Watching CNN in airports is a pretty skeezy experience

I have been traveling recently and just transferred through several domestic airports.  One thing that struck me was the ubiquity of televisions blaring CNN.  Consent is a huge topic these days, driven in no small part by CNN itself.  I can't help but wonder: when exactly did I consent to being bombarded by CNN as a precondition to board a flight?  I would like to ask you: have you consented?  Has anyone?

As a student decades ago, I remember learning that in North Korea, it was required by law that every household display portraits of dictators Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il on their most prominent wall, preferably in the living room.  The wall must be devoid of other decorations, as not to threaten the primacy of the dictatorship.  I remember thinking at first that it was hilarious and then, as it truly sank in, how it became more and more horrifying.

Sitting in the boarding area waiting for my next flight, I thought about how Kim and Kim Junior might have interpreted our current airport reality.  It's likely they would have been overjoyed-- they did all they could with mere static portraits!  Imagine the possibilities with attractive people continuously parroting a script they did not write that can be changed at a minute's notice.  Airports are natural travel choke points that you can't realistically choose to avoid.  Perfect.

Against this backdrop, I invite you to undertake a thought experiment with me.  You are, after all, readers of American Thinker, a stalwart of free thought.  Every article here is a thought experiment, agree or disagree.  Let's dive in.

Imagine having zero capacity for critical thinking.  You think you've heard the term "critical thinking" before, but you're not sure what it really means.  You're not really sure of most things, actually.  Of course, you know stuff, a bunch of stuff, but it's not connected to any sort of fundamentals or really even any notion of "why"— it's just kind of floating out there.  You do know one thing for sure: that saying the right things goes a long way.

The parts of your brain needed for critical thinking were not developed by our school system.  Deriving ideas from fundamental concepts was never taught to you.  Your vocabulary is limited; every day, you see big words and don't know what they mean.  Sometimes you see words you think you know, but you're not sure.  Your understanding of sports is more akin to tribalism and does not include concepts such as sportsmanship or honor.  Moreover, your exclusive spectator experience of sports has taught you to simply pick a team and stick with it.

Think carefully about how a person like this sees CNN.  It's an absolute godsend: CNN tells you what is important and how you should talk about it.  CNN informs you of the limits of what is proper to say in public conversation, and it educates you on how to properly shame those on the outside of those limits.  It also tells you what is not important, because if it's not on CNN, it's not really news, right?  Even if you don't know much about what they're talking about, at least you can get a good idea of the latest desired consumer items during commercials.  Anyone seriously proposing to do away with this important public service must be an uncaring monster.

Just like North Korea, at first, it was hilarious, and then, as it sank in, it was more and more horrifying.  If Sun Tzu were here to advise us, I'm sure he would tell us that although we know ourselves, we do not truly know our enemy, and thus can expect for every step forward a step backward.

We can change this.  Let's get into good physical shape.  Many of us can start this process by walking a few miles per day.  Let's save our money and cancel cable TV, reducing their funding.  Let's build our savings so we can weather a storm or retain legal assistance whenever needed.  Let's get to a point where we begin speaking out and pushing back.  We did not choose this battle; this battle chose us.  Fear is a choice.

Image credit: Nicor via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0.

I have been traveling recently and just transferred through several domestic airports.  One thing that struck me was the ubiquity of televisions blaring CNN.  Consent is a huge topic these days, driven in no small part by CNN itself.  I can't help but wonder: when exactly did I consent to being bombarded by CNN as a precondition to board a flight?  I would like to ask you: have you consented?  Has anyone?

As a student decades ago, I remember learning that in North Korea, it was required by law that every household display portraits of dictators Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il on their most prominent wall, preferably in the living room.  The wall must be devoid of other decorations, as not to threaten the primacy of the dictatorship.  I remember thinking at first that it was hilarious and then, as it truly sank in, how it became more and more horrifying.

Sitting in the boarding area waiting for my next flight, I thought about how Kim and Kim Junior might have interpreted our current airport reality.  It's likely they would have been overjoyed-- they did all they could with mere static portraits!  Imagine the possibilities with attractive people continuously parroting a script they did not write that can be changed at a minute's notice.  Airports are natural travel choke points that you can't realistically choose to avoid.  Perfect.

Against this backdrop, I invite you to undertake a thought experiment with me.  You are, after all, readers of American Thinker, a stalwart of free thought.  Every article here is a thought experiment, agree or disagree.  Let's dive in.

Imagine having zero capacity for critical thinking.  You think you've heard the term "critical thinking" before, but you're not sure what it really means.  You're not really sure of most things, actually.  Of course, you know stuff, a bunch of stuff, but it's not connected to any sort of fundamentals or really even any notion of "why"— it's just kind of floating out there.  You do know one thing for sure: that saying the right things goes a long way.

The parts of your brain needed for critical thinking were not developed by our school system.  Deriving ideas from fundamental concepts was never taught to you.  Your vocabulary is limited; every day, you see big words and don't know what they mean.  Sometimes you see words you think you know, but you're not sure.  Your understanding of sports is more akin to tribalism and does not include concepts such as sportsmanship or honor.  Moreover, your exclusive spectator experience of sports has taught you to simply pick a team and stick with it.

Think carefully about how a person like this sees CNN.  It's an absolute godsend: CNN tells you what is important and how you should talk about it.  CNN informs you of the limits of what is proper to say in public conversation, and it educates you on how to properly shame those on the outside of those limits.  It also tells you what is not important, because if it's not on CNN, it's not really news, right?  Even if you don't know much about what they're talking about, at least you can get a good idea of the latest desired consumer items during commercials.  Anyone seriously proposing to do away with this important public service must be an uncaring monster.

Just like North Korea, at first, it was hilarious, and then, as it sank in, it was more and more horrifying.  If Sun Tzu were here to advise us, I'm sure he would tell us that although we know ourselves, we do not truly know our enemy, and thus can expect for every step forward a step backward.

We can change this.  Let's get into good physical shape.  Many of us can start this process by walking a few miles per day.  Let's save our money and cancel cable TV, reducing their funding.  Let's build our savings so we can weather a storm or retain legal assistance whenever needed.  Let's get to a point where we begin speaking out and pushing back.  We did not choose this battle; this battle chose us.  Fear is a choice.

Image credit: Nicor via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0.