Thursday, May 24, 2007

Why Don't I Watch TV? Oh...That's Right


We don't have either broadcast or cable or satellite television in our home. So we don't watch TV very often. It's interesting to reaffirm, when we are in a place to see tv, why we don't watch it.


I am in Chicago this week for a 5-day training course. My hotel room has a television. Normally, I don't have access to TV, but this week I thought I'd watch it a little bit.

Here's what I found:

Based on frequency of reporting, Rosie O'Donnell is the most important person on earth. I'm not sure how many times I either turned off the TV or changed the channel, because I had already heard a "news story" of her yelling at another woman on some show called "The View".

A guy on a show called "Deal or No Deal" used random intuition (no intellect or skill, mind you) to determine that he would rather see if his briefcase contained $1 million rather than take $305,000. When he failed, and instead was awarded with $25 and a new car, I could see palpable hatred on the faces of his family members. What a family-building exercise, huh?

A vile video mocking a teacher, for which a student was suspended from school, was shown on national television. That was thoughtful!

A man committed sexual battery on a babysitter, but says he was sleepwalking. That's important!!!

This is not to say that some things on television are not educational or important. It's just that most of it is filth and refuse.

So, as a general rule, I am not missing much of anything.

5 comments:

  1. You can thank your lucky stars you didn't have to suffer through the season finale of "Lost" last night.

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  2. It's amazing how after a few TV free months you just stop wanting or caring about almost all the crap they advertise on it.

    "That happiness is to be attained through limitless material acquisition is denied by every religion and philosophy known to mankind, but is preached incessantly by every American television set."
    - Robert Bellah (1975)

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  3. I know that feeling. Every time I get near a TV I remember why mine is only on for videos of my choosing.

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  4. I feel the same way, but for different reasons. Up until a few months ago (the woman moved in with me), my $80 TV was hooked up only to a DVD player for watching movies. Now I've added a $20 antenna so she can watch a few channels. I've viewed a few shows with her lately (about 1 a week, much more than my typical 1 every 6 months before she moved in), and I too am reminded of the worthless junk on there. Entertainment? I can read an 800 page novel in a night. That's 3 seasons worth of a show right there, in terms of plot, character development, and so on, and usually not nearly as formulaic as TV. Information? Again, I can read email newsletters or Web papers or even a real newspaper; in the time spent watching the evening news, I could have learned 10 times as much by reading. I cannot find a way to watch TV any faster, there is no such thing as a "skilled TV viewer" (although critical thinking skills are mandatory!). With practice, nearly anyone can be a skilled reader.

    There is nothing on TV that holds my interest. In the same 30 minutes, I could have written or called my mother, read some of a book, spent time with my family, played a few crossword or Sudoku puzzles, or something else equally fulfilling and healthy for my mind and spirit. Why would I watch TV?

    What I find most baffling, are people who spend all day watching TV shows about people who are living life, whether it be tabloid shows, soap operas, whatever. Ever watch a TV show about people who spend 5 hours a day watching TV? No way. If people find an active, engaged lifestyle so interesting to watch, why aren't they living it?

    J.Ja

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  5. As Greg Allen, the host of the radio program The Right Balance often says, we spend way too much time watching Survivor and American Idol than we do watching, listening to, and especially reading the things that really matter.

    Even if we lived in an era of no international turmoil, the way we collectively entertain ourselves with visual media is way beyond unhealthy.

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