Why I Hate Television
A lot of people say they hate television, but they don’t. They actually watch quite a bit of TV. One of the things I note is that people are quick to say that they don’t watch much television, but the fact is they wouldn’t actually get rid of it.
Most people wander out of bed in the morning and turn on the TV. They arrange the ideas in their head around what’s on the television. The television tells them what is important. When they get home from work, they turn on the television again. That way they know what thoughts to think to wrap up their day.
When I was eighteen, I saw a television for the first time. It was large and seemed to have a bluish quality to it. It sat rather large and slow in this woman’s trailer. Then I noticed that everyone seemed to have them. They weren’t optional appliances. Appliances that are optional—blenders, coffee makers, toaster ovens, toasters, and of course, some people have even more stuff—boats, trailers, campers, jet skis.
We have a toaster. And a TV that isn’t hooked up to cable. So we can watch Netflix and our own DVDs but that’s all. We also have a blender, a coffee maker and a juicer. I think that’s enough appliances for us. Wait, we have a very old stereo, but no radio.
But back to television. I don’t think we are missing anything. It’s easy to not miss television if you never had it. I owned a TV in college for watching movies on and I tried furiously to catch up on what I decided were the important movies. My ex and I had a television for a couple years on which the kids watched videos and Sesame Street. In college I watched many science fiction and fantasy movies and zero black and white movies. I’ve never seen a movie with John Wayne or Frank Sinatra. Why start now?
Why I hate television: I hate reality TV, the very idea of it, and sitcoms, and Friends and Sex in the City and Seinfeld and those shows are always playing when I am in NY in a hotel room. Almost nothing else. Oh, yes and crime shows like NCIS and stupid court room stuff. The whole mess of flat depressing massage of human drama and cruelty at its most banal makes me want to do anything else.
Television is like the whole world of games and gaming. It is artificial. It is abstract. It is fake. It has little relation to real life. It is a way of avoiding life.
In Europe, they don’t have this gush of idiocy. People get out. In New York, in the city at least, I don’t think people watch as much TV as they do in LA. Their little living spaces are so small that they want to get out of them. Maybe we have too much space in Los Angeles, we sprawl across the landscape. We digest entertainment.
What we need instead of television. To garden, to cook, to have conversations with real people. To swim, to ride a bicycle, to ride a horse. To get outdoors. To meet with people and breathe their air. To meet your friends at a pub. To go to the movies. To eat popcorn at the movies. To wash the dog. To plant tomatoes in the backyard. To make love. Always to make love.