- Alien invasions and plots to take over our minds are
the stuff of B-grade horror movies and stories printed on cheap paper,
but I'm here to tell you it's not all fiction. I hope I can convince you
before it's too late.
- I remember as a teenager being scared silly by a movie
called The Mind Things in which malevolent creatures would attack out of
nowhere, sucking their victims' brains out. I read a novel about an extraterrestrial
entity that could languish in the bushes and take over the mind of any
earthling who happened to fall asleep in the vicinity.
- You can laugh, but that sort of thing is happening all
the time, all around you, even in your own home.
- The worst of these creatures sucks your brains out through
your eyes and ears, and leaves a soft mush incapable of discerning right
from wrong. It robs its victims of willpower, warps time beyond recognition
and renders people incapable of discerning between right and wrong. It
erodes the ability to engage in intelligent conversation. It lowers IQs
and moral standards to the point of non-existence.
- It goes under the name of Television, but that's just
the name it uses while it carries out its subtle campaign to conquer the
world. With its allies, video games and the Internet, it is intent on turning
the people of affluent nations into gullible, gibbering idiots who can
be convinced of anything, no matter how outlandish, and can be led to bizarre
behaviour previously thought unthinkable.
- You may accuse me of exaggerating, but count the television
sets in your house. Add up the time spent in front of them. Factor in how
many times a week you have a family conversation. Calculate how much the
TV set is used as a babysitter. Subtract the time spent reading books and
- Don't worry about the math -- chances are your brain
is so fried you can't do it anyway -- but try to get an idea of how much
your life is ruled by the flickering blue light of the living room god.
- I know people -- otherwise normal, adult, healthy people
-- who can spend six or eight hours at a time playing computer games such
as Civilization and Sim City. They can try to convince me that these games
are intellectually stimulating, unlike the noisy shoot-em-up arcade kind
of games, but that's just a sign their minds have been taken over by alien
- What about compulsive surfers of the Internet? They cruise
the cyberwaves in search of . . . what?
- "I found this great site -- you oughta see it."
I've heard that one before, and when I ask what information it contains,
or what new insights, I get that blank stare that is a sure sign of extraterrestrial
invasion of the intellect.
- These creatures can manipulate our perceptions to the
point that we waste hours every day in electronic worship, then complain
that we have so little time for useful endeavours.
- While the future is frightening, it is not without hope.
You can fight back. Weapons and shields are available.
- One way to block out harmful rays is to open a newspaper
and hold it at arm's length between you and the television screen. Not
all the words on the pages are accurate, not all the truth is unvarnished,
but you will at least start processing the information for yourself.
- That's a little self-serving, I'll admit, but read on.
- - A good book can heal a lot of the damage caused by
television and movies. You can make your kids smarter, better behaved and
more successful in school by disconnecting them from TV and computers and
trundling them off to the library. Turning couch potatoes into bookworms
won't solve all your problems, but it's a good start.
- - Take a brisk walk around the block. Fresh air and exercise
will make you resistant to electronic suggestion. You will begin to make
your own decisions.
- - Engage your family in regular conversations. Do things
with your kids. Play games, tell jokes, play pranks, do wild and crazy
- You'll know when you've got your own brain back -- you'll
be able to walk past the TV set without turning it on. You'll be able to
log on to the Internet for a specific purpose, and when that purpose is
satisfied, will be able to disconnect, all within 15 minutes.
- The television, the computer and the video games will
be relegated to their proper roles as servants and tools and casual entertainment,
not as masters.
- We may be able to save the human race after all.
- David Bly is deputy editorial page editor and can be
reached at 235-7550 or by e-mail: email@example.com
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