The Low Channels
The cable service in my home area of central
Public access: The name conjures images of bad video from the polka party at the senior center or a local show concerning the intricacies of stamp collecting for those on a budget and an aversion to glue. I don’t know what the rules are for public access programming, but on our system I often see shows that were created a thousand or more miles from here. I have a funny feeling that that was not the original intent of public access. On the other hand, if the channel was limited to, say, a 100 mile radius, I’d never get to see shows like “Conservative Roundtable”. Granted, the show is a bit predictable what with the twin photo poster backdrops of a waving flag on one side matched to an in vivo embryo on the other, but where else can you watch a TV host in a cheap suit who is clearly in need of a shower and instructions on how to use a clothes iron blather on and on about the need for estate tax reform while sitting behind a desk that’s barely a step up from cardboard?
Undoubtedly the best material from the viewpoint of inadvertent humor comes from the religious shows. Two shows come to mind immediately. First there’s the lovely “House of Yahweh” which I lovingly refer to as “House of Yahoos” produced out of
These shows, as bizarre as the content can sometimes be, at the very least have semi-professional production standards even though they are boring at best. Hey, I don’t expect great cinematography with my free inadvertent humor. Every now and then though, a real jewel pops up. No, I’m not talking about the local evangelical services that they broadcast, although I must admit that watching a bunch of pudgy, middle class clones sway back and forth to an insipid musical accompaniment makes me giggle (gotta keep it simple so the nice white folks can follow the beat).
The other day I saw something that made me do a double take. I think it was a local broadcast but I’m not sure. Whatever it was, they had decided to use an extreme amount of video compression while filming the minister giving his talk. The end result was that whenever the minister moved, he was surrounded by huge pixilated chunks of his body and the background. I can only imagine that the effect would be quite impressive following the ingestion of hallucinogenic aids (not that I recommend that sort of thing). But that wasn’t the craziest thing. The truly wacky part was the subject and detail of his talk. Unfortunately, I had missed the very beginning, but the minister was apparently referring to the relatively recent announcement of “Mitochondrial Eve” to prove a literal interpretation of Genesis. I don’t know if this guy’s an end-of-times pusher like our other TV friends, but if he is, he’s certain that the ride ain’t gonna last more than 6500 years. As anyone who is familiar with Mitochondrial Eve will have figured out by now, this fellow completely misunderstood and misapplied the results. He went to great pains, though, to explain how these scientists had, with the use of modern biology, chemistry, and so forth, essentially proved that the Biblical Eve had existed. I’m sure his audience was duly impressed. The punch line came when he said that the researchers calculated that Eve walked the Earth 200,000 years ago. In a quick and dismissive tone he said (paraphrasing) “Of course, you can’t trust these scientists with this date. We know that it is way off. We know that the real date is 6500 years ago.” It was just so matter-of-fact that I nearly fell off the couch. I wonder how many of his so-called “flock” understood that he was denigrating the parts of science that didn’t fit his world view, misinterpreting the parts that could be bent to conform, and ultimately hijacking the credibility of science for his uses while trashing it in favor of blind faith at the same time? The hypocrisy was monumental.
As the comedian said, “You can’t write this stuff it’s so good.”