EDITOR'S COLUMN: Make digital divide a campaign issue

I don’t know anything about Sex in the City, other than what I read in the newspapers, which is where I find out everything I know.

I’m afraid I’m on the wrong side of the digital divide. Sex in the City, which ended Sunday after being enormously popular for years, is on HBO, which I can’t afford. Well, I could afford it if I made one of the kids leave college and get a job. But there aren’t any jobs, so I figure I can live without Sex in the City. Besides, I can imagine what it must be like: There are these four stars, with the names of Chlamydia, Syphilis, Herpes and Gonorrhea, who spread their infectious personalities throughout the city … or maybe not.

Fortunately, I don’t stand around the water cooler at work, chatting about TV shows. But many people do, and I feel sorry for those without HBO. When the others are talking about Sex in the City, all they can do is shake their heads knowingly, faking the experience, because they too are on the wrong side of the digital divide.

In Saturday’s mail was a flyer from our cable TV provider, Comcast, stating exactly how far away from HBO and TV nirvana I am. At present, I reluctantly subscribe to Expanded Cable at the newly increased rate of $35.50 per month. Outrageous, in my opinion. That’s about what car payments should cost. But I’m reluctant to give up the CNN and FOX talking heads. You never know when one of them might run for president.

But that’s about all I get for Expanded Basic, other than the local channels and junk channels. I could upgrade to Digital Classic, but that wouldn’t get me to nirvana. Even if I throw the household budget to the wind and purchase Digital Extra I’ll still fall short of HBO territory. That’s only available if I take out a second mortgage and subscribe to Premium Multiplexes, which takes us all the way through Channel 593, including HBO with its Sex in the City reruns.

With four ever-increasing price steps between me and HBO, I fear I’ll never get there. After the kids graduate, I’ll have to save for the dog’s old age, and then my own. I’ll never know what the most talked about TV show in America is all about, which I think is unfair. After all, we’re all Americans, we should all have access to the same TV shows. Otherwise, we’ll likely disintegrate into viewing mobs. The masses who have to watch Raymond might one day storm the houses of the rich, so they too can watch Sex in the City.

With election time coming up, I’d like to see the candidates address this digital divide, channel gap, cable break, or whatever sounds best to the campaign strategists. End those tax breaks for the rich so we can all watch HBO. With good TV, not so many people will be out looking for work.

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