Matthew Inman’s latest The Oatmeal strip, “I tried to watch Game of Thrones” pretty much sums up my frustrations with how TV and movies are distributed these days, though Andy Ihnatko’s rebuttal of sorts echoes my own thoughts on the basic terms of use. What constantly frustrates me about the present era is how many things are technologically but not practically possible. HBO could absolutely make all of its shows available instantly, but its business concerns get in the way. The you can’t see HBO’s shows unless you’re a subscriber or want to wait a year is that HBO is cultivating a stable of shows, movies, and mini-series. It feels it needs to be able to draw attention to those other things and in so doing get you interested in more of its offerings and not just watch A Game of Thrones. It’s why TV networks run ads for their own shows instead of selling those 30 seconds to Acura or Brawny.

And I do wonder if the à la carte model really would work out best for us in the end. I think there’s a bit of danger in pigeonholing. Everyone has interests that are more diverse than we maybe realize sometimes. I like science fiction but I also like competition shows about fashion design and Edwardian dramas about the changes in class structure. It’s why we force children to study both math and poetry and music even if they’re no good at some of it. It’s why we still like sometimes to have a DJ pick music instead of playing all the same old stuff on our iPods. There is a benefit to curation, and we’re enjoying those benefits without realizing it right now, dumb as TV networks act sometimes.