No More TV

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?

15 Responses to No More TV

  1. I do love to watch John Stewart.

  2. I mostly use my TV as background filler noise in the form of 24-hour news channels. And Sesame Street. My kid loves Elmo and Zoe. I’ve been finding that I get more of my news online or from the quick once-over I give the local newspaper over breakfast, though.

  3. Well it depends on what one watches on TV. If you watch alot of those inane reality shows then yes that would make you really dumb and you wont learn anything from them. Personally I watch news programs, both local and international ones to keep me informed of current events.

  4. Dangit, Logtar, you should have a disclaimer on your blog when you tell those of us OUS that you’re going to mention who won the Super Bowl. John hasn’t watched it yet (it was on at midnight our time) and is waiting to watch it tonight at 5, so I have to go the whole day without telling him who won….and I’m surprised…I figured Brady had it, but then again, if they blitz Eli, he kinda seizes up. But anyway, I think TV definitely makes you dumb. You know, reality TV back in 1990 was kinda fun because MTV was the only one doing it, and it was different. But take a look around you today. Ideals are completely different than they were when we were younger. Money and beauty seem to be wayyyy more important now than they were before, not to mention growing up has been delayed. Baby Boomers, who feel entitled to the life they have and are big into themselves, have also instilled that entitlement in their kids, and we see that on TV too – just check out the Real Housewives of Orange County and you’ll see what I mean. And that hurts society – people imitate what they see on TV without realizing they’re doing it. Marketing ads make you feel bad for not having this or that. Be prettier with whiter teeth. Get the BMW so you can have more fun with life. Blah blah blah. It not only brings down our IQ, but our EQ as well – most people’s self-esteem is in the crapper because they forget that what we see on TV is an illusion. Sure, there are 40 year-olds who look like Teri Hatcher, but is that NORMAL, for a 40 year-old to be built like a teenager? NO! If you have the willpower, turn off the TV. You’ll feel better and not like you’re in a trance. TV keeps us from thinking or feeling what’s real.

    Hmmm….sure got fired up over that one.

  5. I mentioned this to John, who brought up the “rich” vs. “poor” – ie, the ones who can afford HBO, because they usually churn out some decent stuff, vs. Springer on the local-access channels. How does that affect us?

  6. I used to kinda feel the same way about my television watchage….then I went and got TiVo and things got worse.

  7. I do not think that makes much difference. While HBO does have more quality, it is only one channel that shows mostly movies… you can find ok stuff in regular TV and even better documentaries in PBS… movies they do have the best.

  8. Who needs TV shows when you can watch Subway videos?

  9. This is a great entry!

    I, for one, have made it a point to pick one or two shows throughout the week to allow to myself as a “treat” to watch if the rest of the week is spent doing things that are healthy for my mind and body.

    I spend the work-week nights working out and cleaning house so then on the weekends, I will watch a show that I’ve taped for myself during the week.

    (Lost or Dr Phil)

    It’s a good balance. I find that the less television I watch, the better off, mentally and physically, I am.

    Good luck with your new goal! You can do it. :)

  10. I like Deirdre’s comment – she treats TV as a special occasion. I vote for that.

    True, HBO has good movies, and PBS is available to all. I just don’t know that many kids who watch it unless their parents do. My grandparents were PBS watchers; my parents, not so much. With one TV in the house, we watched what Dad wanted to watch – WWF and WCW wrestling. I learned so much from those shows: never date anyone without a nickname or stagename, like Bret the Hit Man Hart, or Randy Savage; pink underwear does not look good on men; and if you’re going to parade around in little underwear, a cape and boots, make sure you’re tan. But perhaps today, with every household owning at least one TV, PBS will be shown at some point in time.

  11. TV can be both good and bad. There are shows I enjoy a lot and there are some that are my security blanket when I need a mental break for 30 minutes or so. But the thing with TV is you have to come back to reality at some point and not let it control you.

    As for reading, it’s great..but don’t trade one “addiction” for another. Also, don’t worry about what others think–like with TV pick books you will enjoy. I think that is part of the issue with getting everyone excited about reading these days–there is such a book snobbery out there that says you can’t enjoy a Dean Koontz book as much as some English professor enjoys or finds meaning in whatever their field of speciality is.

  12. I have a handful of shows I make it a point to try and watch if I am home. But the only 2 in the last several years I would bother to record are Lost and Battlestar.

    But, I have to admit the TV is on most of the time I am home. I live alone, and the constant drone of the TV somewhere reminds me of growing up. Heck I even have the TV on (or at least my Ipod) when I read.

    I do agree with the concept that there are better things to do that I am neglecting tho…

  13. I don’t watch TV often, and when I do it is usually tuned into the History channel. So I do learn things from TV now and again.

  14. Well, if you have any ideas to get back on the wagon for exercising, PLEASE let me know. I’ve slacked off too over the holidays.

    Good luck with it!

  15. What about Nintendo?

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