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Reality Television and Brain Hacking


We are all aware of television’s ability to turn us into mindless zombies. But what if television could actually get inside our heads? What if our brains could be hacked and our most intimate thoughts, feelings and desires were broadcast for the world to see? Ben Shriver is about to find out…

Ben had been droning away at his desk for almost half a day when he received the package. It had his name on the card and was wrapped in what appeared to be golden ribbon. He unwrapped it carefully with trembling hands and the box exploded with sound.

“Congratulations Ben Shriver! You are today’s lucky Celebrilottery winner!”

His coworkers stopped their work and peered at him from over their cubicles.

“Grats Shriver,” said Gerald Manly, his cubicle mate. “It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving jackass.”

“Thanks Gerry,” Ben said, all smiles. Inside the box was a baseball sized object that took to the air hovering about three feet from Ben’s head. The lens cap slid open revealing an ominous red eye.

“Congratulations, Ben Shriver,” said a voice being pumped through tiny speakers on the hovering camera. “We here at Celebrilottery would like to welcome you to a once in a lifetime experience. Are you ready?”


“Do you give us permission to suspend your Biochip functions?”

Brain hacking my ass! Ben smiled, thinking of Mika’s unfounded worries. “Yes. Let’s do this!”

Vertigo seized him suddenly. When it subsided, he felt like he was in a dream. He was cognizant of what was going on around him, but unable to affect it. He had effectively become a spectator inside his own body. His arms and legs jerked awkwardly for a few seconds then a voice in his skull spoke. Hey there Benny Boy. It’s Elias Cartel here. You know who I am?

“Yes.” Ben answered. Elias Cartel was probably his favorite comedian on the circuit right now. “It’s an honor to work with you.”

Well I’m the one doing all the work, laughed Cartel. Let’s get started, huh? Do I have permission to suspend your Biochip for the duration of the show and use your voice and body in non-harmful, though potentially embarrassing ways?

“Yes.” With that one statement, Ben Shriver surrendered control of his body.

Excerpt taken from “Twisted Yarns” by Jason DeGray. Get it on Amazon now!



What’s your passion?

Tonight I was walking into the corner store and sitting outside was a man smoking cigarettes and asking for change. Usually, I decline them, but tonight something moved me. When the man asked if I could spare any change I said, “Sure. I’ll give you all the change I have if you tell me something.”

He said, “What do you want to know?”

“What’s your passion?”

He looked at me quizzically and said, “What does that mean?”

“What fills your heart? What drives you onward?”

Without hesitation he answered, “Love, brother.”

As I was giving him my change, I asked him one final question. “What have you been doing to pursue that lately?”

He shook his head sadly and looked away. “Hell. I don’t even know anymore, man.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. I have a list of passions that fill my heart. But when I ask myself what I’ve been doing to pursue them, I have to admit to myself, “Hell. I don’t even know anymore man.” And why don’t I know? Why have I given up on all these things that add meaning to my life? I suppose for the same reasons most people do. Because we let life get in the way. We tell ourselves, “I’ll start on it tomorrow.” The only problem with that is Tomorrow never comes. It always turns into Today. And it’s always so hard to find the time today; there’s too much to do.

But what is passion? What does it mean?  Ultimately, our passion is what we were put on earth to accomplish. What we individually do to make and leave the world a better place. But that has been distorted and confused. We live in a world where passion has been mistaken for emotional outbursts. Look at reality television. It’s nothing but cheap emotional manipulation saturated with advertisements. The same can be said for social media outlets. Every time I scroll through a feed I go through a range of emotions. This post makes me angry. This post makes me laugh. This post tugs at my heart-strings. This post wants me to buy a new razor. And on and on. These things aren’t passions they are sleazy emotional ploys. We shouldn’t be filling our heart with them. They give our lives no meaning. In fact, they only take from us. By the time I get to the bottom of the feed, I feel empty. I usually slam my computer shut in disgust and tell myself, “Way to go, genius, you just wasted another 20 minutes of your life.” So what’s the alternative? The answer to that is easy: force a change. If you know better, do better.

We let ourselves become convinced that happiness is this false sense of security called the American Dream and we’ve sacrificed our passions on the altar of this great god called Mammon. We’ve been conditioned all our lives to believe that if we do everything according to plan, go to school, get a job, make money, get a house, fill it with shit, then we are supposed to be happy. But that’s not the case. I see more and more people unhappy with their supposed achievements. But this doesn’t necessarily mean more and more people are realizing what they need to be doing is following their passion. Too many of us are immersing ourselves in an ever-expanding myriad of distractions in order to ignore the fact that we’re miserable and unfulfilled. We are all guilty of it. We can’t really blame ourselves too much, I mean, it IS the world we were born into. But it’s not the world that we have to live in. It’s not the world that we have to leave to our children.

Things are how they are because we’ve been fooled into accepting a fiction as reality. We CAN change. We CAN refuse to accept the lie and start living in truth. But in order to do that we have to start TODAY. Are you ready? If so:

What’s your passion?

And what have you done to pursue it lately?

Why We Need A Renaissance

Looking for a good book I journeyed into a very popular bookstore chain. Pick any one (that still hasn’t gone bankrupt) you want, they’re all the same. This was the beginning. I stared at the philosophy section, the poetry section, and the theatre section. I picked up book after book to find nothing but the same mass-produced names, ideas, and beliefs. Now call it a premonition, a vision, an undeniable truth, whatever it was I heard a little voice in the back of my head say, “it’s time for a Renaissance”. And I agree. It is time for a revolution of thought, a revolution of beliefs, time for a revolution of the mind.

We have had our very essences stolen from us. Siphoned from us by benevolent dictators in their ivory towers. We have become less than human. We have become empty shells waiting to be filled with whatever our benevolent dictators deem suitable. We crave some new philosophy so that we may intrigue our friends with banality at the dinner table. Or we need some new-found religion to fill our spiritual appetite (as if there are not enough out there already) so that we may face the new day with a false sense of security. We have developed a false sense of entitlement and deluded ourselves into thinking that “everyone is special”.

Helpless spoiled children is what we have become. We live in an era where anyTHING we want can be acquired with the push of a button. We fatten ourselves with poisons and chemicals and processed food. We waste precious time figuring out how to make simple things simpler. Filling every second of every minute of every hour of every day with some menial task because having any free time would literally drive us crazy. This is what society (as an extension of our benevolent dictators) has forged us into. A populace of fools unable sit and enjoy one moment without thought of who is dying, starving, fighting, becoming rich, becoming poor, and who is screwing who. We live in a world where young people consider the internet a need on par with food and shelter and think that updating a Facebook status is more important than actually hanging out with friends. We perpetrate our disconnected connectedness every time we text the person we are sitting next to instead of actually talking to them.

We live in a time where all original thought has been massacred and consumed by the Media Machine. A machine that remakes and remakes the popular until the original beautiful idea is obscured in rehashed shit. This is a time when original ideas have ceased, creativity is destroyed, where dreams are traded in for quick cash. We live in a world that has become an endless cycle of the past. Like Rome at the height of its degradation. We are all junkies and whores searching for our 15 minutes in the spotlight.

Radio stations play the same mindless crap all day long. Groups that don’t have enough talent to write their own songs or music have become the wave of the day. It’s not about creating something new, it’s about producing something that’ll make a few bucks. Television and talk radio shows constantly tell us what and how to think. They fill our head with useless contradictions to keep our minds dull and distracted. Reality television exploits the worst of human nature and has twisted dysfunction into a societal norm to be lauded and praised.

When did we cross the line into degradation? How can we sit and continue to let this happen without any moral or ethical dilemma? We can’t.

It is true that this has all been stated before by people far more educated and experienced than I. However, everything must start some somewhere–with someone. The time for a Renaissance is now.

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