by Mak Faene
When I was a child my mother tried to put a cap on the number of hours I was allowed to spend in front of the Television. It was a valiant effort on her part to keep me active, to keep my mind attentive and to make sure I didn't grow up a prisoner of the Idiot Box. As mentioned, it was a valiant effort but in the end nothing more than an effort. She renewed her devotion to this quota frequently but it never really took for too long. And as a result I spent a good percentage of my youth, before a Television the way most of us have.
I have an early memory of my father returning from work one evening seeing the possibility for spending some quality time with his offspring. He was no match for whatever situation comedy was playing at that moment. "Mind numbing" entertainment is what he would call it. And that evening for some reason his criticism stuck with me. I was offended that he could somehow suggest that I was not spending my time constructively by watching my six hours of sit-coms a night. And I couldn't understand why he thought so lowly of prime time Television programming.
In renting my first apartment, in declaring myself independent of the nest and in officially assuming adult status, I completely understand where both my parents were coming from.
This column will not be popular. I will not make any friends by declaring the following proclamation. Many slaves to Television will greet the following with hostility, resentment and will attempt to classify me as a deviant or worse. Can these slaves still be saved? I don't know. I was. But I don't hold out for anyone. My feeling is that you have to want to do away with Television in order to actually get on with your life. Without that initial desire then I just can not see it happening.
I no longer own a Television.
This is not because of any financial reason, nor is it geographical, or due to some kind of illness or phobia. I no longer own a Television because I chose not to own one. This concept is unfathomable to some, no, most people. Not only the concept of not owning a Television but the concept of actually having a choice!
Why don't I own a Television?
It's not entirely because I don't enjoy most of the programming Television offers. It's not entirely because of the negative physical effects of watching Television or the mental repercussions. It's not entirely about inviting advertisers and propagandist corporations into your living room without the opportunity for debate. It's a little bit of all these reasons; but mainly it's for the hundreds of thousands of reasons I have yet to imagine and experience. Thus:
"While You Were Watching Television..."
A concept based on what we're missing while we willingly personify the half hearted yet alarmingly accurate term "Couch Potato".
Do I think I'm better than you?
This column may come off as self righteous to those looking for an excuse to ignore it. "Who does this guy think he is? There's nothing wrong with Television! I'm not addicted to it or anything! I happen to like Television!"
These are defensive tactics. When we feel vulnerable to the opinion of others then we sometimes find it in our best interest to try to discredit them and reassure ourselves.
I didn't create this column to stand on a soap box and announce my superiority to the slaves of Television. I am after all a recovering slave of Television myself and I wish the best to all of you. I am here to tell you that there is more passing you by than just time when you commit yourself to vegetating before the Pacifier.
I'm not asking that you do as I do instead of watching Television. Just that you do as you like, instead of watching Television. There, my challenge has been issued.