a specific argument over and over and getting the ring around the rosy treatment.


Then quote ME. Don't put a bogus sentence in quotes and say it's what I say. 

Read my last post, which is where I tell you exactly why billionaires spend billions. "If you aren't able to use free media, you better have a lot of money to spend."

Quote that line. I guess you didn't understand it. Billionaires don't have the same ability to use free media. They have to astroturf it (instead of grassroots), and AstroTurf is not as effective as word of mouth.


As in baseball, the old guard takes time to adjust to new realities. But please take note that the big winners tonight LIVED on free media.

New reality: WE are the media. (Roll over Mcluhan).

lr's picture

Do billionaires have an effect on elections? Yes or no. Rank the effect these donors have on the outcomes of the next election: your $2,700, my $2,700, George Soros $8 million. If you are claiming my paraphrase of your argument is rubbish (which we both know I wasn't quoting you directly) I see that as you accepting my initial point which is that billionaires and the billions they put behind candidates influence elections. Ten out of ten other posters in the thread would agree with that point.

You keep arguing that people are finding ways around it with the Beane analogy. I haven't once disagreed with that. I understand that. But you have to understand, when you liken Sanders to Beane, and the corporate donors to the Yankees and Dodgers, implicit in this example is that the latter has a historical advantage. Beane took over in 1997. Since then, the Yankees have 4 Rings. Beane, 0. I don't want to get bogged down in this analogy because I don't think it's all that compatible with what we're talking about. But since you used it, I figured I might point out that particular flaw.

Billionaires don't have the same access and right to Facebook and Twitter as Marco Rubio?


As a Conservative, I no longer complain about media bias. I suggest liberals similarly grow up, put on their big boy pants, and take a lesson from the candidacy of Bernie Sanders. Not his message, his work.

YOU are the media, and a whiny outlet at that, LR. You have had a platform that stretches across the entire world here to bore us with your complaint. Improve your message, and you too can expand your ability to effect the minds of millions, starting with this incredible blog Doc built with his limited resources. And here you are, sponging off his hard work to teach the world your nonsense. I suggest you give him a word of thanks, before he becomes a billionaire and you feel inclined to limit his buying power.


 maybe if you actually answered his questions we could all move on...

lr's picture

Insulting is easier than answering questions when you have to admit you're wrong in doing so. Anyone reading his non answers can see through the schtick.


You keep saying I say billionaires don't influence elections. Yes, they do. I keep telling you they do, and you keep telling me I say they don't. I keep telling you that, and you don't listen. It costs money to get your message out. Billionaires have created the ability to do it on the cheap. And it's more effective right now. Everyone who sells knows that word of mouth beats advertising. Hands down. I'd be out of business otherwise. 

If you will stop creating a strawman and calling it Rick, I will be happy to move this to another thread, as this one is impossible to read on a mobile device.


Actually Rick, if you'd been anybody else the last several notes, the mod would have admonished for tone.  So, gotta do it for the mod's bestie also.  

Let's stay cool and keep 100% confined to ideas amigo.  /reboot


Trump has his 30 percent, and they are die hards.  The other 70 percent has to coalesce around one man, or the GOP is going to have a serious problem.  The not Trump vote is strong, but it is being stretched too thin.  Party leadership needs to tap some of these guys on the shoulder and tell them to drop out.  If Trump wins the primary, he will brand the Republican Party.


I think the strength of Trump and Sanders, the wasted investments in Bush and the inability to winnow out the GOP field, is real evidence that the old party structure--on both sides--is crumbling.

And at the risk of being (bi-partisanly) snarky, I really don't believe that 'heavyweights' like Rance Preibus and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz are capable of putting Humpty back together again.


Trump is living and thriving off free media. Unless the billionaire donors figure out a way to buy actual votes, and pony up, they will struggle with their inferior media buys. Let's see: Bush spent $2,600 per vote won in Iowa. An outright purchase plan might bring the needed results.

These billionaires haven't figured out free media in the new age, free media their investments helped to create.

Montucky's picture

What kind of data plan DOES a Jitterbug phone have?  ;) 

Also, aren't the superdelegates 'in the pocket' of the party on both sides, so it really does makes sense for the RNC to quit speading them around and just decide who the top two/three candidates are.

Thanks for the wonderful, well thought out and well defended positions (by EVERYone here). Sorry I couldn't contribute in that regard.


1. Just because it's inefficient, doesn't mean it's ineffective or wrong. Getting a message out is very expensive. If you don't have free volunteers and you don't have a million followers, you have to pay for employees and the services of experts.

2. Polysci and journalism majors deserve the right to employment. We're spending a lot of government money to educate people in these majors for some reason. Let's give them employment opportunities.

3. We spend a lot of money on education. We spend more per pupil than ever before. If we are producing a generation that can't separate propaganda from reality, then let's fix education, so that the evil Koch brothers have to stick to the truth in their paid media efforts.


There has been some grousing from the non Clinton side about the DNC (and especially its chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz) favoring Secretary Clinton over Mr. Sanders given that the DNC is supposed to be a neutral referee in the nominating process. The complaints include the scheduling of only 6 debates many of which are in low viewership time slots; a top DNC official violating its rules by fund-raising for Sec. Clinton; shutting down Sanders’ access to the DNC voter data that all candidates use effectively crippling Sanders 'ground campaign; lining up commitments from superdelegates months before any primaries; and Sec. Clinton arranging for an unprecedented $20 million gift to the DNC (which is otherwise insolvent) from an entity she controls.

tjm's picture

I can't emphasize enough that there really is no machinery to control anymore. It's all been taken apart and every candidate is a free agent, just like pro sports. Nobody can tell anybody where they can play. Unfortunately, this has been replaced by the need for vast amounts of money but Obama showed you could do that at $20 a shot over the old internets.