Books for Everyone!

Presidents' Day 2021

Home Theatre Update: The A-V Snobs

Whilst browsing the online pix at Naturwood to find a great deal on a hallway corner table (something of quality, wooden and round and Made in The U.S.A.), I took a detour and perused the Entertainment Centers.

The Entertainment Center presently centers around the Audio-Visual Elitist, the A-V Snob, the person who simply must have the latest technologies, even if their capabilities do not mesh. In fact, the more the digital gears do not engage, the more the A-V Snob buys those disparate parts. Being at odds with your senses is a way of life for a certain type of highbrow; back in the 1970s, he flamboyantly sprung for the Giant Speaker, the size of a Yugo, which was The In-Thing.

My “home theatre” consists of a newer, and larger, 42-inch “wide-screen”. This 4K flat screen is artistically perched atop an oak library table, with a horse blanket atop it to conceal the ugly thing.

I have always concealed the boxy televisual screen with some sort of aesthetic cloaking device. In the olden days, there was The TV Quilt. Friends would walk around the family room, whispering to one another: “I don’t think She owns one.” Meaning a TV. After enough tantalizing time had been given to their perplexed search for the television, I would unveil the cathode-ray tube. (The quilt functioned extremely well to shield the dust-magnet screen of the Zenith.)

There were astonished widened eyes all around the room. This routine was not quite the Dance of the 7 Veils, but I got a real kick out of the game called “Where’s the TV?”

Is there anything more horrifying than the egregious sight of the flat-screen mounted onto the rock fireplace mantel, or on the wall anywhere, but, most ominously, opposite The Bed — or above it! Or displayed in the middle of a humongous bookcase that does not even have real books, but those cardboard faux-library volumes?

Antique French faux-library books are selling like crêpes to American dunderheads. Why, you can build an entire phoney library, filling an entire wall that has somehow escaped the Flat-Screen! An entire industry has been built around ignorami trying to look learned and literate. Being open-minded = being plugged-in! The size of the erudite IQ is the equivalent of pixels per thousand.

The phoney leather book-boxes are enough to oppress the heart of any true book lover. The entire library of an A-V Snob is digital, in the same way that her life, and her body, are disposable. Lots of passionate souvenirs to treasure and hug in that sterile haven.

Being the Focus of Attention, in the Middle of Everyone’s View is the goal here. Make no mistake about it: Attention whores wide-screen galore. And Surround-Sound! There is no escaping Her or Him — or their giga-gear. The entire Surround-Sound Entertainment Center is constructed around and upon this one premise:

An egomaniac must have more and more sensory input to his ginormous ego.

I just want to get away, far far away from the sight, and the sound, of it all.

The Surround-Sound Entertainment Center is an architectural atrocity that becomes especially appalling when it is fashioned and fabricated by Stickley. Fine wood with infinite culture at an exorbitant price, offering three shelves and a quarter-sawn oak console top for the A-V Snob. I’m sure Gustav is rolling over in his grave.

The lowest shelf is reinforced, likely with steel, to soldier the load of a 60+ pound Audio-Visual receiver. This massive generator of heat is a sound amplifier that has grown to Orwellian proportions in the Home Theatre of the 9-Speaker Surround Sound.

There is nothing like a quiet night at the home-movies in this setting! Because there is no quiet, anywhere, in the home! No corner of the room can flee the full reverb of an in-home rock concert with CGI effects.

The next shelf, the second shelf, accommodates the Blu-ray player of standard size, but the player has been augmented, if not weaponized, for Wi-fi capability. The Internet radio stations come whizzing in during any moment when the Flat-Screen is not busily engaged in outdoing the Neighbor’s QLED (Quantum dot LED).

I just had to research this most recent resolution fad which is 2 levels above High Definition, something I’d just gotten used to; and, at times, disliked, because the sight of the grain of the heavy makeup on the aging star-skin is jarring. HDTV was, nonetheless, tolerable for certain details I preferred not to see, but which my eyes could not escape. 4K becomes visual TMI in no time!

QLED, the unparalleled visual and auditory adventure from the comfort of your living room, or home theatre, is available in 4K or 8K, and from 43” all the way to 98”. The A-V Snob will soon need an entire one-room house just for watching whatever is playing on his drive-in theatre-sized flat screen.

The next shelf, #3, of the Stickley monstrosity supports the cable or satellite box. That feature is designed for those slow-to-change people who have not (yet) cut the cord. From the looks of this techno-gear balancing act, those individuals have not only refused to unplug, they’ve exponentially invested in more plugs! How sad, to plunge-bet more deeply into a rapidly dying medium.

The very top surface of the colossal console forms the platform for the Flat Screen.

I had thought that the trend was consolidation of devices and capabilities. Nooooooo.

The marketing mania presently peddles, frantically and shrilly, more and more levels of dynamics and visual bits than the current equipment can possibly receive. The A-V Snob sits there, smack-dab in the middle of his fake-reality, with a main, equidistant horizontal speaker, a Center Channel, for the dialogue — because the musical soundtrack has to be played, separately, on yet another channel for an attempt at coherent listening. The left-speaker/right-speaker placement, however, only worsens the auditory function by inhibiting and muddying the clarity of the dialogue.

My hunch is the A-V Snob is not really into dialogue: she prefers to do all the talking, via moronic monologue.

The requirement for after-market purchases is now built into the Digital DNA of the Home Theatre. I am lucky to own a flat-screen that actually plays sound from a small speaker built into the frame. Already, upon purchase, that model became outmoded.

I wonder, at times, if the A-V Snob can really hear at all. Or even wants to hear . . . actual sound.

The worst aspect of this technological race to electronically outpace everyone else is the fact that the quality of the audio and visual components do NOT improve because of all of these peripheral devices. It may be a shock for some to hear this naked truth, but LOUDER is not better in terms of auditory excellence. Blasting the happening throughout the room — and house — does not enhance the experience. Unless, of course, the need to feel CGI as real-life has overtaken the human psyche, and the sound effects must also be unreal. It used to be said that drinking dulls the senses; currently the digital apparatus does that job, along with some martinis and Long Island teas on the side.

Viewing a masterpiece of a painting, such as one by Monet or by any other French Impressionist, is most enjoyable from a distance. A microscopic examination of brush strokes does not cultivate any artistic or even practical appreciation of the hand of the Master Painter. In the same way, blaring acoustics equates to noise, expensive noise too. The point, though, for these Wi-fi, Hi-fi frauds is the expense.

The brainless spending of certain Americans to keep up with the housing-Joneses did not end with the Subprime collapse in 2008. That disordered sense of self merely waited, however impatiently, for another chance, a brand-new opportunity to get exploited by the re-imaged merchandising ghouls who feast upon stupidity. Such an ever-expanding ego-driven consumption of material goods in America is very necessary for an evil Communist empire, using communications to fleece the rest of the world; and for the Chi-Comm corruption cohorts in their dark shadows, the Americans in-name-only who remain masked and unknown, at least for now.

Digital-world must survive, somehow. At the moment, it can only do it in the most foul of ways. The flash-the-cash crowd in this country are only too giddy about being obnoxiously gamed to grab possession of the Next State-of-the-Art Expensive New Thing.

Where all of this upping the amps leads to, I do not fully know. Distractions and diversions through digital devices can last just so long, and then . . . the real world emerges to stun the cowards, and to strengthen the strong who persist in their belief in fair play, not re-re-re-play known as pay-to-play. For some persons, when the inevitable occurs, they are gob-smacked. For others, such as myself, I wonder why it took so darn long in arriving!

Within the past two years, since I initially wrote this July 2018 essay, “The Home Theatre,” I have completely unplugged from all news media. Even my laptop is not used as a cheating device to sneak a peek at the fabricated outrage, created to cover-up the real outrage. My emails get filtered and trashed almost reflexively with nary a glance at the sham hysteria.

I also stopped watching NHL, the televised hockey game around which I used to schedule my writing, my cooking, sometimes even my sleeping. The time came for this A-V peon to sit back and relax, and live, just live. There’s not much more to it, other than contemplating, once in a while, if the insanity out-there in the counterfeit cosmos of a spurious “reality” has come to an end, crashing to a halt. Or, as my senses, ESP and otherwise, intuit, the vicious afflictions grind themselves down into dusty dirty oblivion. Then the futile selling of fugly revisionist history will begin; online it’s already underway and failing fast.

Digital consumerism helps some people to be distracted from reality. Books can serve the same purpose. The key difference between electronic escapism, and settling into the enchanting narration and spell-binding dialogue of a good piece of fiction is the supreme and higher use of the good old thinking machine, the brain. Someone who loads up The Home Theatre with the newest, the latest, the greatest hey-wow, the most expensive, the most showy, and the most unnecessary high-tech gizmos — all for the low purpose of displaying how much he is on the cutting edge of artificial intelligence — only broadcasts his dullness of mind.

Throughout my life, I have always chosen to shield myself from prissy dullards with mean streaks. The venal boredom that they exhale is too stifling for me and my senses. My senses only make sense — when I ignore the racket of being told what I need, what I do not need, what I must buy, what I already ought to have bought, what everyone else has that I need to have, and what no one dares to live without.

I dare to live without the hucksters and their high-priced hooey that aims to put my money in their wallets. Today, and every day, I celebrate a real President, by purchasing that delightful piece of furniture — Made in The U.S.A.