There are certain things Americans take very seriously.
For instance, there has been controversy lately over the fact that the uniforms American athletes will be wearing at the Summer Olympics opening ceremonies were made in China. This irritates many people in our great nation, and they have taken to their Chinese-built smartphones to blog about their displeasure over this fact while drinking their Columbian-born coffee.
This notion is from an intense sense of nationalism, and I can appreciate that. The economy has been in the dumper for several years now, people are scrambling to find work and we see the clothing that will adorn our national heroes was farmed out to another country?
I’m as big a proponent of nurting a global economy as the next guy, and I understand that cheaper labor translates into lower costs, but I side with the annoyed on this topic. Certainly we could have found an American sweatshop filled with workers from Central and South America to have these constructed instead of overseas, right?
Of course, nationalistic concerns are not the only things that can get under Americans’ skins, as we all know. We love to argue. We love to complain. We love to boast about how much smarter we are than the decision-makers are in any field. If you don’t believe me, just walk into Kool Bean one morning and listen to the conversations at the front table. My goodness, if Ty finds one more thing to bellyache about in the morning ...
But I digress.
The list of things that irritate us is long and vast, and can really vary from one minute to the next, depending on whom you are talking with at the time. Some get upset about the weather. Others fume about politics, or the world of sports. We have freedom of expression in this country, and we find the need to practice that right every chance we get. It’s part of what makes us great.
But do you want to know one topic that can really get on the nerves of Americans everywhere?
Well, do you?
Television. To be more precise, television service.
Go anywhere you’d like from sea to shining sea. Stop in a barbershop in Iowa, a golf course in Florida or a tanning salon in California. Visit a cannery in Alaska, a diner in Rhode Island or a souvenir stand in New Mexico. Just wait silently for a lull in the conversation and fire out this little nugget: Do you guys have good cable service around here?
You see, nobody is ever happy with his or her cable provider. Too expensive. Don’t have the channels I want. Gave me a 14-hour window for a service call, then missed the window. To a lesser extent, that carries over to the satellite television providers, as well. They get upset over service interruptions or price hikes. Everyone hates the company that provides them television, but nearly everybody has a company to provide them television.
And if you’ve been watching the fight between DirecTV and Viacom lately, you’ve seen a tug-of-war that has left DirecTV customers fuming as vociferously as any cable customer I’ve ever encountered.
Viacom, the company that owns channels such as Comedy Central, MTV, BET and Nick at Nite, is demanding more money from DirecTV — as much as a 30-percent increase, according to the satellite provider. As a result, DirecTV customers have been without those Viacom channels for several days now.
The result has been expected.
People have been up in arms. You see, it doesn’t matter which side is right in this struggle. The fact is that those channels are not on the air right now for DirecTV customers, and that’s all they need to know, or really care about in the end.
I’m just grateful that NBC isn’t under the control of Viacom. Then how would all these people be able to enjoy our Chinese-made Olympics uniforms?