The following was published on getaclue.net on April 6th, 2002:
James Lileks bleated about PBS on April 5th, and it reminded me how much I really dislike PBS. Why? It’s simple really; I don’t trust any organization that resorts to holding Big Bird hostage in order to guilt little old ladies to send a check so their grandchildren can watch Sesame Street.
First off, does anyone really think that PBS stations are going to pull Sesame Street off the air because you didn’t send them $200? Tell me there isn’t a commercial broadcasting company that wouldn’t kill for the rights to syndicate Oscar the grouch. So beyond that, what are you missing? Silly British comedy shows that no one is watching (Black Adder), and cheesy special effects (Dr. Who). Trust me, you’re not getting any sort of return on your investment – the programming sucks, and all you have to show for it is a WVIZ TV-25 coffee mug (“You make the difference!”) and a Yanni CD. (Don’t even get me started on that douchebag. Does anyone think Yanni would still be putting out CD’s if the corporation for public broadcasting wasn’t buying them up to give away?)
Between the Discovery Channel, History Channel, Learning Channel, and Arts & Entertainment – all available in almost every basic cable package in the country – you can get the same information you would from a PBS affiliate, sans giant yellow birds. And since it’s funded through commercials, you don’t have to watch the staff hijack the station and break in every 15 minutes on some sort of fund-raising jihad: Send in your money now! We’ve got hostages here and they don’t all have to go home alive! If those phones don’t start ringing, the Cookie Monster gets it. Sure, they hold the Cookie Monster hostage, knowing if they tried to hold that asshole Bob Vila over our heads, we’d be cheering for a public execution like a bunch of French revolutionaries.
Also, am I the only one who seems to think the telethons are a lot more common than they used to be? I seem to recall the time when it was one weekend a year, or maybe one week out of the year – but now every other day is pauper day. What’s next, standing outside the Catholic Diocese, shaking a Styrofoam cup and asking, “Spare some change?” Clue: There’s already folks out there doing it better, and making money doing it. Go get a job with one of them.