August 10, 2022

The State of Television Programs


Dear Sister,

I am told that over there in poor old Blighty, your television programs are getting worse and worse, approaching a state of utter disaster. Well, I have news for you; here in this truly terrific Colony of Arizona, surely dear King George’s most delightful Overseas Property, television has fallen into the dilapidated hands of obstreperous clowns who seem to be determined to ensure that even the best programs–and there are many good ones–should never actually be enjoyed to the full, which is to say that in these idiots’ opinion, the viewer simply must have extra little tid-bits snuck in there, in the shape of sneaky “little bit” commercials that get to be thrown at him every so often with brightly-colored interjections down in one of the screens’s corners, telling us whatever stupidity comes into the moronic mind of the producer.

These things only last for five or six seconds, just long enough to take your mind off the program you had chosen to watch. And I would dearly love to get my correcting club out of storage and beat the daylights out of someone, just for the hell of it, hoping that I got one of the money-morons responsible for this affront to one’s dignity.

Because this is all about money, and nothing else, because this is what the telly has fallen into–cash money being the only thing that matters these days, the screen becoming filled with hopeful, overly cheerful announcers telling us how rich we can be, at absolutely no cost to us, if we just tell them how much money we owe whom, so that they can pay it all off for us, at absolutely no actual cost to us for the next six months…

And I shudder when I realize that there are indeed a whole lot of mostly elderly old souls around who are taken in by these swindlers and eventually find that they have fallen into a dreadful financial trap; smart-aleks used to be laughed at, but today – they are to be dreaded. I am not really affected myself by these hopeful bastards, because since I left Hollywood I’ve just about forgotten what money looks like, hey-ho. Do I sound pissed-off? Well, I am. But the bright side is that we have a couple of good video stores here, and the managers tell me that the use of videos instead of regular programing is rising very fast indeed, so my thinking on this matter is fairly general, good…

But let’s change the subject and report on the weather; which reminds me of times way back when I over-heard a couple of guys talking about me, and one of them said: “Yes, he’s a nice guy, sort of, but don’t get him talking about the weather, he’ll never stop…”

Is this the truth? Maybe a national characteristic? What a ghastly thought! Although I really must tell you about the storm we had t’other day: it only lasted for fourteen minutes, but in that time an incredible four inches of rain got to be measured on the little gadget we have that keeps us informed about this sort of thing. And then came something I don’t think Sedona has ever seen before–a tornado!

The telly screen was fairly lit up with bright red warnings every few minutes, and down the highway on the road to Cottonwood, several cars were actually blown all the way off the road and completely destroyed, a number of unfortunate drivers messing around in ditches full of mud, hoping for help but having to wait for it because that main and much-used road was simply swamped with overturned or otherwise unserviceable cars and trucks, an interesting time, I would say, being had by all.

Finally, I have to tell you (because Charlie begged me not to mention it to you), that he wrote to me to ask could he please “borrow” some cash; I wrote back, telling him to go to Hell. But I weakened at the last moment and stuffed a few bills in the envelope. After all, family, however crummy, is always family. Not so…?

Much love and best wishes, as always, from your poor old brudder



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