How to Deal with Change

The fourth Basic Instructions book, Dignified Hedonism, is now available in digital ( and dead tree format (

Note: I WILL be selling signed copies, and said signed copies WILL be available internationally, but with a hefty shipping fee. I will have more information about that when the signed books are available.

Thanks for your support.

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Reader Comments (39)

What episode, specifically? I want to see it!

October 15, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersomini

I find myself making many of these same complaints.

October 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

Agreed, but you left out the obvious: MTV that doesn't play music.

October 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

Agree on the MTV not playing videos anymore, but it doesn't fit the "hicks" theme, at least since they took the "hicks" off the air after one of them died. But that's just sad, not funny.

October 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBeardo

This touches many nerves for me. Oh to be a fly on the wall in the board rooms of Discovery Communications, Inc., and communicate a horrible disease to the executives that changed TLC, Discovery, History, and Science into steaming piles of crap.

Mythbusters and Dirty Jobs are good, though. And if Ancient Aliens was on the network it really belongs on (Comedy Central), we'd be all set.

October 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLummox JR

@Beardo: -_- Did you just call Ryan Dunn a "hick"? Johnny Knoxville maybe (dude was in Dukes of Hazard, I won't argue with you on that one), but the rest of them weren't.

October 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGiondi

I don't even know what happened to the "SyFy" channel. Now it is all reality shows and wrestling. It used to be Stargate, Farscape, Star Trek, etc for actual SciFi content.

Every station is slowly turning in to the exact same boring thing to appeal to the most possible people instead of being what the concept is, a specific station with a theme that people who enjoy that theme will want to watch. Some shows here and there are good, but it has been years since I could honestly say "I really like (fill in the blank) channel".

Also half of the channels just play "infomercials" all day, and most of the regular channels do the same late at night. Worthless. Ah well.

October 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGarrett

I just wish SciFy would go ahead and change their name to The Slasher and Horror Channel.

October 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

I remember the good old days when MTV showed music videos. I haven't watched MTV for years.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKristina L

21st Century television: the Honey BooBoo Era. One can always go watch the fish tank instead.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergobbler

The original schedules of MTV, VH1 and other music channels sadly became irrelevant as soon as YouTube took off.
Who is going to watch someone else's selection of music videos, when it's so easy to view your own playlist instead?

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSimon

Oooo! International shipping! Yes!

But eh... how much it would be approximately?

Note from Scott: The signed copy of the book will be marked up to $15, and shipping will be $5 to the US, $20 to Canada and $24 to everywhere else. I'm not happy about those prices, but in my defense, it's the same shipping if you order one book or all four. As I said earlier, I was seriously considering not even offering International shipping because of the expense, but it was suggested that it was the reader's place to decide if it was worth it to them, and that argument made sense to me.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRaestloz

I feel the same. Once upon a time (ahem) in the UK, we had BBC Radio 4 that delivered sensible, informative and entertaining programmes on factual issues (could be science, could be history , could be literature). Now we have jokey podcasts with laughter tracks. Some information is in there but it is a pain in the ass to get to it.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike Geordie Brown

I really do miss the days when TLC aired hour upon hour of random invasive surgeries. I had no idea how horrible knee replacement was back in 1995 until I watched two solid hours of doctors using stainless steel hammers and chisles to just get to the damaged kneecap. And then they started the removal and replacement. Ugh.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjersn

@Jeff That joke would also be kind of "low hanging fruit", if you will, and Scott tends to find more subtle humor. I remember growing up in the 90's (I'm 30), and we were complaining about MTV not having music on it WAY BACK THEN. I think TLR and late night were the only time they were playing music at that point. If you wanted music, you had to look at VH1 or MTV2. VH1 seems to have slowly gone the same way as MTV, though, as has MTV2.

But seriously, does anyone watch music videos anywhere other than YouTube these days? Even people with cable?

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterZee

I remember a National Geographic that did reports about different cultures, historical events and political perspectives.
Now it's all bigfoot this and aliens that.
Which is why I don't have cable. Why would I? It sucks.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterwickedragon

I was going to post my thoughts on the matter, but realized I would just sound cranky and old.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMikey

You have read my mind! Most of those cable channels have been unwatchable for years!

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermohrorless

I'm about your age, and I too pine for the days when MTV and VH1 showed music, the Sci-Fi channel showed science fiction, the History Channel showed history documentaries (even if they were heavily skewed toward WWII), and the news channels did news. I could always channel surf and discover something worth watching, even during the day or very late at night (I worked a lot of 2nd and 3rd shift jobs back then, so I tended to watch TV at odd hours, before DVRs).

The phenomenon you're describing is known as "Network Decay".

Some channels, however, are not as wedded to their original concept as others. Meddling executives look at the demographics to whom their channel appeals and decide that, hey, since the people watching their Speculative Fiction channel are mostly 18-31 males, and Professional Wrestling is hot among that demographic, surely no one would mind if they started showing pro-wrestling!...

Since the network is strongly impacted by the ratings, and the highest ratings go to generally the same few demographics, this tends to lead to networks becoming more and more like each other, either in similar programming or outright airing the same shows.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterI Want My MTV

Reason #69,072 why I'm glad I dropped cable for Netflix. I consider it a deliberate plot to establish "illiterate rube" as the norm for Imperial subjects.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkhereva

What about Sci-Fi becoming SyFy and it has Wrestling, and Night Vision cameras following Hicks around old farm houses.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLT.Son

Boy, you sure got a purdy mouf.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHanover Fiste

I finally cut the cable earlier this year, when I realized I could watch everything I want a la' carte through my Apple TV. Google's Chromecast offers the same capability at a better price now, too... and frankly, I'm considering getting one, since running it through an app on my phone makes more sense than the chintzy and awkward remote that comes with the Apple TV.
Seriously, if I only watch, on average, one or two shows per week, at $2.99 each a la' carte, for a total of around $12-25 per month, why in the world would I give the cable company $100 -and- be forced to fast-forward through commercials? YUCK!

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterscgvlmike

what's your problem with country folks?

Note from Scott: All four of my grandparents were farmers. I say I'm from Sunnyside, Yakima, or Seattle, based on which answer will lead to the fewest questions, but I spent my childhood in a town called Outlook, that literally consisted of a post office, a school, a church, a few houses, and a highway.

Here it is on Google Maps:

In fact, here's the house I lived in until the 7th grade:

I knew a lot of great people there. A LOT. Wonderful people who were just trying to raise their kids and do right by their friends and neighbors. I also knew a lot of angry small-minded bigots. For some reason, the shows I'm making fun of in this comic tend to focus on people who remind me of the latter. Than might be my own mental problems showing themselves, or it could just be because those people make for better TV.

Before I get too self-righteous here, I probably shouldn't have used the work "hick." I chose it primarily to save space, but what can I say, I consider myself to be a hick, from a family of hicks. I had a grandparent who made moonshine. I don't believe that people from cities or suburbs are inherently superior to people from farm country. Maybe I'm over-reacting, because I knew more than one person from the country who was more than happy to explain why they were naturally superior to anybody who came from anywhere else.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJames Y.

I gave up on networks living up to their stated genres when, a few years ago, there was a show about gladatorial robot combat on Comedy Central opposite professional wrestling on SciFi.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRichelieu

This is why I dropped cable. 150 channels and only 3-4 that I enjoyed watching. However, I couldn't bear the thought of not being able to watch Ohio State football, so I picked up a digital antenna. Since the broadcasts are in HD, I now get better quality than cable for free!

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFojar

Hey, thanks for offering both PDF and dead tree! I bought both; I prefer paper in general, but I also travel a lot and like to relax with BI.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersford

And dignified PBS is offering British "historic" dramas with steam. Whaty is the world coming to.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSara

I love how Missy has such a range of folded-arms poses.

Heeeyyyyy ... we never see her and The Judger at the same time, do we? :)

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRebekah

@jersn: I too miss random invasive surgeries on TLC! My favorites were tummy tucks and breast reduction! (Intense gore FTW!)

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDaisy

I was actually referring to Buckwild. You're point is valid RE: Jackass.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBeardo

Well, if it's $24 and it's the same for either just one or all 4, maybe I'll just save up and order all 4 of them then :P

Remind me again: how much is the cost of all 4 and how do I pay you? And do I get discount for ordering all 4 at once? :P

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRaestloz

I had gone for a few years without television broadcasts. It was all Netflix. Once I started working away from home and spending many boring hours in a hotel, I decided to turn on the television. I was sickened. Sure, I enjoy Pawn Stars, American Pickers, Duck Dynasty, and a couple of other shows... but they have no place on The History Channel or The Learning Channel. After visiting my parents a few times recently, I have rediscovered the beauty of PBS. It is literally the ONLY place to watch truly educational television. That's the boring stuff that I hated as a child, and it hasn't changed much at all except that I now enjoy watching Nova, Nature, Yankee Workshop, and Ken Burns documentaries.

So now I have a new apartment and am ready to buy a 40" television. But I don't want cable. I don't want a dish. I just want local news, and Chromecast. I can just pick what I want to watch from my phone and blamo. At least, I think that's how it works. Anyway, someone mentioned MTV and YouTube. I haven't turned on MTV since I was probably ten years old. Now the only way to see videos is through the internet. Blamo. Chromecast. Oh, and of course, a good Blue-Ray/DVD player is essential. Blamo. Metalocalypse, Archer, Frisky Dingo, Sealab 2021, Home Movies, Beavis and Butthead... If you want to watch GOOD dumb television, forget the crap on cable/satellite and stick with cartoons aimed at adults. (none of this My Little Pony crap, unless you have a little GIRL at home)

Anyway, Scott, good on you for nailing this one home. Sitting in the hotel in disbelief over what my favorite old channels has become made me think about just how mindless some people must think we are. I hope that going from SciFi to SyFy is revolting enough for us 25-45ers to start a war against media executives. They're the ones who think we wanted this change, when all we want is for our kids to look at what WE used to watch and say "Boy, that stuff sure was dumb." Because at this rate, I'll be telling my kids that until the day I die about the crap THEY watch.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMrGoogleHead

This (along with a bill that seemed to get higher every month) is why I dumped cable for Netflix a few years ago. Best decision I ever made.

October 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbionelly

Another vote in favor of cutting the cable and streaming the teevees.

"Maybe I'm over-reacting, because I knew more than one person from the country who was more than happy to explain why they were naturally superior to anybody who came from anywhere else."

They probably felt that way partly in response to hearing people from Seattle who thought they were superior to anyone who didn't come from a big city. They probably used words like "hick." Not that their reaction is noble, but someone's gotta break the cycle.

October 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter1Mac

This is so, so true. Oh man, how I miss the old Discovery channel of about 15 years ago, when they showed nature documentaries all week! Then they moved to showing more people-oriented nature documentaries (e.g. Steve Irwin - still good, but not so much about the nature anymore), then they cut out the "nature" part entirely and now mostly show redneck reality shows, just like most of the other channels on television.

Now there's almost nothing on television for nature or science-lovers.

The only thing left is "The Nature of Things" with David Suzuki on CBC. Admittedly, it's a VERY GOOD "only thing left".

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEsn

I am not sure what function cable television serves now that streaming video services exist.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGregory Bogosian

*reads Scott's edit in an earlier comment*

A-ha, now the straight dope comes out. Outlook, eh? The astronaut Bonnie Dunbar is from Outlook too, isn't she? Although Wikipedia says "Sunnyside", I distinctly remember a road sign saying "Welcome to Outlook: Home of astronaut Bonnie J. Dunbar", or something like that.

From what I've read of other Eastern Washingtonians commenting here, and speaking for myself, we're just amused that our small-town (or "emerging area", supposedly that's what the Tri-Cities, my home, is) existence is getting referenced to a wider audience. Some of us do stay, precisely for the reasons you've mentioned, and some of us leave, also for the reasons you've mentioned. We just don't want to be too forgotten; we'd rather be remembered, even with a heavy slather of satire.

<B>Note from Scott: Why yes, she is from Outlook, though Sunnyside claims her as well. I once referenced that in a comic (

Thanks for understanding my position. It was never my intention to give the impression that I dislike all people who live in small towns, just the ones they tend to point a camera at.

I'm torn. Part of me wants to point out that I lived in the Tri-Cities for a couple of years, and that I have lots of family there. (Indeed, if I were to move back to Eastern Washington, that's exactly where I'd go). The other part of me, the "guy from Outlook" part, wants to laugh at your suggestion that the Tri-Cities is a small town. Sorry, my friend. The Tri-Cities is a city, in fact, it's three cities.

October 20, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjaklumen

Correct-o-mundo, Scott... it's an "emerging area", but some people don't let go of the small town roots. Growing pains, or something. Yes, you're quite correct-- it's very far from being a small town.
But it's not a city, either. Consolidation efforts failed three times. Sorry I failed to make that distinction-- I should have.

Disclosure: I live in Kennewick, and I worked volunteer for Richland's City Hall for a time. I also lived in Benton City for a time, which still *is* a small town, just not as small as Outlook. Also, West Richland wants in on the name, so some people have tried saying "the Quad-Cities", and you can imagine how well that's gone.

October 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjaklumen
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