Jewish World Review April 25, 2003 / 23 Nisan II, 5763
Iraqi TVhttp://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | "So now that Saddam is gone, you're able to install satellite dishes and watch the same things on television that Americans watch."
"Yes, Saddam controlled every word on television and if we were caught with satellite dish, we go to jail."
"So how are you enjoying American television?"
"Ever since we got the satellite dish, we watch the TV from the time we wake until the time we go to bed. It has transformed our world completely."
"I can imagine."
"For starters, my family is much more emotional. We are very sad that only one woman will end up with the Bachelor."
"All Americans are heartbroken about that."
"And how we worry about the luxury-deprived Americans on Survivor! We are used to getting by on scraps in Iraq, but Americans? It pains us to see them eat rats for their dinner."
"Life sure can be unfair."
"And my wife dreams to one day get onto American idol. She sing Patsy Cline so good, she make everyone 'Crazy.'"
"I'm surprised you're taking to American television so quickly. A lot of people in America think that most of the stuff on TV is junk, and that programmers will put anything on the air to draw viewers, to heck with quality or good taste."
"But my family love Jerry Springer. We did not know that there are white supremacist midgets who have sex change operations."
"The fact is it is way easier and much less expensive to put together a low-quality program than one of high quality, which is precisely why so much of our television is so awful."
"But where else can we see a person eat cockroaches other than Fear Factor? Only men in Iraqi jails were able to see such things before the war."
"Exactly. Anyhow, the more viewers the networks draw, the more they can charge advertisers. And all the advertisers are interested in is getting more of us to buy their stuff, much of which is also unnecessary junk."
"But it is because of this advertising that my family realize we are being shunned by other Iraqis. We have occasional dandruff."
"Which proves my point. See, in America our companies want to make us feel bad about ourselves so that they can persuade us to buy their products to make us feel better."
"Which reminds me: who is this Martha Stewart? My family think she is the Ministry of the Interior. Why does she make such funny foods and decorations?"
"No one is certain."
"And only recently has my family learned that we have flabby stomachs, but that there is a special product to give us six-pack abs of steel! But this is something we find so peculiar about American television."
"What is that?"
"On one hand your ads are preoccupied with getting the fat off, but at the same time you have other ads that make us want to eat candy and chips and fast food of every kind. It is so hard to do both."
"A lot of choices in a free country. In fact, programmers are so eager to capture our attention, even our news shows, which purport to be objective and interested in finding the truth, favor the sensationalistic."
"Ah, yes! My family is so upset with Scott Peterson. We have seen many experts rehash the story about his wife Laci over and over again."
"Old newsman David Brinkley said the one function TV news performs well is that when there is no news, the anchors present things with the same emphasis as if there were. In other words, they make everything seem important to draw our attention."
"Speaking of new, my family have a question about Geraldo. My family thinks that Americans who are guilty of crimes are forced to watch him as part of their punishment."
"Yes, that is correct. In any event, I'm glad you and your family are now free to watch American television, but there is something you should know. Last week while you were watching TV, thousands of Americans were turning their TV's off, as part of TV Turnoff Week."
"But last week, my family watch very good show with Monica Lewinsky. My family believes she is highly acclaimed actor with an extensive resume and many talents. She is symbol of what American television is all about."
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04/21/03: Explaining Democracy to the Iraqis