TV Time

I don’t have a television. And mostly, I don’t miss it. If there is something I’d like to see, it’s more cable news so I could comment on the ridiculousness of it all, but I already know the kinds of dishes they’re serving, so I don’t need to hit that restaurant.

The TV was invented to keep people from talking to each other. You know what the TV says? It says you’re so boring you’d rather stare at a static square on the wall than engage with each other. You can’t tell each other stories; you have to come to us for stories. And we’ll supply it, for a fifty dollar monthly cable bill and all the commercials we can shove down your maw.

On a good day, I walk an hour and a half. That’s pure, sheer exercise, for the joy of it. But TV says, Why walk? Sit here by the hearth with me.

Television is only really good for late-breaking news, like the 9/11 attacks. But how often does something important break-lately? Most of the time, the world is spinning peaceably on its axis.

The universal popularity of television is a sad commentary on the human race. Life is going by, people. Save the TV for when you’re a 90-year-old shut-in absent from life.

TV should ideally by used only in prisons and in hospitals. It’s not like you’ve got anything better to do in either of those two places.

People are weirdly affectionate toward their TV sets and the (fake) characters they see on TV. In the early days of TV, when it was broadcasting mainly in New York, the actor of a show would go down the street and people, recognizing him, would repeat the punchline of last night’s show. (“Where’s the beef, Mr. Murphy? Murphy’s Law says so.”) The dichotomy between reality and screen-reality is bridged by the most feeble of imaginations.

What category of human experience does Television fall into? I think it’s a passive preparation for Death. Television’s images flashing before our eyes are like our life flashing before our eyes.

The scary part of television is that it’s so hypnotic. Even a small screen exerts its hypnotic effect. The more boring your life is, the more appealing the boob tube gets. It never quits. The only irritant about the medium is the commercials that bracket the shows. They still haven’t found a way to make a pleasant commercial, though they have all the financial incentive in the world to make this so.

My father thought science fiction books warped the mind — where he got this idea I don’t know, he was a fer chrissakes engineer, of all occupations. But he welcomed television — particularly BBC and foreign news — into his life wholeheartedly, not considering that television might do its own particular brand of damage.

What damage? Well, it kills your attention-span, for one thing. TV demands instant gratification, and with the remote control, it encourages it.

It also encourages passivity. If the ideal state of being to be in this world is a Viking berserker-warrior, then the TV coach potato is its diametric opposite.

And lastly, it robs you of human empathy. Everything — shootings, stabbings, simulated violence — takes place in an uncaring universe. Ultimately, no one gives a shit.

People love their TV the way they love their pets. And both forms of love are exaggerated, twisted plays on what should be human-human fondness.

— Greg Nikolic

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6 responses to “TV Time”

  1. We rely on the sensory inputs too much these days, that is why T.V.s are a necessity in every household, like how in the fifties, sixties, when T.V. isn’t at all, prevalent enough in every house, people back then have their radios to tune in on to know what’s happening in the world outside and around.

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    • Well, if TV is a necessity, why would I be happy without it? This necessity? Seriously, I feel like TV is this oppressive, malignant force in the corner of the room, sucking away all my willpower to resist. It wants me to be happy with it, and all the commercials, but I must keep my distance.

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    • TV is a massive time-waster. And it AFFECTS us. That’s the truly insidious part. While we’re engaging with it, it’s tampering with our mind-frame and our worldview, and this seems to be hardly appreciated at all.

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