Julie Seedorf: How are we influenced by what we watch?

Published 10:00 pm Sunday, June 17, 2018

Guest Column, By Julie Seedorf

I am becoming a conspiracy theorist. It all began when I watched “Designated Survivor” on television this past year. Recently we dropped our cable but added streaming services to our arsenal of television shows. Did I just use the word arsenal when referring to the television I watch? It proves my point. Since I like Kiefer Sutherland I decided to binge watch the series “24.” It originally premiered on Fox Nov. 6, 2001, and ended on May 24, 2010. Kiefer Sutherland plays counterterrorist agent Jack Bauer and each season is 24 episodes with each episode representing one hour in a day.

I am now at season five, episode 4. The longer I watch the show the more suspicious I am of the world. The series is violent. I close my eyes and don’t watch the interrogations. But yet the story draws me in. It is possibly the mystery writer in me or it is indoctrination. Can someone be brainwashed to believe that which is not true just by watching a show on television over and over again?

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This program took place in the early 2000s and is fiction, yet we have seen some of the occurrences mimic real life in recent years and because of it I see the world differently.

Was the raccoon that climbed the UBS Tower in St. Paul fitted with tracking devices or camera’s implanted into its body so that when it landed on the ledges and peered into the windows it took pictures or recorded classified information? Were those devices undetected by those that trapped the raccoon because it was so unthinkable? Now this raccoon is at a private place in Shakopee to live out the rest of its life. Was this a covert operation and whoever picked up the raccoon removed the information before letting it loose?

I don’t trust my co-workers anymore. One of them might be trying to plant a bug on my computer and steal my files on poisons I use to kill the characters in my books and then use the plot on someone so the authorities tie it to my books so I might be implicated. I can see the headlines: “Old Granny steals secret information with an umbrella.” But wait — I am my own co-worker, so does that mean I can’t trust me? Maybe I am doing things I don’t know I am doing?

After binge-watching this show for so long I see conspiracy in the news stories, too. All of a sudden we are friends with China, North Korea and Russia. All of our allies are fading away. Is this a big plot to take over America? Are our government officials working to overthrow our democracy? Is the White House chef actually a chef? Or is he or she disguised as a chef to cover their outer space alien body and it is actually the aliens from space that are here and going to take over?

I can’t buy a newer car. My 12-year-old car stays. What if they hack the car’s computer systems and send a code to stop all the cars on the road immediately and cause widespread mayhem and destruction? My old car would be immune.

My neighbor’s cat has been hanging around frequently. Is its tag a listening device, so they can find out the exact moment when dinner is ready so they know when to drop over and get a free meal?

Never fear, I only have five more seasons to watch. That is only 120 episodes. So my paranoia will probably get worse the next few weeks. If you see me lurking around corners and checking out my surroundings before I enter a building, or if I eye you suspiciously please overlook it and know this won’t last.

My next binge is HGTV, “House Hunters.” Real estate agents be prepared. I will then change from being a conspiracy theorist to a house hunter theorist. But it will only last until my next binge watching choice. I won’t be buying because I will never find the perfect home and I do have to take into account that my husband isn’t watching with me as he is binging on “Blue Bloods.” We do have to remember he is also the proverbial remote addict with channel switching being his mode of operandi. He cannot be indoctrinated even into golf because he was trained by that remote control to never stay in one place on television long enough for him to be taken over by the agents in his television.

In all seriousness I do wonder if all of us are influenced by what we are watching and the method in which we are seeing the news. Is it possible to get us to believe something even when our eyes or our minds first tell us the truth, but what we keep seeing changes our thinking to untruths because it has been so insinuated into our lives? Because of it we also have a hard time distinguishing between fact and innuendo?

If all I watch and read are geared toward one point of view, will I lose my perspective? Will you?

“It does no good to believe in what does not exist to the point one cannot focus on what is real. That would be the greatest tragedy of any ‘conspiracy.’” — John Ridley

Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at hermionyvidaliabooks@gmail.com.