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Cable TV rates are a killer

By Ray Hanania

November 20, 2020

The presidential election results are meaningless for most of us. The media makes us think the election has meaning, but it really doesn’t.

In the end, whether Donald Trump or Joe Biden won Ñ the media says Biden won and no one has the right to challenge them without being bullied Ñ your life isn’t really going to change.

The real factor affecting our lives is the novel coronavirus. COVID-19 has changed our lives. Those who buy into the politics of the pandemic are dying. Failing to use face masks, maintaining social distancing or constantly washing hands pretty much increases the odds of fatality.

Most of us severely restrict our activities, working around the house, barbecuing in the backyard or spending time on the internet fuming over news, watching porn, envying our friends on Facebook or spewing hate on Twitter.

For the first time, I bought a pair of shoes off the internet. Great brand and a third of the price. I still spent money. For many of us, money is getting tight.

Some of us are spending time talking using technology like Zoom, which has taken online video conferencing to improved but very expensive heights. I host a live radio show in Detroit on Fridays using Zoom, and I stream the show on my Facebook page. The old way of actually talking to someone is more satisfying than tweeting stupidity, posting angry, meaningless comments or rolling out the photos on social media.

Of course, we spend a lot of time on the boob tube watching the “news.” It’s hard to find a good news channel that is objective or fair.

So, we hunt for entertainment. That’s getting difficult because Hollywood is not making movies. Plans to release the new 007 film were delayed until next year. A debate about diversity is slowing things down. Talent, not color, should drive movie success, but that’s no longer the case.

Our primary cable TV provider, Xfinity-Comcast, isn’t good enough. Remove the crappy news programs, and the originality is gone. We’re left watching re-runs.

My re-run preferences are fun. Nothing is better than the Golden Girls. Every line is a laugh. There is King of Queens, the modern day version of The Honeymooners. And there is Seinfeld, where “nothing” is more compelling than something.

Even then, powerful sitcoms are not enough to fill the empty void. The weekend is supposed to be when we relax, unwind and enjoy something. It’s an important social habit to pack our fun into the weekend. Separating the workweek and the weekend is important, especially when our options for travel have become a stay-cation.

We can order a pizza, or maybe cook our own special meal Ñ I make lamb-stuffed grape leaves or shrimp ceviche Ñ but we find ourselves left in front of the TV, where we waste a lot of time searching for something to watch. Something exciting.

It’s just not there. So, we do what we do whenever we face any crises these days. We spend money and subscribe to more cable TV options. I already pay $300 a month for Xfinity (phone, internet and cable access.) I added Apple TV, a little black box connected to the TV where I used to easily buy new movies and watch them from the comfort of my home.

Well, Apple TV is forcing you to purchase a new little black box for $200 Ñ for each TV – to access Apple+. That’s expensive. Then you have to subscribe for $15 a month to get access to the best shows.

There’s Hulu, AmazonPrime and Disney Plus. Each one is a costly monthly subscription. It all adds up. Other channels we get from Xfinity are also spinning off like Showtime, HBO, National Geographic, The History Channel. FX. They want you to pay more for the better programming.

They offer “basic” programming for the subscription and then charge you more for “better.” Yes. You have to pay a subscription fee in order to be able to pay more for the better programs and movies. Xfinity is also forcing you to pay more to watch better programs over their outrageous monthly fee!

Politicians don’t care about cable TV because the cable companies are pouring money into their campaign accounts. The line is getting crowded with lobbyists for the cable companies, insurance companies, auto industry, road contractors and other special interests. They all want their piece of our hard-earned tax dollars.

In the end, if coronavirus doesn’t get us, the “cost-virus” will. It won’t kill us right away. It will be a slow death as our pennies dribble out of our pocketbooks into the hands of others.

Maybe someone should make a movie about that!

(Check out more of Ray Hanania’s columns and writings on his website at Hanania.com.)

Ray Hanania’s column is just a fraction of the content that appears in this week’s print edition of the Greater Southwest News-Herald. Want to get the all the news? Pick up the Greater Southwest News-Herald on local newsstands for just 75 cents a copy. For greater savings and convenience, call (708) 496-0265 during weekday business hours and order a subscription by mail, delivered each week to your home or business.

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