LA Times on the history of the remote control, and the massive impact it's had on society and culture since its invention in 1950:
Ever notice, for example, that network series rarely have theme songs like in the old days? Thank the remote. Notice that there are no commercials between the end of one network show and the beginning of the next one? Thank the remote. Notice (if you're old enough) that the commercials themselves are more sophisticated and less annoying than the ones the TV blared in the '70s? Thank the remote. Notice those endless headlines crawling across the bottom of your screen? Thank the remote. Notice (ladies) that you can tell a lot about a guy's control issues by watching an evening of TV with him? Thank the remote.