Dear Dirty America


Imagining A World W/O TV

June 05
19:03 2013

The best way to use your TV?

(reprinted from The Book of Shards)

Not only can I imagine a world w/o TV, I was raised in a world without TV, and I lived in a world with TV without TV and still do; but not free of the impact of TV.

TV is the master tool of Corporate Culture, which is the guardian ad litem of Commercialism. TV has put its brand on everyone.


This is a spinoff on E Unibus Pluram, David Foster Wallace’s novella-length essay about TV and its implications for fiction writers.

Wallace was an avid TV watcher, your typical six-hours-a-day viewer, and also a writer of no mean talent, a brilliant mind. He rightly states that there’s hardly an author writing today (and this was 1990) whose writing isn’t referential to the world TV creates, a blend of gelded news, soaps, Christian mega-church fundamentalism, documentaries giving token nods to high culture, pop music extravaganzas and gonzo sports– all of it stitched together by sixty-second commercials.

But a point Wallace fails to make is that although it may be unavoidable that TV leaves a welt on everyone’s soul, to have a welt on your soul doesn’t mean you’ve necessarily abdicated ownership of your soul to what put it there.

There was in 1990, and there are today, writers who transform the stuff of TV into a weapon that undermines Corporate Culture in ways that Corporate Culture cannot identify, because the place these writers are coming from is beyond TV’s comprehension, and TV is Corporate Culture’s seeing-eye dog.

It was only after reading Wallace’s essay that I realized he wasn’t one of them.

Find John Bennett’s novels, short stories, and shards at Hcolom Press. You can contact him, or get on his Shards list at

Read a review of his novel Children of the Sun & Earth here


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  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous June 05, 23:32

    A mind like a literary straight razor, John Bennett takes no prisoners. Been reading his work now for 47 years, and even when he’s on the ropes, as he has been many times, he’s still dangerous.

    Reply to this comment

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