Why Is RPCV Reed Hastings (Swaziland 1983-85) Doing This To Us?

Okay, given that Reed Hastings was a PCV  in Swaziland from 1983-85, and was lucky enough to get static BBC radio on his short-wave, we can understanding why he might thing Binge-Viewing Television is the answer to our society. But didn’t all of us suffer some life-long weirdness from static radio while overseas? And we are still (almost) normal.

I’ll admit that I’m a big fan (and secret binge-watcher) of “House of Cards” but that’s only because I’m a part-time curmudgeon and a full-time critic of our own “House of Brain-Dead Congress.” Nevertheless, I see what Reed and his buddies deep down in Silicon Valley are doing: ruining the world for the rest of us.


I see it coming. First we get Binge-TV (thanks, Reed) and next we get retail marijuana, now Colorado, next every state of the Union. Everyone will be stoned or dumb-down by t.v. watching. Couch Potatos to the Max!

Thanks to RPCV Hastings, Netflix has established itself as a force in original programming. Not only are they producing great shows ( “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black,”) now you get to watch them over and over and over and at anytime we want.

You don’t even have to leave your couch to get the mail or go to the library to see something new on the tube!

Remember the good old days?

We only had to watch shows when NBC, ABC, CBS said we could. Not only did  “Father Knew Best” but television knew best! If we missed an episode, well, it was our own damn fault.  Next, we got television re-runs, usually over the summer months when we were home from college, and since we had only three, maybe four networks, that was a piece of cake, easy watching, late at night, sitting in the dark livingroom with a cold beer after the folks were in bed.

Then came HBO, and Ted Turner, later MTV and ESPN, and all those talking heads on CNN and MSNBC. (Will Chris Matthews (Swaziland 1968-70) ever shut up?)

Today Reed Hastings and his company Netflix aren’t happy with just providing movies in the mail. NO, in 2007 Reed started to send movies to you livingroom via your television, and next they began to make movies themselves. Today RPCV Reed Hastings is controlling everything we watch..

How did he do it?

He did it this way…

Reed spent $100 million (was that his Readjustment Allowance?) to remake the British political drama “House of Cards.”

You can Internet-stream the video, or watch it endlessly on your television set.

reed-hastingHow did this happen?

Lets not blame (for the moment) that Reed couldn’t watch t.v. in Swaziland when he was a PCV. Maybe he had poor BBC reception. But I’ve been to Swaziland and it is a lovely country. (I mean, he could have been sent to Losotho. Those PCVs had it tough.)

This is what happened to Reed Hastings. It is a true story. Reed was working in California with a computer company, and as he says,”I got the idea for Netflix after I had a big late fee for ‘Apollo 13.’ It was six weeks late and I owed the video store $40. I had misplaced the cassette. It was all my fault. I said to myself, ‘I’m going to compromise the integrity of my marriage over a late fee?’

Later, on his way to the gym, he realized they (the gym) had a much better business model. You could pay $30 or $40 a month and work out as little or as much as you wanted.”

It is as simple and as complex as that. All because of late fees, and Reed fearing his wife, we have binge watching…..

I think I’ll move to Colorado where all I have to worry about are pot-heads sleeping on my lawn.

As e.e. cummings once wrote, “progress is a comfortable disease….

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  • Is a Swaziland Peace Corps assignment so isolating that Swaziland RPCVs take on playing hardball with my news and entertainment .

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