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RyansWorld: Criminalization of television

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Special Note: Please note that this scenario is meant to be read as entertainment, not as an accurate prediction of the future. Also note that the viewpoints and opinions that may come across in this scenario are not necessarily the viewpoints and opinions of the author.

In the first decade of the 21st century television programs continue to gain in popularity - and televisions are ubiquitous. Children start to watch television on their mobile phones and personal media players in class. Communities previously too remote or too poor to have television now have their own flat screen television, with key American television events such as the NBA (National Basketball Association) and the Banana Splits Show translated in real time into obscure languages like Inuit and Xanthu by automatic translation software. TV sets are seen everywhere from shopping centers, schools, restaurants, bars, sports arenas, and even hospitals. Criminals are allowed to watch TV in their prison cells as an incentive for "good behavior."

This is made possible by technological advances making television and translation services cheap. The days when "a television cost a year's salary" and "color was unheard of" are almost too distant to be a memory. Even the turn of the millennium 'blown glass' television sets with electron beams are considered archaic and quaint. With this exponential growth in television comes with an exponential growth in price; only two-income families with white-collar jobs can afford premium cable or satellite television. All other demographics must either purchase basic programming or pirate signals via fixes from the Internet (not suggested due to various legal and moral issues). Television taxes would complicate this issue in Canada starting in the early months of 2010 and eventually take over America as they merge with Canada and become Canadamerica in the year 2020.

Concerns regarding violence on TV

Violence in the media has become a commonplace affair. Does television violence result in more aggressive or deviant behavior' Is such behavior likely to lead to criminal behavior' Recent studies have indicated that even the most seemingly benign programs on television, such as cartoons, are filled with violence. Violence in the media influences human behavior in a negative manner. Hundreds of studies have been conducted in recent years evaluating the effects of violence in the media. The results are at best, daunting and somewhat alarming. Some have raised enough question about the effects of media violence to cause researchers to claim the results are inconclusive. However others prove strongly enough that media violence can lead to criminal behavior, and many sociologists have concluded that violence in television media impacts viewers in a negative manner. Television violence impacts youths and adolescents much more frequently than it impact adults. Human behavior is the product of internal influences, such as a person's biological pre-disposition or genetic make-up, as well as external factors such as the environment.

Near future

Selector chip

With the ubiquity of television and the proliferation of channels, there is a need for some form of content filtering. This is solved by the 'selector chip' built into all televisions produced after the year 2018 after the passing of the Better Entertainment Act of 2018 by the arch-conservative Canadamerican military junta. All television sets produced before 2000 (also known as Legacy Televisions) must be retrofitted with the enhanced selector chip or be confiscated by the local authorities. After 2023, the law is revised so that all television produced in the year 2013 or earlier that must be retrofitted under the same penalty of law.

The 'selector chip' is aimed at preventing minors from watching unsuitable content, such as adult movies, snuff movies, politically suspect content, prescription drug commercials, sexually orientated ads such as condom ads, male enhancement, and online dating sites ads, occult related, alcohol related commercials, extreme sports, and fast food commercials. This device prevents minors from ordering such content without a password by an adult. Control over the selector chip is a fierce competition. In China, the Xi'an administration attempts to define "politically suspect content" as anything reflecting badly on the traditional values of Chinese society. On the eastern coast of America, activists for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people are outraged to find that some states are setting the selector chip signals to censor programs with even a hint of non-conventional relationships.

This competition for control of the selector chip is fierce, but quite rapidly becomes academic. In the same way that DVD copy protection failed, the selector chip fails too, as manufacturers leak "work-arounds" that allow the chip to be bypassed in their televisions. The workaround are found in FTA satellite television; using the same workaround that prohibits closed captioning from working on certain "fixes." It's one thing to buy a television that prevents your kids seeing certain programs, quite another if it prevents you from watching something that you might want to watch yourself.

The selector chip also implicates a time limit filter, which is password protected, which limits the time that children may watch television.

Jamming: 2020

In the year 2020, the ruling Junta of Venezuela will notice a number of, in their eyes, highly undesirable aspects of modern television. In their view television:

  • Promotes American values that encourage greed and vice, especially 'consumerism'; this can be seen especially in residents who pirate satellite signals from America.
  • Promotes violence and distorted sexuality (even in shows claiming to be comedic like 'Evil Dead' or some British movies).
  • An analysis of viewing habits shows that in many respects television watching is like an addictive drug.
  • Busy parents sit their kids in front of television to keep them quiet.
  • Causes health problems, particularly obesity. People are watching sports rather than playing them, with a deterioration in physical fitness.

Ubiquitous television is having a huge, negative, economic impact. This could be seen even back when the economic crisis started in the year 2008; newly unemployed people tend to watch television instead of training for high-technology jobs. The Junta take the unorthodox step of jamming the signals in a completely wholesale fashion; blocking all channels and making the ban less draconian than it seems. As a result, blocking all television in Venezuela seen as a direct response to the break down of the 'selector chip' mechanism. As a result, Venezuela becomes the first country to break free from the tyranny of television.

Less than 1% of all television shows broadcast from America are suitable for all ages. Most shows require at least parental guidance for younger viewers and prime time shows are for mature audiences only. In jamming television, the Junta are enforcing these restrictions. Even shows on children's channels such as Cartoon Network are starting to have a PG rating such as Adventure Time.

Complementary measures

At the same time the Junta bring in a number of complementary measures: Local sports leagues for participative sports, a state supported community baby/child sitter network that brings children together in small groups. Consumerism is addressed not just through a television ban, but also by a ban on all poster advertising and promotion of certain religious values. Conspicuous consumption is reduced through sharing and repair initiatives - sharing of transport, and legislation for mandatory recycle/repair facilities available from all places that sell new wares. Education and nursing are made high status occupations, through increased funding for scholarships (even more so than information technology because Venezula is a developing country).

The Junta place huge emphasis on social networks; although Facebook (who would merge with a bankrupt Nintendo to become Facebook Nintendo), YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram are considered to be suspect due to their television-like content. Even architects are required to design new buildings with communal spaces so that neighbours are encouraged to meet and talk with each other rather than shut their doors to each other.

Initially the Junta's experiments in social reform are mocked and made of fun in television satire programs broadcast around the rest of the world. However, in the course of just 10 years, Venezuela's economic progress is outstanding. The hidden costs of television are much higher than anyone had thought. Not only that, but Venezuelan doctors and teachers have become sought after throughout the world for their excellence.

Few choose to leave for long, as the standard of living back at home, with low crime, excellent education, universal healthcare in addition to strong local communities, is far higher than elsewhere in the 'televised world'. Even Canada in the 1950s and 1960s had higher crime rates on average than Venezuela of the 2020s. For the first time in almost 100 years, young children are allowed to stroll through the urban regions of Venezuela completely unsupervised as crime reaches an all-time low due to the lack of restricted programming on television.

Distant future

Canadamerican stronghold

Many countries are experimenting with partial television bans as early as the year 2030. Also in the year 2030, researchers at the University of Heidelberg led by Dr. Muhammad Li published a paper that explained all about the evils of television. For starters, televisions release similar chemicals that the brain catches and absorbs like addictive drugs. As a result, the term 'flickerdiction' (an addiction to strobing images) first enters the lexicon of the languages of most Western countries. Germany classifies television as a class-B drug followed by France, Belgium, the Netherlands, the Eurasian Union (the Russian Federation would collapse right after the Russian Civil War), Turkey, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom; this puts television in the same category as cannabis and alcohol. However, it not classified to be as serious as nicotine or cocaine. The study also shows that alcohol and cigarette consumption coincides with watching television, especially when it comes to sporting events and late night television. Rehabilitation centres are set up to help people get over their addictions to soap operas, Saturday morning animated programs, situation comedies with laugh tracks that makes situations appear more humorous than they actually are, and tragic television news (which can actually contribute to clinical depression in some people). Because of this research paper, a Europe-wide television ban is enacted in the parliament of the European Union.

Thanks to pressure from advertisers, Canadamerica remains the stronghold for television. With an increase in shopping channels selling goods of an inferior nature and television programs designed more around the commercials that are between the programming instead of the actual content, television in Canadamerica becomes even more addicting and intoxicating to the mind, body, and soul. This concept can also be noticed in popular North American sports like NASCAR and the National Football League. Even international sports such as the World Cup and The Olympic Games has become commercialized and a venue for advertising. Parents wishing to send their children to Ivy league universities, however, tend to choose to send their children to schools which do not use television in the curriculum. The SAT tests now include specific elements to test for attention deficit, which many scientists believe are caused not just by fizzy drinks, but also by excess exposure to television. So even in Canadamerica, the tide is turning against television.

2040 and beyond

Finally the criminalization of television in Canadamerica, and in effect world-wide occurs in the year 2040 due to an a U-turn in governmental policy (the Eurasian Union would make the deciding vote in the United Nations to criminalize television forever). Just months prior to the complete ban on television, there was almost no educational content on broadcast television. The final Super Bowl ever to be televised would be Super Bowl LXXIX which would take place at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, Germany. In order to keep the attention of viewers, television is using excessive realistic violence, strong sexual content, and graphic language (i.e., god damn, f***ing) in all forms of shows. This applies equally to live action shows in addition to traditional cell animation and Japanese anime shows. Computer graphic images have an uncanny ability to create an almost endless stream of such images. Shows that do not have realistic violence, strong sexual content, graphic language or all three become unpopular with the masses and are relegated to becoming "children's entertainment" or "family friendly entertainment" shown on either weekday afternoons or Saturday mornings before one o'clock in the afternoon. Similar programming are shown on channels such as PBS (which some way tried to work its way through the TV ban with their "quality programming" and "educational content") or on religious TV networks.

Previously banned or restricted programming (for portraying an excessive amount of graphic violence and/or sexual content) in the 1990s and 2000s becomes "family entertainment" by the looser standards of the 2030s. Analysis by AI datamining programs shows that the cost of such television on society justifies an outright ban. Not only that, but analysis shows that criminalization is necessary too, as was hinted by the German study, a ban as of the same kind as used for illegal and controlled drugs. Canadian television will simply take longer to turn the perverted into the family-friendly. The only nation in where television is not banned is the United Republic of Puerto Rico, in where news programs are still on air to keep the population aware of national and international events, and in some portions of Japan, Antarctica, Oceania (such as Fiji, Tonga, American Samoa, Pitcarin Island, Micronesia, and Kirabiti) and Eastern Europe.

Spacefaring people don't need television for entertainment. Exploring distant galaxies, discovering new civilizations, and seeing ruins of ancient galactic civilizations will make an organization like Starfleet and Starfleet Academy possible with the next 200-400 years.

Results of the worldwide television ban

  • People will stop consuming soft drinks and go back to drinking water permanently due to the lack of television advertising. Nanotechnology and 3D Printing will provide an unlimited supply of food, water, materials, fabrics, fuel, and electricity for the masses to enjoy necessities and luxuries (besides television) which will be almost free of charge by the year 2040. By the year 2105, the average woman wears a size 6 dress as opposed to a size 14 dress in the year 2007. Caveat - due to greater gender equality, by 2105 that size 6 dress is actually more often a size 6 pair of jeans made from genetically modified organic (GMO) cotton.
    • As more people live in urban areas (with some sort of sewer service) by 2040 as opposed to rural areas (with free well water), municipalities will continue to charge for water usage even though water is no longer in limited supply.
  • The Olympic Games loses 2-3 billion viewers. It reverts from an international cavalcade of sports for the masses to an international athletic forum for the businessmen and the wealthy elite. Only a select few can afford the now much increased travel costs; completely blocking access to the middle class and the working class (except for those actually participating in the games and immediate family members of the athletes).
  • Cinema makes somewhat of a comeback. People flock to the movie theatres again. By the year 2034, film making and photography will become completely computerized; there will be no need for human photographers or human movie actors by the middle of the 21st century. Film festivals become more popular with film makers talking with their audiences after a show. To be sure some film also suffers from some of the same problems identified in television - however the bulk of films require longer attention span than television does, and distribution channels, being controlled by enthusiasts rather than by advertisers, ensure that films have a very different dynamic to the worst of television.
    • Most of the highest-paying movie screenplay writers of the 2040s will be black females with super looks, preferably Jewish or Muslim, who speak English and Spanish.
  • NASCAR will show all of its weekly Google Cup, Xfinity, and Truck Series races at all the local movie theatres. Sporting events will become more affordable and more cheaper, and going to local sporting events will become nighttime entertainment for many people during the NASCAR season along with other sports. Free admission will be granted provided that people come in the movie theatre wearing at least two items of NASCAR merchandise along with the merchandise of other sports such as football or baseball. Movie theatres will also show the Super Bowl and other nation wide sporting events. The 2050 Winter Olympic Games will be the first Olympic games to be shown in the movie theatres.
  • Disney and Nickelodeon will indirectly benefit from the criminalization of television. Seeing that mature subject matter led to the criminalization of television, a short-lived fad will see all films "G" and "PG" rated for a brief duration of time. "PG-13" and "R" rated films will become "just another device of the Vulgar 20th Century." Pay-per-view movies (regardless of the production companies) are pre-screened by government authorities. All sexual content and graphic violence are removed for the movie can be approved for pay-per-view performance.
  • Radio will make a huge comeback and the radio won't just be used for music as it was in the earlier end of the 21st Century. Pre-television era radio shows and talk radio will become the norm for many nighttime entertainment along with listening to radio off of the internet for free or for a low price. Satelite radio will be a standard for radio and prices for satelite radio recievers will be extremely cheap. Reading will continue and many great books will come out, since people won't have television to entertain them. YouTube and video sharing sites on the internet will still exist, and that will be the only form of television, but many things on the internet video world will be outlawed, especially classic television reruns.
    • Surprisingly enough, game shows with an element of skill like the The Price is Right (originally produced by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman) manages to evade the television ban by labelling themselves as "interactive gambling entertainment" as opposed to being a "television program." Along with Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, live episodes are streamed through the Internet to most of the civilized universe until they finally cancelled the show on January 1, 3100.
  • Information technology becomes the #1 employer worldwide with the electronics industry is the #2 employer. The automobile and aerospace industries would be tied for third. Information technology is immune from the economic booms and busts because the price-performance ratio will make all electronic gadgets almost free of charge by the year 2040. Wikipedia becomes the second most popular web site in the world and Google becomes the most popular web site in the world as people start to look for information on the Internet (in order to fill the void that banning television will inevitable cause to the few educational programs that the networks still permit to air prior to the international ban in the year 2040).
  • The pornography industry will decline as television and DVD declines, Many people that are used to watch pornography will have to watch it off the internet or go to late night XXX movies at the movie theatre. People will begin to have the Playboy magazine underneath their bed once again.
  • DVDs will still be common after the television broadcast ban, while DVD players were banned in the year 2048 as people were watching retro television series off ebay or the internet.
  • Alcohol and cigarette consumption drops after the television ban. Many people tend to drink alcoholic beverages while watching TV and TV commercials increased alcohol sales. Bars and clubs typical have television to supplement drinking which increased the popularity of bars, especially during sporting events.
  • Fast food consumption dropped exponentially after the TV ban. TV has become a venue for fast food advertisment and without the influence of TV to increase fast food sales, fast food restaurants had an significant drop in sales and some minor outlets had become out of business.
  • Health and fitness become more important along with more outdoor activities. Children begin to play outside once again because there is no TV to keep them confined to their living room. Imaginative play and creativity increases because many play activities were based on TV shows instead of actually imagination. Gym memberships rise 500% because of the ban.

Clothing standards

Standards for sizing clothing will change to reflect the attitudes of a television-free society. The adjustments will help to curb obesity in children/young adults in addition to encouraging older adults to lose weight acquired while watching television all these years.

2013 Clothing Size 2105 Clothing Size Ideal demographic
XXXS XXS supermodels and celebrities
XXS XS older supermodels and celebrities
XS S female fitness gurus
S M normal people
M L "slightly above average people"
L XL "above average people"
XL XXL rarely used post-2040
XXL XXXL almost never used post-2040

Attempts to Lift The Ban

Around the year 2060, a younger generation of people started to discover illegal retro television shows off the internet. Television ban protests take place around the year 2063, but many government officials worldwide rejected lifting the ban. Television protests become more violent, and many lawsuits were filed. During the Television Era, movie theater attendance has dropped significantly, but after the Television Ban, movie theater attendance has skyrocketed to the level that movie theaters were starting to become overcrowded. To fix the issue, movie theaters has increased their ticket prices, which resulted in more people wanting a cheaper alternative to entertainment which makes them demand TV. Movie theater attendance has especially become a problem during sporting events and The Olympic Games. Movie theaters have become too loud during major sporting events.

In 2071, the Television Ban was even brought to the Supreme Court to see if it is against our constuitional rights. After many court cases, the television ban was lifted, but only under very strict circumstances. Television was limited to only to news, informational, and educational purposes and only the higher classes and educational/government instiutions were only allowed to watch television. 2078 was a year when the television ban was lifted, but the standards of television were similar to those of the 1950s. The 2080s saw a complete revival of pre-2040 television (with extra sexual content and violence); which resulted in a permanent television ban in 2090. The official "sunset date" of this "permanent television ban" is December 31, 2189. 

See also

Scenario: Television ban for an alternative non-RyansWorld view of thinking about the criminalization of television

External links

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