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Evan Shapiro Headshot

Can You Spare Some Change?

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Earlier this week, Participant Media announced that next summer, we will launch a new cable network dedicated to entertainment that inspires change.

To celebrate, here are my Top 8 Things To Change in 2013:

#8. Analog. Yes, the Internets are fun. But they are also addicting and distracting. What about a National Analog Day, where everyone in America gives up the Internet for 24 hours? It could be like the National Smoke Out, only for iPhones. We could, I don't know, actually look into each others eyes for a day. It could be cool -- and think about the MEME it would start!

#7. The Philadelphia Eagles. FIRE. ANDY. REID. Sorry, but as a lifelong Eagles fan, I must use this forum to say -- please, please, please end the pain.

#6. TV Measurement. We need a way to measure all TV watching equally. The current ratings system doesn't accurately account for time and place shifting and online viewing. Why does this matter? Follow the money -- ratings dictate ad dollars, and ad dollars dictate programming choices.

#5. Optimism. Could things be better? Absolutely! Could things get better -- yes! But for things to get better, we need to believe they can, and act on that belief. If you think the world is going to shit, why bother trying to change it? And the media seems almost entirely dedicated to perpetuating the idea that every silver lining is really a dark cloud. It's time for us to imagine a better world, and then get off our collective asses to start making that vision a reality. Many of us have fallen victim to a defeatist death spiral that prevents us from thinking things can change. It's time for us to, as Cher once said, "Snap out of it." And to do that, the media needs to spend less time scaring us, and more time showing us how to make real change happen.

#4. Gay Marriage. It is time for this country to get on the right side of history, once and for all. The coming Supreme Court decisions offer a specific moment to do so. We just need five people in simple black robes to agree.

#3. Money. The money that invaded politics this past election cycle was destructive. First, there's little sign that all that money actually did very much of anything (Sheldon, I'm looking at you). Second, the one thing we know it did was drive the production of more negative ads than in any campaign in history. Issues were all but absent, but snark was ubiquitous. Those whose money was wasted, and those who were the victim of the bile should band together to find a way to lower the influence of money in politics and raise the level of discourse.

#2. Gun Laws. To those who say now is not the time to talk about gun control, let me say -- if not now, when? Guns do not make people safe. The proof? The Connecticut gun owner killed with her own weapons in her own home this past week.

#1. Poverty. For all the money spent this past year on political campaigns, I don't believe I heard the word poverty spoken even once by either nominee. And for all the challenges this country faces -- with education, with healthcare, with unending violence, with the ongoing struggle for equality -- none comes close to the effects of our neglect of our poor. The last Census showed that nearly half of all Americans are below the poverty line, or are one missed pay check away from it. This is unacceptable. It is time for us to have a conversation about poverty and class in this country, rather than try and sweep it under the rug. We can change the trajectory of poor families in this country, but first, we have to stop ignoring them.

Here's to a great year of change in 2013.