Monday, January 26, 2009

TV: The Death of Society?

Unless you have been living under a rock since November, you know that the digital conversion is going to happen in "Less than 30 days!!!!!!!" It's all over the news, commercials, the web, newspapers and I think it's the last message they will broadcast before the conversion.

"Your TV is now dead and you will never know what is going on in the outside world ever again!! Mwuuah! Hah! Hah!"

If the bajillion commercials (I counted!) haven't been enough, now it's hitting the news like it's going to be the Apocalypse. Oh no! 6 million people aren't going to be able to use their TV. This is a national crisis.

No. No it's not. Libraries have free internet. Newspaper stands are outside just about every grocery store. Radio stations will still be broadcasting. Heaven forbid that the TV doesn't work - it's the end of the world!

I know I mentioned it when Sunny passed me my Honest Scrap award the other day but it's worth repeating. I HATE television. And I have a ton of reasons but I'm going to give you my top picks.

A). The shows are trash. Find me one show in current prime time that does not involve, sex, cheating, murder, or death. There really is no family programming anymore. If I'm wrong please let me know because I have yet to come across it.

B). It is a complete mind suck. Since the programming is lousy, there is no stimulation to what you are watching. But I'll come back to that later.

C). It divides family more than it brings them together. When was the last time you or your beloved shushed the children or shooed them out of the room because you wanted to hear what was going on on the TV? I did it myself just the other day because I wanted to hear the commentary on the Inaugural Parade. Are you serious? A parade? And I shushed and shooed my children?

Now let's go back to the mind suck point. Not only is the programming bad enough to kill brain cells by the droves but we've allowed the medium to take on a new life. We give our children digital videos games and we justify it with "but their educational!" We set babies up with videos that feature classical music "because it's stimulating."

My kids played with playdough for 3 hours the other day. They never looked at a television; they never asked about the television. Let me pull a measuring cup out of the cabinet and they are pushing chairs into the kitchen to help me cook.

When was the last time you hosted or participated in a game night with your neighbors and friends? We had our two neighbor fellows over for dinner the other night and as soon as the plates were cleared they were watching movies. No conversation. No debate. Just staring at the movies. And the movies weren't even that good!!

I'm as guilty as the next person. I still watch the mind suck garbage - although I will cut myself some slack and say that Dirty Jobs and Myth Busters rock! But there again, I'm pretending that I am learning something.

We wonder why our test scores are plummeting in our country and why we as a nation are so far behind on math and science. We wonder about the state of our society with violence and frivolous lawsuits. But what are we feeding ourselves?

My mom once said, "You live in such a plastic world there in suburbia." And she's right. We e-mail or text one another. We socialize via social networks in a virtual world rather than throwing dinner parties in a real world. The following question was posed during Poll Day last week on Mom Dot: "The world would be a better place if..." Nineteen percent of the vote went to "there was less internet and more face to face."

Now I recognize the irony that I am sharing my opinion via the internet. But if you stopped reading my blog right now so that you could spend more time with friends and family in a real way without media intervention (aka UNO, Monopoly, Pictionary, playdough, reading), I would be honored.

The world isn't ending with the digital conversion. Maybe, just maybe if enough televisions die, the world will actually get better.


Mom said...

We have lived with out TV for five years now. These new changes have no affect on us.

The only TV we watch around here exists on a tape or disc.

Cat@3KidsandUs said...

Oy...the news is making me crazy with all these conversion warnings.