I think T.V.overall is a highly passive activity with almost zero engagement or thought required. I think I'm fed a whole lot of bullshit via television through limited programming and corporate and commercial sponsorship. There are certainly better ways I can find to spend my leisure time. I'm hoping that perhaps I can persuade you to give up remote control and instead truly take charge of your leisure time, too.
On June 3rd we watched chapter 5 of a video called "The Story of Stuff" (though I invite you to watch the entire 20 minute video, found in the column to the right of this video on YouTube) and discussed it's underlying theme of consumer-driven culture being continuously driven and perpetuated by television. Work, Watch, Spend. The system's simplicity is mind-blowing, really. But today I'm here to debunk that system and help you kick your television watching habit in the ass!
I want you to really think about what you get out of television beyond the so-called entertainment factor. What do programs and commercials tell you about your life? When I watch television I see that I'm told what fashion is and that if I'm not in fashion then I'm nobody. I'm told what cleaning products to use without questioning their effects on my health and the health of my family and pets or the environment. I see that the dominant culture is white, that women who are young and thin are most desirable, and that most thin, white women are either unbelievably stupid, or that they're unbelievably powerful and their power stems from their physical looks, not from their intelligence. If women in television are valued for their intelligence, I'm told they had to fight tooth and nail to get there no matter what colour their skin is. I'm shown that men who are powerful are desirable no matter what they look like or what age they are and that, again, the white man dominates in this category. I'm told that without certain technology I am uncool, behind the times, and out of touch.
Out of touch with what? Myself? My partner? My family? My friends? My community? The environment? The planet? The things that really matter to me? Just how are television programs and all the things that commercials tell me I should have going to bring me closer to the things that really matter to me? Rather, I think it's the other way around. Without television in my life, I'm very in touch! I'm tuned into my own program and I am it's writer, creator and producer. I decide what my values, beliefs and priorities are (and it's not a new toy or a new pair of shoes, friends).
PROS of Getting Rid of the Satellite
- No more commercials! (Yeah, Brian!) Which also means not being bombarded by consumerism and a healthier sense of being because we're not constantly being bombarded by what we should look like, wear, do with our hair or skin, listen to, believe or value. A definite psychological PLUS!
- Less electricity usage.
- Spending leisure time engaged in more (mentally and /or physically) active pursuits (reading, playing games, exercising)
- Save $75/monthly or $900 per year!
- Potentially sign up for those lessons that we've been humming and hawing over taking (ie. guitar, digital photography, tai chi)
- Less eye strain
- More quality time TOGETHER rather than me upstairs reading a book and him downstairs plopped in front of the tube.
- No more buying into the corporate agenda and their censored programming and schedules. At least with the Internet I have access to educational programs when I want to view them.
- One less sheet of paper in the form of an unwanted bill being sent to our house wrapped in another piece of paper (envelope) every month.
- A quieting of the mind that you can't know until you've given up television (and I lived without one for seven years before meeting Brian, so I know).
- No more hockey.
There you have it. That's what we came up with. Soooo, needless to say, Brian has been wrestling with this for some time now. He told me that he'd cancel after the Stanley Cup Playoffs and then deal with the upcoming season when it comes, but he still hasn't made the call. He has, however, sort of been weening himself off the TV. He reads more in the evening. He initiates the game of Yahtzee or Battleship, or suggests we go for a walk. It's nice...it's a start. I won't push too much because I know for a lot of people it would be a VERY big deal to give up the tube. I can't tell you how often I heard "I couldn't live without my TV!" My thoughts are, give up TV and, in return, begin to really live.