Thursday, April 10, 2008
#8 Personal TVs
There are a few of things you can expect to find on any Hill Person's desk:
1. A calendar, probably free and from a constituent, featuring some creepy art show back in the district.
2. A computer that takes 45 minutes to turn on, built circa 2004 by the now-defunct Gateway.
3. Pictures of important people in the Hill Person's life, like family, friends, or the Senator and his family and friends.
4. And the most important tool for getting through the day: the personal television.
In most jobs, you are probably not allowed to watch TV at work, because that would "get in the way" of "productivity." There are no such fascist regulations in the federal government. Most Hill People above the rank of staff assistant are given their own personal TV and are released into the wonderfully vapid and utterly mind-numbing world of daytime television.
Officially, personal TVs are supposed to keep Hill People apprised of breaking news and current events so that they can effectively carry out their duties Saving America as the country's lawmakers. And, to be fair, many Hill People do keep their TVs tuned to CNN, MSNBC, CSPAN, or, if they are truly a moron/Brownback staffer, Fox News.
But let's be honest- the only time pertinent news comes from one of those sources is when somebody starts setting fire to Dirksen bathrooms (thanks USCP!) or a plane flies into Capitol airspace (thanks crazy pilot and Oxycontin!)
So, you may ask, what is the use for the personal TV? The internal network allows Hill People to watch hearings, briefings, and votes. Rather than absorbing the substance of these events, though, most Hill People are more interested in which of their fellow staffers make it on camera, who gets to sit behind the Senator, and how fat that committee's previously hot secretary has become. Such a shame, she really had a career ahead of her.
Hill People can also use their TVs to learn the tangible skills they didn't learn at their liberal arts college and probably won't learn on the Hill. Fantasy baseball season has started -- now they can watch EVERY baseball game and really dominate their friends with actual jobs. The Food Network is always good for new and interesting ways to cook beets. The Travel Channel reminds them of all the beautiful places they'll never get to visit on a government salary.
And if all else fails, there are always ever-present Law & Order reruns.