As we climb through the bruising media junkyard that currently engulfs us all we pretend quite efficiently that it makes no difference that the sludge at the bottom of our feet does not impact us all. Through our silence we acquiesce to the permeating idea that what we take in through our eyes and ears is not as impactful as what we put in our mouths and swallow down our gullets—and yet deep inside we all know that is not true.
Of course, we all have our guilty media pleasures. We all take a glimpse of mindless Kardashian moments or ogle partisan pundits pretending that they are analysts as they scream at each other, demanding civility and decrying the decaying state of social discourse. Like candy and coca-cola, today’s basic programming provides a bit of pleasure and a short high and is non lethal in small doses. The problem occurs when we consume a steady diet of the ideas that people are famous and rich because they are famous and rich or that a suit and tie and a loud voice makes you an authority. Like a supersized diet of fast food, the media that we intake is clogging our civic arteries and corroding our civil organs. There comes a time to change what we intake and that time is long past due.
We are told that we are cynical and that the steady diet of nonnourishing infotainment is all we will consume. However, the fact is that we have seen time and time again that uplifting programing—both factual and fantastical— can be successful and, if done well extremely, entertaining. This is what we call Feel Good TV.
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I am part of a group that knows that this is the time for a supplemental diet of Feel Good TV. Why? Because right now Americans are hungry for it.
I am part of a group that knows that this is the time for a supplemental diet of Feel Good TV. Why? Because right now Americans are hungry for it. Despite the Great Recession and the difficulties in our educational and justice systems, Latinos and African Americans are more optimistic than the general market—and, while not naive, they are also not cynical. In fact, women from these minority groups have led and been joined by their general market sisters in the making of a $10 billion a year self-improvement industry.
Realistic optimism is growing as we move away from a no growth job market and a new generation of aspirational Americans decide that they will remake our country within a new framework—a framework that while it values individual contributions fully understands the power of collective action. While the aspirationals are criticized for retreating maybe too often into their solitary mobile devices, they often use the digital tools to create and source new inspiring projects with crowds of total strangers. It turns out that collaboration is no threat for those optimistic about their own individual futures.
I am honored to be working with four aspirational americans who themselves have built brands, created art, inspired laughter, and made social contributions. Sheila E. , Daisy Fuentes,Peter George Lopez, and Peter Michael Escovedo have already made their mark on the cultural landscape and now they are about to change it. While the five of us may be all very different from each other in some ways, we all agree on one thing: The media does not reflect the values of the people that aspire to move our communities forward. Time has told us that those who are inspired will become be the next generation of leaders, thinkers, workers, and entrepreneurs. Aspirational Americans must be nurtured and not pandered to. While they seek to be uplifted and inspired they demand that it be on a factual basis not based on syrupy philosophies that would have them wait for a trickle or turn from their values.
Over the next year we will be gathering, producing, and sharing content with you about real people doing real things that have a real positive impact on their communities. We will be sharing comedies that refresh and dramas that make us reflect on our better selves. It is a tall order but it is an important time at a critical juncture - and, hey, who doesn't like a little feel good tv?