Wednesday, September 06, 2006


No TV was watched in the riding of this elephant. Stefan and I encounter a friendly pachyderm. 1-2am, New Delhi (June 2005).

I watched some TV recently. For those who may not know, I don't really watch very much TV. Mostly because I don't have a TV or at least it is locked away in storage. Not having TV or cable has been a conscious decision that has easily been my life for many years now.

I didn't want my life to get sucked away- hours, days, weeks wasted on the flickering tube. It's not that TV is all bad or evil and that I'm waging some reactionary war and holding the moral high ground over here. There's actually a lot of great stuff of TV. This is where the anti-TV lobby/movement has gone wrong. They've framed the boob tube as "all bad, all the time". But really there are tons of great documentaries, demonstrations of grassroots activism, nature shows, intelligent discussions and parody and good, old, fun entertainment.

The thing is, from my perspective, it's not that TV is terrible, but that life is so much better. Sure you might be missing an episode of The Office or The Simpsons or The Daily Show, but you could be doing something equally, if not much more, fun!!

Watching TV means you're not doing any of the gazillion other things that you could be doing (and enjoying)!! Like kite surfing. Well, okay, that's kind of out there. But talking to people, cooking a nutritious meal, working out, going to a live show of some sort, riding your bicycle, calling a friend, writing a thank you note, finishing homework, researching something of interest, helping some one, dancing, hula hooping, painting, baking, baby sitting, ... You know, all those things you dream of doing because you know that they will ALL make you happier.

So, while I wish I could find the time and money to purchase a TIVO or the like to record some choice shows, sans les advertisements, I think I'll just live my life instead (oh aren't I great?!?).

Now, that being said, I have to admit that I recently got sucked into TV land while staying with a friend and enjoyed watching some crappy home redesign shows. What struck me were not the shows themselves , but all the god damn shitty commercials. Apparently there are 18-20 mins of commercials for every hour of programming. That's crazy! And how did I feel after watching Joe Sports and Maggie McKitch redo their family room in a faux-leather, pleather taupe motif whatever.... Well, I felt tired and fat and hungry. Yup, those ads spend half the time making you feel fat and half the time making you feel hungry and therefore completely tired (POOH!)... Great combo!!

And then it was time for the news. PANIC, PANIC, PANIC. Wow, I bet if you watched your local news each night you'd be fucking terrified. Yup, you be scared that someone was going to break into your house and kill you and your children and that terrorist were plotting to destroy YOUR freedom (yes, it is all about YOU).

Thank god Law and Order came on with a fantastic Emmy award-winning program about yet another woman getting kidnapped and brutally raped by someone devious and yet cool, man. GEEZ, after CIS (insert city here) and Law and Order (how many are there now?) and Missing and god knows what else is out there, it's a wonder that women even leave their homes at all. The majority of these shows are based on the vicitimization of women. Their stories show and/or describe brutal violence against women as entertainment and win awards and acclaim for their savvy scripts, stylin' threads and inovative cinematography. SWEET!

I know that the news, design shows and 'Police Overcoming Criminals' shows are not Evil and are not intentionally trying to ruin my days, weeks, very existence, but really their presence in my life, there taking of my time and leaving a bad taste in my mouth are not welcome anymore. They present fear of self and others, loathing of self and others, simplistic scenarios of good vs evil and male vs female. Personally I like happiness and silliness, creativity and complexity, ever changing and fluid identities and most of all I like and I want hope.

So until I catch a segment of the some random Simpons episode at one of my friends homes, I happily bid television
so long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu...


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