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Old Buzz (Previous Columns)
CSPAN or Crazy Steve's Perversely Annoying Network
I am about to go back to college after Christmas break. I have been home able to observe my family with more perspective now that I'm more educated. Anyone who comes to our house soon realizes that when Steve's at home he watches the most mind numbingly boring television a remote can find. One of his favorite networks is CSPAN; he even switched us off of cable because they didn't offer CSPAN 2. He assures me that lots of people watch CSPAN. I find it hard to believe that the world could contain that many boring people. I told Steve anyone who watches CSPAN must be crazy. He retorted so CSPAN stands for Crazy Steve's Public Access Network. I said no, I like the crazy Steve part, but perversely annoying network is more accurate. Crazy Steve's Perversely Annoying Network or CSPAN I knew I had a Buzz article.
I am sure that two people were offended just by reading the title, one of them being my dad, Crazy Steve. Surely, no more than two CSPAN fans will ever read this. Steve assures me that millions of people watch CSPAN. I believe most of these people are forced to watch CSPAN because their dad won't give them the remote. CSPAN claims that the number of people who tune into CSPAN in a week is around 28,500,000.
The way I figure there are probably about 10 actual viewers - viewers who actually want to watch CSPAN. The rest of us are just forced to watch it because our dad or our spouse watches it every morning. It seems obvious to me that these numbers are completely unfounded. The true number of CSPAN viewers could not be determined until a system is devised to weed out all of the unwilling viewers.
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I ask you how can 28,500,000 people really want to watch clinically insane people call in and voice their opinions on anything, especially since that program airs very early in the morning (I don't know the exact time because I have never been up at the time it starts)? So it wouldn't be all together too bad except that it is then rerun at all times of the day, when I am up. CSPAN switches over to cover the House of Representatives any time they're in session; that is supposedly CSPAN's real role.
This used to be semi-entertaining when there were more colorful representatives. Representatives such as James Traficant (D-OH); he would always end his speeches by saying (If this is America then beam me up!) Unfortunately, he is currently in prison for misuse of government funds and employees. Apparently some of his secretaries and interns found themselves working on his farm instead of preparing his speeches.
I would have thought that CSPAN's rating would have dropped enormously after Traficant was convicted. I thought maybe CSPAN would be canceled. That was when I learned that it couldn't be canceled. You see, cable providers support CSPAN.
Steve's appetite for watching boring people talk has no bounds. Now we get two of the three CSPANs, and Steve is plotting a way to get the third.
I have to go straight from watching Washington Journal to
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"gavel to gavel coverage of the House of Representatives" to the Senate during a filibuster. As if CSPAN isn't boring enough normally, try listening to some tottering old Senator. Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC) a man who turned 100 years old during his last term in office, read from a phone book fighting against civil rights for Black Americans. I do not want to encourage people to campaign for CSPAN to be pulled off the air.
Rather I am saying if there is someone in your life who is addicted to CSPAN, please encourage him or her to seek help. I suppose one good thing that has come out of this is that I have a basic understanding of politics. Try as I might with CSPAN, CNN, or MSNBC playing in the background 24/7 I cannot block out all the knowledge. Even in the car it is NPR, not just classical music, but weird talk NPR programming. Knowledge just seems to seep in. Oh well, it did make my US history class easier for me.
[ Sen. Thurmond holds the record for the longest filibuster in Senate history. He railed against the 1957 civil rights bill for 24 hours and 18 minutes. He stopped only when the Senate physician threatened to drag him from the floor]