| There is a television show that has been on for a couple of years or so that lots of people have been telling me to watch for some time. I understand that it is terribly popular and has a huge base of rabid fans. Since I don't have TV I have to watch whatever I want to see online and I don't make much of an effort unless I think that surfing around looking for a show is worth my time, so I often tend to come to see most things pretty a little late in the game.
One rainy and miserable day I remembered about this show everyone thought I should be watching and went looking for it. I located a site on which I could watch every episode watched one. Just because I didn't want to be accused of rushing to judgment, I watch two more random episodes. That's where I stopped.
The other day a friend at work happened to ask me if I had finally watched this “fantastic” and “awesome” show. I informed him that I had, indeed, watched the show and that quite honestly, I found it neither “fantastic', nor “awesome”. My friend was clearly shocked.
“What are you talking about?” he asked. “Everybody likes that show. I think it is totally cool.”
“I think it is basically a soft-porn snuff film with swords and dragons,” I said.
My poor friend was totally taken aback. How could I have not enjoyed watching such a fantastic and awesome show?
“OK,” he admitted, “it is a pretty violent show but those were violent times.”
“To what times, exactly, are you referring?” I asked him, “Because the show is a fantasy story and it in no way resembles any actual “times” that ever really occurred.”
“It's basically, like, Medieval times, isn't it?” he asked. “Like, the Dark Ages.”
“Actually, it bears little to no resemblance to Medieval times as recorded anywhere in history,” I said. “In fact, as brutal and violent as real Medieval times were, this show makes them look like an episode of Pee Wee's Playhouse. Evidently, the Dark Ages weren't nearly dark enough for the guys who made this program, and there is enough ugly, prurient, tasteless, twisted, unhealthy, and utterly pointless sex to make a Dark Ages pornographer blush like an innocent school girl. I think the whole show is like something out of the nasty dreams of a psychopathic 15 year old boy who ate bad mushrooms.”
Did I mention that I didn't care much for the show? The fact that I do not seems to be quite puzzling to well...pretty much everyone and a source of distress for some. I am, in turn, rather puzzled by this since I have no interest in, and pay no attention to, what anyone else watches, doesn't watch, or has ever watched on television so it is confusing to me why anyone would care one iota what I watch or like or don't watch and don't like. It is a source of very little interest to me what is popular or inspires the most rabid, drooling fans and in my experience, the fact that something is wildly popular is seldom an indication of whether or not it is actually any good. Not for me, anyway. I do find it rather disturbing that the author of the books upon which this show is based looks something like Santa Claus. In my mind, anyone who dreamed up the plot lines in this program should look more like Joseph Stalin or that ugly, evil guy in the second Ghostbusters movie, not Santa.
The public obsession with this television program just goes to reinforce my theory that we have become Rome. Just as the powers that were sat around thinking up new and more horrific ways to entertain the masses in the Colosseum, I can imagine the producers and writers of this TV show sitting around trying to top themselves each episode with ways of portraying more violent and bloodthirsty little moments to entertain the masses that are us. The Romans started out slaughtering hundreds of people and animals and calling it entertainment and the public demanded more and more until they had to create rivers of blood to satisfy them. Brutally slaughtering a hundred animals and executing a dozen criminals in the ordinary way was not enough, they had to slaughter a thousand animals and execute people in more barbaric and horrifying ways just to keep everyone amused. In our Colosseum of the media running someone through with a sword or shooting them with a gun is no longer enough, now we have to torture, castrate, and dismember people in new and more bloodthirsty ways to make sure people are happy and tune in next week. And don't forget the twisted, nasty, ugly, loveless, sick sex. That's a must see.
Just like the Romans we worry a lot about the barbarians at our gates, and just like them, I think we are wasting our time. They are already here.