The Narcotic of Endless Spectatorship

September 6, 2011

“Finally he decided his only choice was to get drunk, to control through oblivion what he could not control any other way.  Only the oblivion had never come, just this numbness that let him sit hour after hour watching motion pictures forming soundlessly in the dark.  He had the television tuned to one of Los Angeles’s non-network channels and all evening there had been nothing but reruns of old series, Ben Casey and The Fugitive and The Invaders, a short history of a pathetic people’s pathetic myths, the TV seasons with which they had measured out their lives, happily surrendering the treasures of community – family, church, club, bar – for the narcotic of endless spectatorship.  And it infected Hook with despair, almost an illness of despair, for he realized that he had come to despise so many things about his own country and its people, that they had settled for so little.”

- Newton Thornburg, To Die in California (1973)

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One Response to “The Narcotic of Endless Spectatorship”

  1. Mike Rice Says:

    “Measuring out your life in Coffeespoons of Outer Limits, Twilight

    Zone and Tales of Texas Rangers!” T. S. Eliot


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