Friday, August 21, 2009

Turning off the Tube

Largely for economic reasons, mainly because we weren't watching it, we recently unplugged our beautiful shiny big black box (by that I mean TV), turned in the cable box and fancy remote, painfully shoved the TV into the garage, and rearranged the living room. We've been thinking for several years that this is probably what God wanted us to do, but we never took the time or trouble, and there are so many interesting things on. But as the bills rolled in and we added up the time we actually spent watching it, it just didn't seem like a good use of money.

We haven't, of course, missed it at all, not even the children, because you can pretty well watch Anything you want on Hulu or YouTube, which in turn has caused me to realize something interesting that probably all my dear readers already knew.

The very simple action of having to click a mouse to pick a program is an action of commitment.

In other words, I cannot bring myself to 'commit' to or click on so many programs I watched before because I don't love them. Whereas before I watched many things because they just came on, I cannot now bring myself to choose them. The smallest movement of my finger over the button is enough of a deterrent, enough of a moment of decision to cause me to do something else, or to watch something else.

This tiny realization led me to consider what other things in life just 'happen' to me, and what things I actually choose. I don't really want to tell you about any of them because they weren't that interesting. BUT, when I consider how many lovely hard working Americans, like me, all with their lovely TVs flickering beautifully in the gray evening light, waiting to see what's coming on next, watching and watching without ever choosing, well, it explains to me a great deal about the current American political and cultural landscape. There seems to be an inevitability about the way most of us live, a helplessness, a well that's just the way its going to be.

I'm not saying that suddenly all of America turning off the TV would completely change the prevailing culture (but, of course, it would have to in some ways), nor make any particular judgments about TV watching, but I'm sure some PhD student out there should do a serious study on this matter, and write a book.

I, on the other hand, will go listen to a sermon on my IPod while I clean and clean and clean and clean.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Consider donating it to the church for viewing videos on for training or education
Art+

Anonymous said...

We haven't had TV for years.
And, you're absolutely right; the internet (or dvds from the library) forces you to make a positive decision that there is actually a particular presentation that you would like to take the time to watch.
My experience with other families is that it is usually the dad who balks at getting rid of cable TV because sports coverage is difficult or impossible to duplicate without it.
Ericfromnewyork

R said...

Hurrah! Kill the TV! :P I'm sure they are evil and eat your brains. ;) We have the added incentive of not paying the telly tax (saves a bundle, let me tell you!). Just not worth it to watch the snooker championships.

~R

Rev Dr Mom said...

No TV since 1996, and no regrets. As you say we can get much via the internet, and there's lots I've never seen and haven't missed.

Kerry said...

I keep thinking we should do this, but my kids hog the computer as it is...I'm afraid I'd really have to compete for time to read my email or print out homeschool planning pages if they added TV-show viewing to their list of things to do on the computer. They are a little older than your kids and do get online for school, email, and playing online games. With three of them - someone is ALWAYS needing the computer.:)

Perhaps we need to ditch the TV and put the savings into a kids' computer!

Bravo, to you!

Lauren said...

Yay for no TV!

And you'll soon find that the insidious marketing will start to fade as you once again regain the control of your mind in choosing which bathroom cleaner works best!