The Remote Control:
Technology's Greatest Triumph
"If you hang by the neck long enough, you get used to it"
Adjusting is part of the human condition. If there is a germ of truth in the "hanging by the neck" maxim, imagine how quickly we adopt new devices and innovations when they bring improvement to the human condition.
There are those walking among us who actually celebrated the arrival of indoor plumbing, and how soon we have forgotten those funny little houses on street corners where people made telephone calls.
But technology's greatest triumph goes hardly noticed. We can only shudder thinking about the uncivilized, sub-human practice of manually changing TV channels. A process so gross it has been erased from the collective memory.
There are countless instances of the frustrated viewer, unable to lift himself out of the stuffed armchair quickly enough, throwing a shoe at the screen and even some recorded cases of desperate "TV rage" resulting in a gun being fired at the magic box.
In my judgment there is no more essential symbol of human progress than the wondrous "remote control" device that automatically changes TV channels. We affectionately dub it as the "zapper"
What follows is my t.v. log for the past week demonstrating how the "zapper" protected my soul and sanity.
Blumert's TV Log
"We're lucky this morning at Channel 4 to have Father O'Connor, Rabbi Levy and Reverend Miller with us discussing the need for additional homeless shelters in the downtown area…
"Tom, it's a thrill to work with you this afternoon at ESPN. Lacrosse has been played far longer than baseball and is truly an American sport. Unfortunately, it has only gained real popularity with an elite group of Northeast colleges. Our game today is between two old rivals…."
"Zambi's remarkable mastery of the zither has thrilled music lovers the world over. His CDs and tapes are not available in local stores. If you order now you will not only receive Zambi's interpretation of the complete works of Beethoven but as a bonus we will include his collection of Indian rhythms from the Brazilian rain forest. Call 800…"
"Dr. Teitlebaum has counseled Hollywood stars on their weight problems for decades. His "Miracle Diet" is now available to you. We guarantee you will need an entire new wardrobe in two weeks. (Dr. Teitlebaum denies charges by the FDA that his formula employs the use of tapeworms).
"At 3 p.m. on CSPAN 2, we will air the Prohibition Party convention. The session lasts fifty-four minutes and ends with a drunken brawl…(I made that up).
"Today on Meet the Press we have Senator John McCain. He will discuss his heroic effort to institute campaign finance reform. David Broder, Clarence Page and William Safire make up our distinguished panel. …."
A brilliant high-tech pal has programmed my remote so that it automatically "zaps" the instant the name, image or voice of any of the following is detected on my TV: Bill O'Reilly, Christiane Amanpour, Wolf Blitzer, Bill Maher, et al.*
*Send $1.99 and I will send you Blumert's V-Chip which blocks out and thus protects your family from these undesirables
I anxiously await the next generation of remote control devices. You point it at any offensive person or group whether on the street, in an office, or anywhere, you click, and they disappear.
A friend suggests that we already have such devices and they are called guns. He misses the point completely. I don't wish to hurt or maim. I just want the object to disappear from my life.
Others are free to keep my zapped victims or not. Let them do their own zapping.
April 3, 2001
© 2001 LewRockwell.com