I’ve been struck by some amazing epiphanies lately. The most recent came while reading TIME (October 23, 2006), which featured an analysis of America at 300 million. The graphs were amazing. These are my two favorites
The topographical population map made me want to move to a spot somewhere in the middle of the country where no one lives. It seems so simple and ripe for my own happy little community of one (maybe two [smile]). The image also gives a pictoral representation of the empty expanse of the land. I’ve never made it off the coasts (aside from a week in Denver, Phoenix, and Vegas) and it makes me want to take a journey across the country…
But it was the race/ethnic demographic distribution really changed the way I think about media. For some reason I was upset with the culture-via-TV that perpetuated the demographics that “I” did not exist. That is to say, I rarely see someone that looks like me on television, specifically multi-ethnic individuals. But looking at the demographic map, I realize that we are less than 2% of the population. Of course you never see Asians on television, they comprise 4.4% of the population. In fact, their presence on television is equivalent to the national average!
That’s when I realized that my problem was not with television or its statements on race and the ethnographic breakdown of the nation. But rather the collapse of local television. National networks must create programming for a nationwide audience. 80% of which is White. This simply never occurred to me as I have only lived in densely populated, diverse, urban areas (i.e. New York N ≥ 18m; Boston N ≥ 5m, Los Angeles N ≥ 12m). The interactions I have are drastically different from the larger national body. Worse yet, when a nationwide network attempts to recreate “my” lifestyle for a nationwide audience, it comes out strangely warped (e.g. Friends).
I would like to see more local programming, not just news and commercials, but rather programs of all genres. Unfortunately I do not have access to public access channels due to my building’s agreement with SBC. I think I need a set of rabbit ears.