Columns » Kenneth Cleaver

Consumer Coorespondent:

Kenneth Cleaver

November 7, 2003

Cable One Corporate Office

Attn: Marketing

1314 North Third Street

Phoenix, AZ 85004

To Whom It May Concern:

Among my demographic -- middle class, college educated, politically liberal -- nothing taunts and tortures like the prospect of cable television.

My people yearn for cable but can't let go of the sense that it's just too indulgent. Their fear is that it will serve as a gateway drug to a lifestyle of slothful consumerism. After a few months, this logic goes, they'll have stopped reading, hosting dinner parties, fretting over their standing within the meritocracy and having interesting sex.

Instead of watching television, this cultural superego tells them they should be training for triathlons, reading great books, and plotting obscure vacations.

This cultural anxiety disorder can be corrected in several ways. One is to encourage cable providers to distribute an I Deserve Cable self-help book to first-time subscribers. Another is to commission a Ken Burns-styled documentary whose primary message will be that for hundreds of years Americans struggled with minimal home entertainment options. A more recent generation endured a lack of remote controls and specialty networks. Therefore, it's our historic duty to enjoy what our ancestors struggled without. The film should also feature testimony from graying salt-of-the-earth types who mourn for the television they never had time to watch.

These are great ideas and I expect significant remuneration. But we can discuss this with our respective attorneys when I'm in your office. Which should be very soon.


Kenneth H. Cleaver

reference to letter

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