It’s been at least three, quite possibly four, years since I unplugged from cable T.V. At the time it was a luxury that I could no longer afford during a tough financial period of my life. As it turns out, it was one of the best decisions that I ever had to make.
I don’t even own a television set (are they still called that?) anymore. I think that I gave away the last one that I owned. I don’t intend on buying another one, much less reconnecting a coaxial cable to it.
I honestly don’t miss anything that I used to watch on television save, perhaps, for the occasional Detroit Lions football game and back then those games were, in effect, usually over for the Lions mid-way into the first quarter.
That is not to say that I don’t watch the occasional sitcom or movie but I now view those though online purchases or rentals.
With any changes in life there comes the adaptation to a new situation. This situation was no different for me.
What I discovered is that my reading and music libraries began to grow due to the money that I was not tossing down the money pit that is a cable bill. I found that I had the time to throw myself back into playing, composing and recording music.
I also discovered alternate sources of news through magazines and dozens of online news and op/ed sites. It wasn’t long until I realized that almost all of the information that was being foisted off on the public through television and radio couldn’t really be considered news. It was truly useless and often inaccurate infotainment.
With the advent of the incredible variety and functions of phone apps I don’t feel the least bit isolated or disconnected from the world. I can be selective about what I feel to be significant information without the unsolicited bludgeoning of any media which is designed to distract and disengage people from critical thought and mindfulness (my apologies to the Fox viewers for using the big grown up words).
Even now when I’m in the proximity of a T.V. that is displaying the waste of data which is conveyed through a cable I am completely disinterested in renewing any kind of relationship with the mindlessness that is television programming.
I’ve never been a person who’s been interested in much of what goes on in pop culture and entertainment and so from that perspective my ignorance about those contemporary irritations didn’t, and still don’t, concern me in the least. Even now my eyes glaze over and the volume of a conversation fades if the discussion is about entertainment. I travel off into the happy place that is in my head rather than dedicate a singularly unique moment of my life to the faux realities of American T.V.
It’s always been my opinion that there are far more significant things in this world to devote my time, attention and thought toward than the fads, the fantasies and the hype of the entertainment culture. Some of those things provide people with some temporary diversions from the realities of their lives but little of it seems to be very thought provoking to me.
I don’t give a rats ass who dances with whom or what flash in the pan singer is here today and gone tomorrow. The music industry is clogged with corporately manufactured singers and bands who obscure the very best organic talent throughout the world. This is the primary reason why I seek out alternative indie musicians.
And please don’t think me a humorless dolt. I love comedy; just as long as it’s edgy and sophisticated.
I’ve veered from my topic.
Dear reader, I am going to throw out a challenge to you.
I challenge you to abstain from viewing T.V. for thirty days. Some of you may begin to feel anxious at the very thought of missing out a crucial linking plot twist of a favorite series. If you’re feeling even more adventurous, try abstaining from watching T.V. for SIXTY days.
And while you’re at it, switch off the damn commercial broadcast radio and the mental anesthetic that is the infotainment found on most A.M. radio stations.
Studies have been conducted to determine whether television programming influences or changes culture or if the television and entertainment industry merely reflect the culture and society of the time.
If either of these, or both of these, propositions are correct, we’re intellectually and socially devolving faster than I thought.
Maybe it’s time cut the cord and begin a progressive social and cultural renewal that doesn’t involve paying cable companies for providing us the narcotic of its dumbed down programming.