Why I Hate Television


I think on beaches

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.

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Published in: on September 3, 2012 at 7:35 pm  Comments (8)  
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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Basically any mass-media form, anything popular, is going to conform to the stupidity, idolence, laziness and self-deception of the masses. Most music, television, etc. is crap and the media that are most popular – television and music being great examples – are the shittiest.

    At some point around the age of 12 I figured out, like the ancient Gnostics, that most people aren’t really ‘people’ but animals or lumps of clay with no real interests or critical faculties. They are ‘the many, all too many’, zeros added together to equal – nothing.

  2. TV is awful trash that brainwashes the masses.
    I stopped watching it 12 years ago this month and have never missed it for a second.
    I have done so much with my life without tv, I now find it to be trashy and beyond boring.
    I personally think tv is for dumb people.

    • TV=Mind control.

  3. My husband loves television. That’s how he unwinds. We love each other very much… but what I would give to throw the TV out the window.

    • I can totally relate. My wife loves TV – it is her ‘down time’. I can’t stand the rudeness and violence in the shows she watches. After 25 years together, it could be television that does us in.

      • I am you! I know it’s going to do me in if my wife outlives me!! The older I get, 60 now, the more I want all my wasted TV time back.

  4. Kate,

    You eloquently describe the additcttion to the opium of a new age. We can see it. We can despise it. But we can NOT stop it. Television is the New GOD of the Hearth. Television is the ONLY thing which matters. The rest of life (Love, Relationships, and Communication) has been reduced to that thing which happens between the next commercial break and the next episode.

    I suppose that it is a sad commentary on where we are… and where we are going…

    … Like the Titanic… Unfortunate, but unavoidable.

  5. Loved this blog!

    I’ve not had a television for nearly ten years now. A television feels too intrusive – like having a thick, uninvited guest in the room who never knows when to shut up.

    I’ve also become politically radicalised after witnessing extreme poverty in my own civilised nation and noticing that this poverty is not being reported on television.

    Quite the contrary: poverty and many other bad things that are happening in the world today are being ignored and the very people who are suffering in real life are the ones being demonised on television. Blame the victims!

    It feels like a campaign to brutalise us all in our own homes, so that we become less compassionate.

    An example of this inhumanity was a recent episode of a police series which gleefully showed police tasering a squatter in a bedroom. We were being asked by the programme makers to sympathise with the police and to feel contempt for the squatter whose only choice was between living on the streets and being zapped. Television presented this tragedy and dressed it up as entertainment.

    If you read up on the global media machine and discover who owns it – it removes the blinkers. I see things with fresh eyes now and I am finely attuned to the political propaganda that constantly streams out of these much loved boxes.

    And the longer I’ve been without a television the more I realise how much I truly hate it. How it bludgeons you over the head for your attention and kills all real life human interaction. Just visiting friends is stressful… The television talks over everyone.

    Finally, I strongly and angrily object to the level of violence on television. But the subject of desensitisation to violence is a whole other issue in itself.

    The saddest part about television takes me back to politics, and the realisation that many, many people watch television because they simply can’t afford to participate in life in the way they would like to.

    So instead of participating in life, they watch others living their lives on television instead. Television is not just toxic, it is second hand living.


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