Conversation in the Cull-de-Sac

Here’s a weird fact to consider the next time you are flipping through 500-plus channels of numbingly inane shows (mostly) trying to find something to watch. (Wipeout? really?): The average American watches five hours of TV a day, and the average household leaves the TV on for eight hours a day.

Those facts, if you trust them, are courtesy of Al “It Is Easy Being Green” Gore. In a Rolling Stone article, he says you may well not trust such facts, and in fact, can likely dredge up online gibberish or an industry-funded think tank study to counter them.

Although his article wanders all over the place and is mostly about climate change and a celebrity-addled media with ADHD, check back for a slideshow and more deep thoughts from Shia LaBeouf.

Gore also zeroes in on the trend these days to only believe what you want to believe, writing, “the distinction between what is true and what is false is being attacked relentlessly,” often deliberately and for political reasons.

He adds it is undermining any kind reasonable debate about what we collectively want as a society, something he calls “the conversation of democracy.”

Which brings me in a roundabout way to Rivkah Sass, head of Sacramento’s libraries. Sass said something similar when I talked with her a couple of months ago about the impact of severe budget cuts on Sacramento libraries. “As a community, we need to have to a conversation about what we want and what we want to pay for,” Sass said at the time.

Sass, and the Sacramento library system, will launch that kind of conversation this July for the libraries in a series of community forums.

But it is a good question, too, for other issues, particularly with this week’s California budget that includes more steep cuts. What does Sacramento want as a community and want to pay for? What can we sorta, kinda agree on?

An arena? Open public pools? A stronger public safety net? Jimmer the Stormin’ Mormon for mayor? Usable parks? Bankable retirement? Cops and firefighters? Better health care?

Elsewhere, Britain, Greece, Egypt and Syria are confronting these issues through strikes and street protests. So it will be interesting to see what drives that conversation forward here, once we can get away from the TV … Shia?

Compiled from Cull-de-Sac.