Thursday, August 23, 2007

Who says there's nothing on TV?

Internet TV, that is.

Well, the other night I couldn't sleep, so I got up and read for a while, and what was lying around handy was The Economist, which is one rag in which I even read the tiny little B&W ads in the back of the book.

And there I found an add for Supreme Master Television

A new satellite channel broadcasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with a variety of engaging programs in English with German, French, Italian, Spanish, Persian, Arabic, Russian, Chinese, Korean and Aulacese subtitles. Being the ideal television channel airing throughout Europe that brings to your life nobility and spirituality.

Well, it wasn't just the Aulacase subtitles that got me hooked, it was idea that TV could bring my life nobility and spirituality.

Actually, I knew about spirituality on TV, having spotted Jerry Falwell et al. before they became household words. And I know there's a Catholic station that broadcasts the rosary. (Nothing new there: they used to do it on the radio.) But the spirituality isn't of that much interest to me.

But broadcast nobility.

I'm there.

There used to be less of a burden placed on TV. It was for entertainment. Sure, there was edification. Ed Sullivan had the Bolshoi Ballet alongside Ricky Lane and Vel-Vel. And I thought I was learning how Protestants lived by watching Leave It to Beaver and Ozzie and Harriet. But basically, TV was entertaining.

And there wasn't all that much of it. Three networks, flanked by some network-less local stations that broadcast bad kiddie shows ("Uncle Al, what a pal!") and old movies like The Attack of the Puppet People. Then PBS came around, and you could learn stuff you already knew (the alphabet) or didn't so much care to learn (French cuisine). Still, the TV menu was limited.

Now, of course, there's no end to "what's on," and - much as I'd like to be a big snob about it, I watch plenty: History Channel, pundits, HBO, movies-on-demand, Law & Order (of course I'm in love with Sam Waterston), and baseball.

But none of what I watch exactly translates into nobility, although not throwing a shoe at the screen the other night when Eric Gagne blew another save does, in fact, count in that direction.

So I was eager to see what Supreme Master Television had to offer.

Took a pass on cooking with the Supreme Master Ching Hai. After all, if I hadn't been willing to learn from The French Chef, I wasn't going to start supreme kitchen mastery at this point in my life.

Then I saw the question: Would you like to stop cruelty in this world?

Well, yes I would.

This led to a slide show that talked about flesh eating as the leading cause of death which, I guess, is true if you count animals.

It went on to encourage me to Go Green, Go Veg, and watch An Inconvenient Truth. Well, one-and-a-half out of three ain't bad. I'm going a shade of green, and I've seen the movie.

But by this point, I was beginning to feel aggrieved that folks in Europe were getting to see all this good stuff on TV, while I was stuck watching slide shows and jittery streamed videos. I mean, the production values weren't much higher than the cheesiest of low-budget local TV shows of my childhood.

Still, there was more to keep me occupied, and one such was clicking on the URL for godsdirectcontact.

Even though I wasn't seeking spirituality, how could I resist godsdirectcontact. This might be the proof I've been hungering for all these years.

God's direct contact was, alas, a let down.

The Supreme Master is just peddling "an inspirational series called "Models of Success," based on the lives of accomplished individuals, who through their vision, passion and determination have pursued and fulfilled their noble dreams." Ho-insomnia-hum.

Then I learned that the spiritual elevation of the earth has been increasing, scientists have spent more time researching the aspects of science which are closely aligned with the divine. And as a result, scientists have made some amazing discoveries, such as: one particle existing simultaneously in 2 places, the third eye, the aura, the power of prayer and the zero point field, which contains infinite energy. It seems we have reached the Golden Age where Science and Spirituality walk together hand in hand.

Well, tell that to the Intelligent Design folks.

The Supreme Master made one good point:

This scientific revolution is of great importance because as humans become more scientifically advanced, we will require great wisdom in order to use their technology for peaceful and constructive means.

I'm with you there, Supreme Master.

More vegetarianism. Meditation.  Enlightenment. Inner Light. More vegetarianism.

I'll admit. If I really thought about it, I'd probably become a vegetarian. Not a vegan, mind you. But a vegetarian. I'm not a huge meat eater to begin with - that delish anti-pasto with the Serrano ham the other night aside - so I could probably make it on veggies. But I would miss hamburgers, salmon, swordfish, chicken goulash, and that once-a-year Italian sub from the Venice Cafe on Cambridge Street.

Anyway, the Supreme Master is not looking for "for followers, worshippers, or disciples, or establishing an organization with a dues paying membership. She will not accept money, prostrations, or gifts from you, so you do not need to offer these to Her."

Good thing, because I was not really in the market to become a follower. I was just having trouble sleeping. (Probably because I'm a meat eater who hasn't yet found enlightenment. Unfortunately, I'm just not the type.)

In any case, I came away a bit miffed that I hadn't really been ennobled by my experience.

Maybe it would have worked better if I'd actually been able to watch a show or two on real TV.

Maybe it reads better in Aulacese.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------Admit it. You, too, are wondering just what Aulacese is. I had guessed at first that it was a Filipino dialect, but when I saw it written, it looks more like Vietnamese. Sure enough, a bit of googling determined this to be the case. Curiously, almost all the Google and Yahoo searches yielded up links to the Supreme Master in some way shape or form, including links to recipes on how to make gluten and tofu at home.

I was on to something with the Filipino connection, however. One link led to a report on Imelda Marcos' instrumental role in providing refuge for some Aulaceses boat people. Imelda, dear sensitive soul, responded to "a tear-jerking report from Tung An [which] revealed that five people divided a banana for one day’s meal. This caused Mrs. Marcos to cry." (This, too, was on a Supreme Master related site. She apparently owns Aulacese.)

Eerily, the first words I saw written in Aulacese were "Bhi Quyet." Is the Supreme Master telling me to, more or less, shut up? Perhaps she really is godsdirectcontact.

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