Thursday, August 15, 2013

Chaos vs. Anarchy

The protests in Egypt reached a new level of violence yesterday, as 525 demonstrators were killed by government forces. The usually articulate Joe Scarborough erred this morning by calling the situation "complete anarchy", using "anarchy" when he meant "chaos".

Anarchy is "the absence of government". A state of anarchy can be chaotic as well, but it doesn't have to be. Chaos is defined as "complete disorder and confusion".

The irony of the reporter's misuse of the term is that the demonstrations have been basically peaceful up to now. It is only the *presence* of governmental forces which has led to the current bloodshed. In the absence of government, i.e., in a state of true anarchy, the situation would be much less chaotic.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

CBS vs. Time-Warner

CBS is trying to be the big bully on the block by demanding outrageous fees from Time-Warner for the dubious privilege of carrying the lame programming of CBS. CBS broadcasts its signal for free to anyone who can pick up a signal, yet somehow thinks it has the right to blackmail Time-Warner into agreeing to pay huge bucks for the same privilege that costs others nothing.

I watch no CBS shows anyhow, and I would be just as happy if my own Time-Warner company dropped the network from its lineup of stations. Unfortunately, my company, located in Ohio, is not one of those which have dropped CBS for the past few days.

"Big three" network shows are on the decline anyhow, as Netflix is the vehicle of choice for more and more of us to watch the weekly shows. The major netwoks have gone full-force into this reality TV garbage, making them more and more irrelevant. My own shows, watched almost exclusively on Netflix DVD's, include "Curb Your Enthusiasm", "Homeland", "Mad Men", "Criminal Minds", and "Bates Motel". Although "Criminal Minds" was originally a CBS show, I never watched it during its CBS run. I watch reruns on A&E, supplemented by an occasional Netflix disk.

Many years ago CBS News was the preferred network for news, but it jumped the shark long ago when it hired Dan Rather as Cronkite's replacement. Rather was, to me, impossible to watch; watching and listening to him was like fingers on a blackboard to me. He is the perfect example of the Peter Principle, a good reporter promoted to a position for which he was very poorly suited.

CBS is operating with the arrogance we often see when people or institutions get an inflated opinion of themselves. CBS needs a serious reality check.