With so much more, what have we lost?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 9, 2007

I remember when less was more.

It came when we had fewer cartoons, fewer games and fewer news programs on television.

I was thinking of that the other day when I realized the television in our living room had been on Cartoon Network for a few hours straight.

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Since my 6-year-old son basically runs the show around my house, I have become quite familiar with the characters on shows like “Camp Lazlo,” “Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends,” “Ben 10,” “My Gym Partner Is A Monkey,” and on and on.

OK, he doesn’t really run the show because the late night cartoons with more adult themes are off limits. But he does enjoy a lot of the cartoons that are so easily accessible and that reminded me of a time when there wasn’t so much from which to choose.

I remember coming home from school and watching cartoons for a half-hour or so. Jule Huffman’s Mr. Cartoon and his sidekick Beeper may seem outdated these days, but they sure were favorites for people my age once upon a time.

Every now and then I’ll see some of the classics on TV. Tom and Jerry, Popeye, the Looney Tunes and others will make an occasional appearance and my son watches them like I used to watch silent movies, with a sort of confused and disassociated look.

Sports are kind of the same way. I can remember when baseball games were anything but routine. Nowadays, the Reds are on practically every day they play and ESPN is constantly showing games from around the country.

All the access is great, but it’s a little sad to me that the next generation will never get the experience of tuning the radio just right to pick up KMOX out of St. Louis in a desperate attempt to hear a big game.

News is also in this boat. Long gone are the days when the network anchors were where television news started and ended.

Today, talking heads are on 24 hours a day, watering down the news in such a way that it’s sometimes hard to tell what’s important. After all, when important political issues are interrupted for news about Paris Hilton’s troubles, there has to be some question as to whether more is better.

There are certainly advantages to this Information Age, where the things we want and need are readily available. But a part of me has to wonder if we lost a little bit of our innocence along the way.

I’ll contemplate that debate a little more while I watch the next episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy.

Rick Greene is the managing editor of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached at (740) 532-1441, ext. 12, or rick.greene@irontontribune.com