Ok, maybe not as drastic as that, but I am actually truly considering cutting down on my TV watching. Even though I just spend hours glued to the TV watching the Giants beat the Patriots. Go Giants! I have decided that TV just does not do much for me. Surprisingly enough a greater percentage of my friends than what I had originally though; watch little or no TV. A lot of them use the TV just to watch movies, sports or video games only.
When the writers went on strike I thought it was going to be a bad thing. I now realize that it was a blessing in disguise. I remember the first time one of my friends told me he did not have a TV, I was almost shocked. I did not think that anyone that had access to hundreds of channels of entertainment could ever be unglued from the TV.
Everything started when I began reading the book Blink. The author really amazed me with his style of writing, and the more I read the more I feel my mind is expanding. One of the things it has helped me realize is how passive it really is. I am rarely learning anything new from TV. I used to get excited when a TV show will have an obscure non pop culture reference or a comedian like Eddie Izzard talking about history; but now I see it as sad that there are just so little of those.
I also think that TiVo actually affected things even more. Being able to tape what you want in such a convenient way makes you less willing to channel surf. I remember filling up the TiVo and then catching up on the weekends, but then the TV season would end and there would be little to watch on the TiVo. Little by little I stopped channel surfing all together and I would only look for shows to tape.
HBO and the other movie channels are producing great content, but more and more I find that most people watch it because they want to have things to converse about. Besides the water cooler talk, a lot of the shows really have no meat. I am all for the guilty pleasure of reality TV, but Survivor went to Guatemala and I think I know less about the country after watching it than before.
While I know that TV is simply entertainment, I am not truly using my brain as much as I would be with a game of chess or even an FPS video game that would be helping my hand eye coordination. Another bad trend is eating in from of the TV. Some days I actually eat all of my meals in front of the boob tube.
Reading is probably the activity that I want to start doing more of, both online and off line. Once I put my RSS reader in order I realized that I can get through my daily reads every night and leave some stuff for the weekends. Also reading books to me is a lot more rewarding than watching a whole TV series. When you invest as much time as it takes to get through a whole season of something and the quality of the show has suffered or become predictable, it can be quite disappointing.
Another activity that I need to get back into is exercising. I have been neglecting my body quite a bit and I am ashamed to say that I am probably in the worst shape of my life. I thought that playing soccer over the summer would have helped, but I really did not put much into it. I also need to get back into martial arts and get back into something that is goal driven. I need to break the cycle of coming home and plopping in front of the TV. I am even considering rearranging my office or even moving it downstairs so both Bea and I can surf the web in the same room.
The last activity that I have neglected was language learning. Even though sign language is not what most people think of when they hear bilingual, I would love to get back into it. I also really need to get serious about French since I should be able to pick it up having a teacher at home. I have purchased some language software and I really need to get some use out of it.
I am a fan of many shows, but I honestly can say that when they turn to crap it gets hard to watch. The only thing to do is either let them go or become a fanboy. The fanboy mentality toward TV ends up just being somewhat creepy and I just don’t know if I can get out to a StarWars or StarTrek convention. I seriously cannot invest myself that much to the stuff that is produced here in the U.S. I find more depth on some anime than in most TV shows.
There are just so many other things to do that can better both mind and body. I think TV is actually hurting me in both fronts right now. I prefer video games to it, so this writers strike might just be the thing I need to kick the habit. So what have you been doing lately if you are a TV watcher? Do you think TV can actually make you dumb?