Today a conversation was on Twitter about tv. No, I’m not talking about the Pregnancy Pact movie that came out this weekend (though I did watch it). This particular conversation was one I’ve heard in educated circles many many times. It goes something like:
OMG the television is evil and will destroy us all!!!!
I get where people are coming from. I do. The tv is full of advertising and bad ideology and unattainable goals and….well, the list could go on and on. I used to think this so much so that I actually gave up tv for a year. Well, I owned a tv but I got zero channels on it. I used it to watch movies sometimes. I thought some earth-shattering freeing feeling would happen. But it didn’t.
On the other hand, when I was in highschool, I was completely tied down to the tv schedule. I had my shows that I absolutely had to catch to the exclusion of everything else, and that wasn’t right.
The thing is, folks, life is largely about our relationships with other people, and tv can be a really fun way to enhance it. I love the Lost discussions I’ve had with various folks, ranging from in-depth analysis to superficial debate over which Lost hottie is hottest. So when people say tv keeps us from engaging with others, I say, screw you. It can actually bring us together.
The problem comes about when you have a relationship with tv. When I didn’t have a tv I had just as much of a relationship with it as when I was glued to it in highschool. It’s just that my relationship was about not having it. It’s like how they say it takes energy to hate something, so it winds up just hurting you.
The thing about tv is, it needs to not be central to your life either due to what’s on it or due to not having it. A tv should be an accessory in the house that’s an option. That’s it.
When I started having this healthy mind-set for tv, I didn’t suddenly revert to watching something every night. Some nights I read. Some nights I play videogames. Some nights I go out to concerts or bars or what have you. When I do watch tv, it’s just as a fun thing to do, and no I don’t believe that subliminal (or not so subliminal) messages are eating their way into my brain, because I don’t take it that seriously. When you view something as entertainment, it really won’t maliciously, secretly attack you guys. When you talk like that, you don’t sound educated. You sound like a bunch of superstitious nut-cases. So just relax and live your life. I swear you’re not going to magically overnight transform from your counter-cultural self into a Stepford wife.