Abandoning 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.