Television yesterday and today


As I watch TV every now and then I’m transported back to a time long ago

When the world was a little bit simpler, when everything moved kind of slow.


It was a time when, while watching TV, we heard the words, ‘this is only a test’.

And I wonder, since then how much TV has changed, how much has the medium progressed?


When I was young you might say television was early in it’s inception

We had one black and white TV that got 3 channels and not the best reception.


The 3 networks programmed their channels to educate, inform and delight

And they wanted us to get to bed early because all 3 stations signed off at midnight.


But before signing off they’d play the Star Spangled Banner, you know America’s song.

We would all stand with our hands on our hearts and happily sing along.


Speaking of standing that’s how we changed channels, the remote had yet to appear.

The antenna stood on top of the TV and for obvious reasons was called rabbit ears.


If the reception was poor Dad would make me reshape the ears until everything was just so

Since I couldn’t move without the picture fading that’s where I watched many shows. 


But normally we all sat down as a family, (on the couch was our favorite repose)

To watch, on our only TV, whatever program Mom or Dad chose.


Back then our parents didn’t worry, yes, there were standards for what to put on TV

Which meant when you turned on the television everything you saw had a rating of G.


We’d watch Christmas specials together to our happiness and mutual applause

And once a year, for it only came on once a year, we’d all watch the Wizard of Oz.


That was TV when I was growing up, at least I seem to remember it that way

Now let’s compare it to this time and place, the television of today.


Today there are televisions in every room of the house, they sit on counters and stands and on tables

And hundreds of channels are available over satellite dishes and cable.


TV is now on around the clock, there’s no need to even talk to your spouse

You can watch it on screens the size of a stamp, or on ones as big as a house.


We can watch it on our computers, IPADs and phones- why it’s such a wonderful creation

We can watch while we’re in our car, in restaurants, or filling our tank at gas stations.


We no longer need worry about reception, all televisions are luminous and colorfast

We all have remotes so we don’t have to get up and rabbit ears are a thing of the past.


We no longer have to watch as a family, there’s no need at all for family detente

If you don’t like what’s on in the living room, go to your room and watch what you want.


There are no more standards on TV, at least none I can ascertain

There seem to be no body function or body part from which television will abstain.


Swearing, sex and violence have become so commonplace on TV that our society no longer balks

In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if children today learn to swear before they can walk.


The Wizard of Oz is now on as often as you’d like, if you happen to miss it on TV

No problem you can probably find it on Hulu or Netflix or watch a copy on your own DVD.


So, have we made progress? You be the judge, and when you decide you can tell me

Oh, yes there is one thing I forgot to mention...back then watching TV was free.


Certainly with progress comes more problems, problems we must somehow make right


But as for me, some days I long for watching TV with my family in front of that old black and white.

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