5 Reasons to Abandon Television

by Ron Haynes

OldAbandoning television is a serious step in today’s society. Television is both a fantastic resource and a faceless attacker of wealth. It has the ability to inspire and the ability to depress. It can make you happy and scare you to death, it can inform and educate, but it can also help you waste your most precious resource: time. That’s just one reason I’ve decided to abandon most television shows.

Before I discuss why I am choosing to abandon television, let me say that not all television shows are bad. I don’t disparage anyone who choses to use their time watching parents change the diapers of their youngest child (of 20), or watching someone completely disrespect another person because of the t-shirts she chooses to wear, or watching a talk show host give marriage advice to a couple when the host has never been married. There are some great shows on various channels that help you better understand the world and help you learn valuable information that will improve your life. But those shows are the exceptions. What passes as entertainment and enlightenment today is an utter joke. So, I’ve made the decision to severely restrict the amount of time I waste in front of “the tube.” TV has abandoned most of what I think is important so here’s 5 reasons I have decided to return the favor and abandon television:

Reason #1. Television has abandoned understanding. Though there is a wealth of information available via the tube, for the most part, the information you gather via television is devoid of deep understanding. What is more important is drama, excitement, and the illusion that it projects. If you want to get a completely skewed view of the world, do nothing but watch television and form your opinions only based on its shallow information. Where else can someone get shot 14 times, fall off a building from 3 stories, get up and drive in a car chase, crash the car, then jump into a helicopter and fly it to some exotic island with an Italian supermodel?

Reason #2. Television has abandoned responsibility. News programs depict the crying children of famines and wars, the bodies that lie exposed to the elements and wild animals, the human devastation of a terrible natural disaster, then cut away to a commercial. “Now this.” Now that we took you to the edge of an emotional cliff, now that we’ve exposed the most horrible of human conditions, now that we’ve talked (briefly) about an intense tragedy, we want to make sure you see our commercials! Then we’ll just go merrily along to the next story after briefly shaking our heads. Now on to sports.

Reason #3. Television has abandoned memory and history. Television execs are caught up in the panting flow of more information, the “breathless flow of now,” as one person put it. We know more about the last 24 hours than we do about the last 50 centuries. We have people who know more about what Jameis Winston or Paris Hilton ate for lunch than they do about their city councilman. They know more about American Idol than they do about their own checking account. They know more about the most unimportant details of Oprah’s last guest, than they do about their own grandparent’s experiences during World War II.

Reason #4. Television has abandoned rationality. When you’re watching, there is no need for thought, television does that for you. We have 970 channels and there’s still nothing on. Is that rational? Television has made normal life too boring. People now think they have to be entertained virtually all the time. If there isn’t something exciting planned at least every 3 or 4 days, their believe their lives are dull and drab. People forget that only 50 years ago, most people lived a life that required 12 hour work days on a dusty farm tractor, or that just 30 years ago, cable TV was just starting with only 8 channels and thy weren’t THAT exciting. Television has caused us to question whether we need to abandon family and friends because they just aren’t exciting enough. “Til death us do part” has been replaced with “until you begin to bore me.”

Reason #5. Television has abandoned truth. “Exciting and compelling” take precedence over truth when it comes to television. People, places, things, and events only have value if they are “entertaining.” I remember when a certain associate justice on the Supreme Court was falsely accused of a heinous crime. The charge against him centered NOT on whether the accusations were true, but on “the seriousness of the charges.” Television has fostered an attitude of theater over thinking, of showmanship over substance.

I love to take my family camping. It always amazed me to see my children, who were bored at home with every toy imaginable and 99 channels of entertainment, learn to make up games with rocks and sticks. Today, kids don’t have to use their imaginations. Television does it all for them.

Today, television dominates every aspect of our lives. We arrange furniture around it. We put them in our bedrooms, kitchens, showers, on our refrigerators, in our workshops, in our cars, on airplanes, on our computers. They are everywhere.

How much more can we take? I for one choose to not take anymore. Sure, I’ll watch some sporting events and the occasional show on the History Channel or Discovery. I might even watch something on HGTV or The Food Network, but much past these and I have no desire to participate. My mind and my time are far too valuable to be spent on the silliness that characterizes most TV shows today.

 

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 1001 articles on The Wisdom Journal.


The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.


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{ 15 comments }

Patrick

I agree. I rarely watch TV other than a movie now and then, or occasionally a show on the Discovery, History, or Travel Channels. Even then, I can stand to watch more than an hour or so. Most of it is just noise to me.

The internet on the other hand… I spend a lot of time there! At least I am creating something. :)

Ron

@Patrick
I’m with you my friend! I do spend a lot of time on the Internet, but it has a purpose and I learn something constantly.
I’ve learned to tune out the TV in most cases, but it’s funny how comforting just “background noise” is.

Frugal Dad

As you know I gave up expanded cable a while back, and rarely watch anything on the local channels. It has freed up tons of time in my life to read, spend quality time with kids, etc. My only regret is that I didn’t turn the thing off earlier!

Ron

@Frugal Dad
Yeah, I read and linked to your post on it. I’m finding I have so much more time to do other things than waste away in front of the tube.
We didn’t have cable for years. We actually got better reception over the airwaves. Then when we moved a couple of states away, there was only one channel (ABC) we could receive locally and that just didn’t cut it. I need my SEC football!

Becky@FamilyandFinances

I’m totally with you on this! My husband and I bought the first two seasons of “House” since we don’t get cable and our local stations are really fuzzy. We’ve owned them for probably 5 months now and we’re still not through them. We do love skipping out on the commercials and getting to watch on our time, not when NBC dictates.
Do you have tv-watching limits for your kids?

Ron

@Becky@FamilyandFinances
That’s not my department! Just kidding. I spend a lot (too much) time out of town but my wife does limit TV for the kids. It’s not anything set in stone, but she insists that everyone retire to their rooms and read. Our kids don’t have TV’s, video games, computers, phones, or cell phones in their rooms, but they do have lots of books. We have an old clunker of a TV upstairs in our bonus room that doesn’t receive any signals, but does have a VCR hooked up to it. They can watch old movies up there and do any homework on the computer up there.

My wife is a fantastic mom who doesn’t think the kids should have minds made of mush from TV. I support her fully! 8)

Harris

Sorry, I have to disagree with you. TV is a fun bonding experience with friends, for discussing theories of what may happen, or amazement at the latest plot twists. I have learned some interesting facts on the discovery channel, TLC, etc. I watch most of my favorite shows the next day online for free, which omits commercials and saves 33% of my time (really, a 30 minute program has only 20-22 minutes of actual content). If I am sitting in front of the television, I usually have my laptop, so I can be productive.

When it’s warm out, I’ll be more active and play tennis and basketball.

For someone who spends all day watching talk shows or can not really afford cable, I agree that it is a waste of time and money.

Ron

@Harris
Hey Harris, thanks for commenting. I’m perfectly okay with disagreement and glad to have it. I have learned some great things on TV as well, but those educational shows aren’t the ones my rant is directed toward. We probably are in more agreement than appears at first glance. What I cannot stand is to see people’s lives wrapped up in what can only be described as garbage on daytime TV (& some nighttime TV), and then they complain that they have no life, no money, and no options.

Adfecto

SEC Football! I know I watch more TV than I should, but it is less these days because blogging takes a large part of my time at home. However, I still find that letting the TV do my thinking can be nice on occasion since I spend 99.9% of my day reading. It gives me a way to relax.

Ron

@Adfecto
We’re in the same boat my friend! And I do let it just run sometimes, but I pay no attention to it. I really should just turn it off.

Daniel

Ron,

Now that the writer’s strike is over, I’m upset, because it’s easy not to care what is on when there is nothing new on, but now that it’s coming back on, I’ll be fighting my urge to watch The Office.

-Daniel

Lynnae @ Being Frugal.net

Excellent post! There really isn’t anything worthwhile on TV anymore. My kids watch a little PBS, and we watch sports sometimes, but we haven’t been watching much TV at all in the evenings.

But the computer….that could monopolize my time. :)

Ron

@Lynnae @ Being Frugal.net
I know what you mean. It already monopolizes my time. I’ve spent the last 5 weeks on the road and haven’t watched a bit of TV in my hotel rooms. It’s all blog time for me!

Gary Evans

It’s great to read posts like this!

Although as you point out, not all shows are “bad” or negative, I am 100% with you on this decision. TV just eats up our time and our minds.

The daily news shows simply rile my blood. I cannot actually stay in the same room with the news on these days. Unless I’m forced to stay, I will purposely remove myself from the room.

I heard a few weeks back that the average American spends 7hours PER DAY watching television. s-e-v-e-n HOURS! Oh my word!

I hope many more people will make blog posts like this one in the next few months and years.

Gary

Ron

@Gary Evans
Thanks Gary. TV has become our entertainer, our babysitter, our burglar deterrent, our lullaby, our distraction, and the consumer of our minds. I’m tired of the nonsense that it shows.

TV does nothing to change anything in my life personally. I find it a complete waste of time. It’s like an immersion blender on your brain cells.

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