Continuing Education

curmudgeonIf you’ve read the opening post on Oldereyes – Bud’s Blog, you know I offer you the opportunity to choose how you would describe me after reading a post: Sage, Curmudgeon or Fool.   I believe that sometimes I have the wisdom to be a Sage, although no one has ever called me one, and I try hard not to be a Fool.  But I am convinced that being a curmudgeon …  an ill-tempered old person full of stubborn ideas or opinions … is the natural state of the aging male.  I do my best to keep my curmudgeon Inner but as I curmudge about more things, that gets harder and … I swear … after a half century of marriage, my wife can read my mind anyway.  One  of the things I’ve gotten more curmudgeonly about is television.   There used to be shows my wife Muri and I watched together.  MASH. Taxi. Hill Street Blues.  I miss those times but if I try to watch her shows with her these days, my Inner Curmudgeon fights his way out and makes snide comments, and eventually, she sends me away.

So, have I changed or has TV changed?  Yes, both, but I’m only going to talk about a few of the changes in TV.  A man should not take on the task of commenting on himself alone.   That is why, by the way, AAs have sponsors.   So, TV.  First off, reality shows (my wife doesn’t watch these but I still hate them).   Why does anyone watch this crap, whether it be dating games or hidden singers or cop ride alongs?  In my opinion, all staged, by the way and BORING.  Number two, laugh tracks.  You can always tell if there’s a laugh track because the pretend-audience laughs hysterically at lines that aren’t the slightest bit funny, largely because … number three … modern sitcoms mistake dumb for funny.  Number four?  Commercials.  Endless and endlessly annoying.  My wife says, I just don’t listen to them.   God didn’t give me the ability to do that, hence, I complain about them and get chased out of the room.

But there is an upside to this TV quandry … the enormous number of documentaries available streaming on YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video and other sources gives me an opportunity for some Old Curmudgeon Continuing Education.   Of course, a curmudgeon seeking knowledge has to be careful given what can pass for documentaries on popular streaming channels.  I might end up learning which aliens built the pyramids or the details of joe Abegotz’ abductions to the plane Xanko.   There’s no continuing education credit for crap like that.   Here are a few good ones.  The Ken Burns’ amazing six hour documentary on Earnest Hemingway and the PBS documentary, Frank Lloyd Wright: American Lives include films of the great men themselves throughout their lives and show, once and for all, that a man can be flawed and a genius.   The Genius of Einstein: The Science, His Brain, the Man is a panel discussion of what made the man a a genius, from his personality to his brain.  The Art Perspectives by Waldemar Januszczak makes the world of art and the men that create it come alive.   Just Google Waldemar Januszczak Art Perspectives or start here:  History’s Greatest Impressionists (Arts Documentary) | Perspective (I’m very partial to Impressionists).    Bach – A Passionate Life is a beautiful biography of JS Bach and his creation of some of the greatest music ever written under very difficult circumstances.   Monet’s Water Lilies: Great Art Explained is a short film about the creation of Monet’s last and greatest water lily works and their significance (like I say, Impressionism).

Literature.  Architecture.  Physics and psychology.   Art and Art History.  I was educated as an engineer, a technical specialist.  You know what a specialist is, don’t you?  A specialist is someone who learns more and more about less and less until he knows everything about nothing.  Now, in my seventies I have time to give myself a liberal education.   I can learn to be a generalist.   You guessed it … A generalist is someone who learns less and less about more and more until he knows nothing about everything.  Seems like an appropriate way to live out a life.

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One Comment on “Continuing Education”

  1. nudistterp Says:

    I hate to break the news to your wife but I’m about 20 years younger than you and TV has changed much more than I have and you, I’m sure.

    While there’re a number of specific series I’d like to watch, despite having 500 channels there’s still way less on than 20 years ago, Remember when that was a joke? “500 channels but nothing on TV” Well, it’s reality now. 90+% of what I see evokes words like insipid, vacuous, jejune … you get the idea.

    While you might be providing your wife with ever increasing curmudgeon, ranting about programming in 2021 is not an example of it 🙂


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