by Spurgeon Thomas
When I was six years old, my favorite WWE wrestler was the Ultimate Warrior, until I found out the show was fake. I lost interest in the folding chairs smashing into the foreheads of giants.
When I learned Santa Claus wasn’t real, I told my impoverished mother to stop wasting money on gifts.
I don’t watch television, movies, or sports. I don’t read major news articles. I have a strict RSS feed that gives me updates from around the world based on terms I find interesting. I don’t care about the lives of artists. I only care about the art.
I have thrown multiple babies out with the bathwater, along with the bathtubs.
As a Business major, one of the subjects that made the most impact on me was Marketing. I learned about Neurolinguistics Programming: a behavior modification technique developed in 1975 by Richard Bandler and John Grinder, which is based on a reciprocal relationship said to exist between a person’s behavior and the external manifestations of his or her personality, including vocal tone, posture, eye movements and physiology (medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/neurolinguistics). There was a semester about how NLP is embedded in movies and television commercials to control behavior. I learned that these tricky little marketers would embed anchors and subliminal messages to get people to do all kinds of things. NLP is hypnosis. NLP is that beckoning you feel when smell McDonald’s fries or see the golden arches from the freeway. NLP is you replying, “I’m loving it!” when the jingle plays. NLP is you feeling like the end of world is near because of who was elected to be the next President.
NLP is mind control.
No more television for Spurge. I will notice it when at someone’s house, but I don’t own one.
I stopped playing both Madden and Fantasy Football in 2002. I used to visit espn.go.com and chargers.com all the time. When the Chargers had the number one pick, I was for sure they were going to announce the choosing of the obvious choice in the draft, Michael Vick. I even pestered the local jersey stores about selling me one prematurely. One day, I realized how much time I devoted to analyzing sports and trying to predict the outcomes of football games. I was pretty good. I won a super bowl, before walking away for good. J.
Not even PlayStation gets play in this ride. I no longer wanted to sit in front of the screen and play virtual football. I enjoyed playing the real sport, joining many local semi-pro and flag football leagues in my twenties and thirties. At one point, I was playing in three flag football leagues simultaneously on different nights of the day, for a year. Football was always a fun sport. I liked it because it allowed me to be legally violent. Running full-speed, I could chase someone down and intentionally try to hurt them. I also loved getting hit. It was like being in a crazy car crash. Sometimes, while running the ball, I would jump in the air intending to be knocked off course in a random direction, so I could react and adapt. Football was not my passion, despite me giving half-time speeches in locker rooms to motivate my teammates as if it were. I didn’t attempt to play in college or get a scholarship. I didn’t like being around people who took something too seriously. It was just a game to me.
When I stopped playing semi-pro in 2012, after playing for four different teams all over Southern California, I stopped watching the NFL and NCAA as well. I stopped watching highlights on ESPN and NFL Network. I haven’t been to either site in more than a few years. Not wanting the itch to play, I avoid it. The hundreds of ex-teammates I have all over the city wouldn’t understand how I could cut the greatest game on God’s green earth, that I have been playing since a child, cold turkey. Meh. Stopping things isn’t that hard to do. I just stop.
No News No Politics
I loved watching people debate and argue intelligently on C-SPAN until I dropped the idea of politics as theatre. When I studied and practiced to become a Toastmaster, I learned the art of how politicians spin their messages to control the behavior of voters. After using the techniques myself, I stopped listening to politicians. I stopped speaking publicly. I didn’t want to manipulate.
I have only heard one speech by President Barrack Obama, his inaugural address. I tuned in because I was shocked the country elected a darker-skinned president. President Obama is a brilliant orator. I just don’t like being the recipient of lies. I just don’t listen to them speak. I don’t speak legalese, so I don’t know what is written between the lines of the ballots. I know the difference between what’s being documented and what occurs.
Shiny things don’t impress me. Celebrity for celebrity sake has never impressed me. I’ve never been star struck. I believe all people are just people. Some know the right people. Some are more talented than others. Talent and intelligence impresses me the most. But I avoid seeking it through entertainment because that’s where the programming happens. That’s where the Neurolinguistics Programming happens.
It happens in Church. It happens at work. It happens at the barbershop. So I tuned it all out.
I almost exclusively listen to podcasts and songs my friends recommend. When the podcast plays a familiar tune, I turn the volume down and fast forward through it. I skip all commercials. Slowed down on watching YouTube since they changed their revenue model to include commercials.
When I watched the documentary, “Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism,” I was stunned by how blatant the lies on television were broadcasted. These days, they say the internet is full of “fake news.” Welcome to my world.
It’s all fake to me.