Letter to a idiot box gone dark


Oh, idiot box, you were always my favourite. I defended you and gave you a preferential status among all the plug-in beings that lived at home. Sitting in front of you meant savouring the break I stole from the clock at the end of the day, moments drawn with information and entertainment that made me appreciate you. You and me, and the armchair as a companion, nothing more... that's enough.

But for some time now I haven't been able to find you, I don't understand you, we simply don't connect. Sitting in front of you and looking at you is becoming an exercise of emotional hardness where the emotions that gave meaning to our relationship hardly find any space.

It is true that Covid-19 is affecting and transforming us as a society, and to a certain extent, it is blurring part of what we were or dreamed of being, and you are no stranger to this. But when I try to look for a dose of current affairs in you, I feel exposed to a cocktail of news, debates and adulterated round tables, where the struggle of your networks seems to be centred on seeing who can offer the most apocalyptic news. Even hope dressed up as a vaccine is transformed into pessimism; you tell me that there are not enough of them, you delight in the conflicts between governments and pharmaceutical companies, you doubt their efficacy, you make me angry by telling me how certain politicians are vaccinated when it is not their turn... And if you talk to me about entertainment, you usually accompany it with ingredients in which sensationalism and yellowing sour the flavour I was hoping to find.

You talk to me about waves, as if Covid was a tracking study, about variants of the virus, numbers of infected people... and you do not realise the pandemic that is hidden, that does not translate into daily figures and that comes with the force of a tsunami rising from the depths of the ocean: the psychological crisis of society. A crisis that you could counteract (and not favour) by showing what you once were: a box from which optimism and entertainment flowed, and around which the family gathered to embrace a contest, a series, an illusion. But no; I have the feeling that you have chosen the path of despair and confrontation (like a good part of the media, I must say), and this makes me move further away from you every day.

Though to be fair, I still find a glimmer of light when I look at you. The blocks of ads you offer me among your blurry programmes start to feel like a breath of fresh air, a reel of brightness inside the gloomy box you have become (that is if you don't offer them to me with tireless repetition, of course, as it also happens in certain programmatic proposals in the Apps... but this is another topic I will tell you about another day).

What a thing, isn't it! I used to consider advertisements as the unwelcome friend that
came to break our moments of intimacy, but now it turns out that they help me disconnect and give me the hope for thinking that there is another world where creativity, innovation and evolution are still present and that there still is in our society a desire to be part of what we used to be. They evade me, I enjoy them, I can't deny it. And I would even say that I pay more attention to them than before.

That's why I ask you to tell your advertisers to continue to be present; they should be aware that they can make us see that life doesn't stop, that we have to keep on walking, creating, proposing, building and transforming a Present without longing for the Past and believing in the future.

A product, a service, a message of understanding or an action of commitment are keys that can make us connect and believe more in them at a time when we are so hungry for illusions, and where our desires crack with every dark news that you emphasise, dear box.

To say goodbye, and since there are no secrets between us, I'll tell you that lately I've been
intimate with some platforms that cast siren songs at me with their series, their films, their new ways of talking to me; I'm sure you've heard of them - Netflix, Disney +, Amazon Prime, Twitch.... We are getting to know each other and I don't know where this will take us, but at least they offer me what I need and I like that.

But no, don't think that I'm going to abandon you now, because it's right now that the value of understanding, of the company of an embrace (even if it is from a distance) should be more present between us; I only ask you to listen to me because I feel we are losing the magic that used to give meaning to our bond.

No, you are no longer the silly, naïve box you once were. Now I feel you are dark, and that unsettles me, makes me doubt. I only hope you will reflect.

Even so, I still love you.