For my inaugural post, I felt as though I had to do something symbolic, historic, life altering. While this may sound rather over dramatic, I wanted to take action in a way which would signify the change I am undergoing. I racked my brain to figure out what I could do. I spent hours lying on my couch aimlessly watching tv pondering the various approaches I could take. And then in the midst of flipping between Giuliana & Bill and an E! True Hollywood Story on the Hilton sisters (there wasn’t anything else on!), it hit me. I needed to give up my tv.
It was time for me to stop watching other people live their lives and start living my own. I mean, here I am with my own apartment, a car, no job and no man (excluding Calvin of course) tying me down, mere minutes from the beach, walking distance to beautiful downtown San Luis Obispo, and a 3 hour drive from LA or San Francisco... what am I doing sitting around watching tv?
And in the larger sense, how has television shaped our culture? From what I can tell, it has helped to contribute to our overall laziness, lack of interpersonal communication, and the corruption of the American diet. Yes, in certain instances, it brings us together: President Obama’s historic election, the Superbowl, Sex and the City. At its best, tv elicits discussion and connection between individuals. But is the cost worth it?
In contemplating the social ramifications of television, I remembered a passage I had read for a college class on social media and values. It compared how we once crowded around a fire to how we now crowd around a tv. Both emit light; the fire’s primary focus in fact was to provide warmth and light for the household. Families gathered around it to share food and stories. Nowadays, families gather around the television although its glow is an eerie blue and offers no warmth. Instead of storytelling, we sit next to one another in silence only reacting to what is occurring on the screen before us. Rarely do we even share food anymore with the advent of tv dinners, fast food, and the plethora of food related allergies suddenly cropping up.
Now, this is not to say I am forever banishing tv from my life. If someone happens to turn on a television, I won’t run from the room screaming never to be seen or heard from again. I will probably still gather at a friend’s house to watch the Superbowl or perhaps the Top Chef finale and most likely catch the latest installments of my favorite series online. I am merely choosing to minimize my dependence on tv (and saving $80 a month doesn’t hurt either).
So after a period of contemplation, I immediately went to work unplugging all of the appropriate boxes and extricating the bundle of cords from one another. Of course once I was done, my internet no longer worked; but that could be remedied. I was off to the cable company filled with the excitement of a life without the constant white noise of a tv set. Who knows what fabulous things could come of this?