Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I Don't Watch TV

 I do not watch the daily offerings of the media giants, their broadcast minions, or their wannabes. I don’t watch the news. I don’t watch game shows. I don’t watch soap operas, reality shows, sitcoms, or teledramas. I don’t wait with bated breath for the next episode of Mad Men to air. I don’t know who can dance, or who I should idolize, or who's got talent (well, that's not necessarily true--Facebook friends tend to post the best of the best and include links to pertinent performances).

How cool is it that Matt Smith carried the Olympic torch?
Now, admittedly, through the glory of iTunes and a high-speed internet connection I can watch Mad Men, Justified, and Doctor Who almost as soon as the episodes air, but on my schedule and without commercials. The last time I watched TV on their schedule? The most recent season of Downton Abbey and even then several of the episodes I watched days later through the miracle of digital recording. I suspect the next time I watch TV on their schedule will be the 2012 Summer Olympics (and not just because I want to see if a stadium full of people just disappears).

This is not to say I don't spend time in front of a screen or two. My husband and I spend our evenings in front of at least one screen, and usually, between the two of us, there could be as many as five screens in use—two smart phones, two laptops, and the television. But we make a conscious choice on our media consumption. The biggest thing that separates us from the average television consumer is that we are not exposed to 15-20 minutes of advertising for every hour we spend in front of the television.

Calvin spent a lot of time applying
his television-fueled imagination
 to the great outdoors.
Television is not necessarily the source of all evil and will not necessarily rot your brain out. I do think that excessive time spent watching poor quality television sprinkled with commercials is the media equivalent of eating Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs to the exclusion of a healthy diet. It's fine to have a bit of over-frosted sugar-laden teeth-rotting media now and again, especially if the rest of time is spent consuming the media equivalent of large numbers of fruits and veggies in combination with healthily prepared protein. However, I'm pretty sure every commercial is like covering that healthy meal with a thick coat of high-fructose corn syrup-based candied crapola.

If you don't think of this every time you're
 moving furniture or hear the word "pivot"
 well, I just don't know that I know who
you are.
I also think that bonding over the shared experience of an episode provides a dose of vital nutrients to social relationships.  And that's just it, I'm no longer able to join into "water-cooler" chat about last night's episode of whatever the newest must-view show is. Nor do I know what the latest must-have item is. By consuming most of my television media months and years after it originally airs I am several steps behind in some conversations. And that my friends is how I know I don't watch television.

What do you think?

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