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Cinema classics provide escape from dreary news

December 16, 2012

By EMILY JONES

I stumbled across a sure-fire system for improving my mental health, not to mention my outlook on life during these hard times.

It doesn’t cost anything and the results are almost instantaneous. Miraculously, the hard times have evaporated as my thoughts turn to Christmas, family gatherings and the making of new memories unpolluted by general mayhem and contentious politics. Simply put, I declared a moratorium on Cable News.

It’s worked so well, I’ve nixed all TV news which had amounted to the soundtrack of my life for years. At my house, it aired 24 hours a day and elicited a plethora of emotions. Sometimes, I would throw a shoe at the set and curse like a sailor, while other times I would jump up and down like a Dallas cheerleader. Peace and contentment had no place in my life and most of my conversations would begin with “The cable news guy said such and such.” I had not a single original thought in my head.

A month ago, I found myself sidelined by an illness. I began to rely even more on the television to provide a lifeline to the greater world outside. Bad decision. My malady was made even worse by a news cycle that had gone from mildly informative to grossly irritating. If I had to watch one more female anchor — dressed in a spaghetti-strapped cocktail dress in the dead of winter — pretend she had breaking news, I would lose my lunch. In most cases the “breaking news” was five days old and beginning to smell.

I decided to limit my TV watching to cooking shows and old movies from Turner Movie Classics or American Movie Classics. No more nerve grating grammatical errors, the most universally repeated being “Where are you at?” One well known news anchor reported that “Her and I attended the tree lighting of Rockefeller Center.” 

Within 24 hours of my self-imposed news blackout, a peaceful feeling settled into my world and I began to feel hopeful about the future again. I was no longer held hostage by a bevy of pseudo intellectuals, otherwise known as news analysts. Most of them were still wearing braces while yelling at one another and spewing venom unbecoming to a rattlesnake. 

I’ve also discovered ME-TV which is short for memory television. I schedule my mornings around Hawaii Five-O (the original one), Perry Mason and the Rockford Files, then switch to TMC and AMC to catch four or five box office hits from yesteryear. I laugh with one and cry with another. Slowly but surely, my humanity is returning.

I recommend you try this for a day or two and you’ll find yourself thinking warm thoughts about your friends and neighbors and dropping rude habits which may have sneaked into your life while you were innocently trying to stay abreast of world events. 

But please don’t let your newspaper subscription lapse. Pardon the brief self-serving commercial message.

But I think you’ll agree my ad is not as bad as that Cialis commercial where a man and woman are sitting in bath tubs overlooking a lake. It appears they are awaiting a shotgun start for “The Great Bathtub Race.” Strange.

Emily Jones is a retired journalist who edits a website for bouncing baby boomers facing retirement.  She welcomes comments at www.deludeddiva.con.

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