Dateline: April 2010
Some interesting social trends are emerging across the country. A recent article in “All Things Baby” magazine reported an enormous and unusual spike in births during the month of March.
“We’ve seen birthrates suddenly jump to an all time high,” said David Umpdefratz. “We aren’t quite sure why.”
In addition to the increase in stork activity, communities are reporting that petty theft crime has rapidly increased. One jurisdiction, Nowhere, Nebraska, found itself having to increase its patrols at video stores because shelves were being wiped clean of DVD’s.
“You know it’s bad when ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?’ keeps disappearing over and over again,” said Sheriff Rue LaDay. “The stores can’t even keep ‘Ishtar’ on the shelf.”
Other communities report increases in the theft of DVD and Blue Ray players, video games, IPhones, board games and belly-lint removers.
A prominent religious counseling organization (that wishes to remain anonymous) said it was overwhelmed by couples seeking advice on filing for divorce.
“We can’t keep up with it, couples who have been married ten, fifteen even twenty-five years, are flooding our phones lines and offices,” said a spokesperson. “It’s like they suddenly woke up one day and realized that they had nothing in common and in fact, truly hated each other.”
Social psychologist Mary Upton believes these trends are somehow related.
“We starting seeing some of these behaviors emerge on June 13, 2009, the day after the DTV transition,” says Upton, “And they have continued to climb as time has gone on. It’s like New York after the blackout of 1965, people found themselves with too much time on their hands and began acting out in unusual ways.”
Although Congress delayed the digital transition, there were still millions of people who were unprepared for its eventuality. As late as February 2009, there were two million households on the waiting list for coupons to get converter boxes, not to mention the millions who had received the coupons but the coupons had expired or the millions who had not applied for the coupons. Between February 2009 and June 12, 2009, the rush to get the converter boxes was so high, manufacturers couldn’t keep up with demand. Millions of households lost their analog signals and their television sets went dark.
“Television is such an important societal control,” says Upton. “When people watch TV they become more placid, even lazy, so they don’t have the urge to engage in certain behaviors, like romance for instance. Also, when people watch TV they don’t really have to interact with one another. That’s why we are seeing the spike in the divorce rate, when these couples weren’t interacting they didn’t realize they were miserable or that they had married the wrong person.”
One benefit from so many households not getting free TV has been the re-emergence of some positive family interaction and earlier bed times.
“We are also seeing an increase in families playing Parcheesi or Life,” reports Upton. “Children are taking up coloring again and Crayola sales have gone through the roof. Also, without TV, children don’t mind going to bed at 8:00 or 9:00, they’re pretty bored by that point.”
No one is quite sure how many households are actually capable of receiving a digital signal but don’t get one because of terrain or building obstruction. The broadcast industry has never been able to quite make digital broadcast as reliable as the old analog signals. Some analysts guess there are millions of these “digital ready” households that for a majority of the day, lose their signal.
“There are millions that don’t have the converter boxes and then there are millions that either have the converter boxes or have digital ready sets but can’t get a signal,” said Upton. “There is no good data on how many we are talking about. But I do know, until these issues get resolved we’re going to see more babies, more theft of lousy “B” movies and more couples filing for divorce.”
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Dateline: April 2010