Why I Don’t Watch Television

This is from a 1940 James Cagney film.  Note Television Given Scientific Test...

This is from a 1940 James Cagney film. Note “Television Given Scientific Test…”

I rarely, almost never watch television.  If I do, it’s usually a documentary on PBS.  I love documentaries.  I’ve thought about seeing if I can pull in Canadian station, but I’m usually too busy to give it a try.

When they switched to the digital box, that made me reduce my watching even more.  If I wanted to watch say The Simpsons, I have to struggle to try to get it tuned in.  The signal keeps fading.  The images become laced with digital pixel-blocks, then erodes into black or blue.

If you don’t need to watch television, why get cable?  It’d be nice to have some of those stations that show classic films or good nature or historical documentaries.  I wouldn’t rule it out entirely, maybe someday.

Of course, I do watch video.  I love cinema.  My DVD and VHS players are always running cartoons, silent movies, foreign films and other work.  Lately, I’ve been watching the original Twilight Zone series.

People say that TV is doing well, that it’s better than ever.  Maybe they’re talking mostly about cable TV.  Or maybe they’re just wrong.  There’s always some quality, in ways.  I’ve seen The Wire and The Sopranos etc. on DVD.

Yet most of the television I like is pre-1990.  Ernie Kovacs and the Sid Caesar sketch comedies are two of my all-time favorites.  I liked SCTV.  A few animated shows like Rocky and Bullwinkle were consistently funny.  Yet so there’s so much that I just can’t stand.  There are things that I might attempt to see eventually.  Yet I’m usually too busy living my life.

I’ll watch TV news when I have to, but I try to avoid it.  It seems distorted, like a form of brainwashing.

The commercials are the worst of all.  Some of the old ones have “camp value” now and I’ll look at them on home video.  Yet if I try to watch the current ones, they drive me up the wall.

When you stop watching television, you might go through withdrawal symptoms.  Or it might be easy for you.

If you don’t watch TV for a long time, then attempt to watch it again, it can be unpleasant.  If I turn on the tube and watch TV, it can be disconcerting.  Worse, it can be horrifying!  My greatest sense is that millions of people really live in this TV world.  I turn it on and it’s like “This is not my world!” or “I don’t live here and I don’t want to live here.”

I turn on the television and it’s like an alternative universe that I don’t want any part of.  It can be painful to have it on.  If it’s running in a bar or a doctor’s office, I try to look away.  I do some drawings or bury my head in a good book.  If possible, I put some music on.  I try to avoid the sound of it by using headphones.

To each his own, I suppose.  Yet for my money, the bad far outweighs the good.  Life is too short to waste much of my time on TV.  They don’t call it a “time-killer” for nothing.

The Old "Merry-Go-Round"

The Old “Merry-Go-Round”

http://www.mediaknowall.com/Year9/Broadcast/9broadhist.html

http://www.tvhistory.tv/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_television

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/headcase/201008/the-cases-against-television

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Arguments_for_the_Elimination_of_Television

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/ten-reasons-to-watch-less-television/

http://personalexcellence.co/blog/top-10-reasons-you-should-stop-watching-tv/

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3 Responses to “Why I Don’t Watch Television”

  1. Don Handy Says:

    To each his own. The Colbert Report is great, not only hilarious but informational, as is The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Rachel Maddow does some great political analysis, sometimes 20-minutes worth, with no commercial interruptions. I saw recently-released rare movies on pay-per-view, and if I didn’t watch TCM, I probably would have never seen such classic movies as The Grand Hotel, with Greta Garbo. I get to watch pretty-much every Tigers game, as well as World Cup soccer and Grand Slam tennis. Last Sunday I watched 3 panelists answer audience questions; all three had participated in the Mississippi Freedom Summer, in 1964. To be sure, 99% of television is pure garbage. But, you know, it’s the same in the field of music. One has to be discerning and know where to look. Besides, some of us have personal commitments that demand that we spend a lot of time at home, and there’s more to life than just books.

  2. artremedy20 Says:

    Good Comment Don, thanks.

  3. artremedy20 Says:

    http://time.com/2923667/step-away-from-the-remote-too-much-tv-increases-risk-for-early-death/?xid=newsletter-brief

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