The HD Yule Log: The TV Squad review
It's odd to consider, but it's true: what we air on TV is our first introduction to the universe. If aliens do exist and they decide to study Earth, the first thing they'll probably look at is our TV broadcasts. Later on this week, I'll be writing about the five worst shows to represent humanity (a lot of them are on MTV), but I wanted to introduce the topic today because I just can't stop thinking about what aliens might think regarding our curious habit of airing a few hours of a burning log every Christmas.
Maybe they'll think we're on an ice planet (like Hoth) and watch this log once a year to fantasize about warmth. Possibly, they'll think we're on an environmentally ravaged planet where all the trees have died and we watch the burning log as a reminder of what got us in trouble in the first place. Or maybe they'll think we're a race of intelligent trees and the burning log is our own form of snuff porn. We'll probably never know.
The only thing we can know for sure is that the aliens tuning into Earth's TV broadcasts from 2006 will see something they've never seen before: the burning Yule Log in high definition. And, while it's impossible to guess what our future alien overlords will make of the new log, it is the opinion of this reviewer that the old log was better.
Let me explain. The Yule Log exists for three reasons that I can identify:
- As a way to avoid having to program a full day's broadcast schedule. No one is really watching television and this avoids the need to put up any "sacrificial lambs" (I'm looking at you, 1997 Spelling Bee Championship on ESPN 2).
- It provides ironic hipster types something to put on and "laugh at" with their ironic hipster friends while they exchange poetry journals made from recycled paper and gift certificates to vintage t-shirt shops.
- It's a pleasant distraction for those of us that don't have fireplaces and would like a nice simulation of a "traditional" holiday.
Consider: A good portion of HD TVs are over 40 inches (my own is 55) and unlike the monstrous 5 ton 36" tube TVs they replaced, the new HDs can be easily hung on a wall or put on an elevated stand. Thus, when you're watching the new log (especially now that it fills up the entire screen), it no longer looks like a nice little fire in your TV fireplace: it now looks like a raging inferno that's engulfing your house.
Besides the size of the fire is the resolution of it. Instead of lo-def flicker, you get hi-def death flames. Seriously, every time I turned on the yule log, I got this brief feeling of fear floating up in my throat like I just realized the person I bumped into at the club was a drunk Naomi Campbell. It's not that I actually thought my house was burning down, it's just that for a tiny little second, I felt overwhelmed by the size and clarity of the flames. That never happened with the old Yule Log.
I'm not a luddite. I love technology and progress (I owned a LaserDisc player for goodness sake), but I think this one time we were better off with the old way of doing things. The old yule log relieved programmers and entertained hipsters without making it seem like your house was burning down. Let's go back to that time.