TV Snobbery

I can’t for the life of me figure out how TV has gotten such a bad rep.  These days  it is so fashionable to say “I don’t watch TV” or “I don’t let my kids watch TV”.  And I want to say, “You are an idiot”.

But just check out a few of the quotes on Turn Off Your TV.  Or you could always just Google “why TV is bad”, like I did, and it will give you plenty of reasons to throw your TV in the trash, as depicted on the home page of Turn Off Your TV.  The mental image we get from the TV Is Bad sector is one of passive, obese, zombified kids, with a bag of potato chips in one hand and a 16-ounce Coke in the other.  Then, of course, as soon as they can pull their glazed eyes away from the screen, they will immediately go out and strangle somebody to death, since on TV, violence isn’t real and everybody comes back to life. 

Then, assuming you aren’t in prison for strangling someone, you will grow up to be an adult sitting mindlessly in front of the TV watching “As The World Turns” (or Glenn Beck, but that’s another story).  Pass the potato chips, please. 

But this is pseudo-intellectualism at its finest.  You think if you deny your kids TV, they will read more?  Not necessarily.  And do you really want your kids to grow up on Walden Pond?  Contemplating the wonders of the growth of a single blade of grass?  (Not sure if Thoreau actually did that, but it would fit.)

Here is reality according to Fakename:  TV opens up whole worlds of experience to kids and adults alike, worlds you might never otherwise experience in person.  I have always been an avid reader.  When I was a kid, we lived next door to the library, and every Saturday I would check out 7 books, one for each day of the week.  It was a small town, and a small library, and eventually I started to run out of fiction that interested me, so I moved into non-fiction, specifically, biographies.  I will never forget this one biography I read about a woman (I do forget who she was) who went on safari in Africa and it was so thrilling and exotic that I immediately abandoned all my plans to grow up and marry Paul McCartney. 

But cheetahs?  Hippos?  Sure, I could see pictures of them, but there is no substitute for seeing them either in person or on TV.  The zoo doesn’t exactly count.  On TV, you see the way they move, the way they live, and it becomes real to you in a way that neither a book or the zoo can do.  TV doesn’t destroy imagination, it augments it. 

As a kid, I watched cartoons, which was sometimes traumatic because I used to cry when characters fell off a cliff, even if they survived.  Roadrunner was my hero, and my first crush was on Mighty Mouse.  At a later date there was “Wide World of Disney”, and “The Ed Sullivan Show”.

TV exposes you to things you would not otherwise be able to see or imagine.  How else would I have been able to see the Beatles’ debut in the U.S., or better yet, humans landing on the moon?  You get to see music, sports, history, nature.  And yes, sometimes you just get to escape.  Tell me what is wrong with that. 

Unless your brain is already completely empty for some reason beyond your control, watching TV causes a reaction.  You think.  That cannot be bad.

9 responses to “TV Snobbery

  1. masteroftheuniverse

    I use TV to watch a baseball game, House, and 2 cartoons and that’s about it. We didn’t have a TV for years, and finally got one when Denise got sick about 3 years ago and she wanted an opiate for her mind. I never minded TV, and never forbade my son from watching it at other kids houses, but it just has never really been part of our lives. About 15 years ago I noticed an inverse correlation between the size of a TV and the level of education in the house. This correlation has disappeared with the advent of the big screens. Growing up, I only remember a TV in our house when I was a real little kid and when it broke, my folks never replaced it. Instead, we would listen to a lot of music every night and have discussions.. I missed the moon landing,and a lot of stuff as a kid but I don’t mind.

  2. “TV exposes you to things you would not otherwise be able to see or imagine. ”

    Yup. Mike Rowe’s “Dirty Jobs” for example.

    (By the way, before he became the King of Muck, he was actually a professional opera singer!)

  3. I got another one for you: Ice Road Truckers, on the History Channel. Now there is something I will never get to see for myself, because I would have to be in coma to get on the ice road.

  4. Fakename:
    The Ice Roads looks positively tame compared to the winter streets in the town where I grew up….

    In my neck of the woods, a popular winter hobby was grabbing the rear bumper of a moving city bus and getting a free ride down the snow and ice-covered streets. (Occasionally, a kid would slip and go under the bus’ wheels, or get hit by the following car.)

    Not exactly surfing in the Pacific Ocean (like Jeff), but it perhaps helps explain my persistent curmudgeonism.

  5. Odd. Your alleged curmudgeonism has escaped my notice (so far, lol). But ice roads…they are driving semis into Prudhoe Bay, between the mainland and the oil rigs. Allow me to repeat for emphasis: PRUDHOE BAY. Somehow, they have placed cameras under the ice and you can see it cracking as the trucks pass.
    And there is a very strict speed limit on the ice roads, which is…slow. You would think the idea would be to race from one land area to another when there is ice in between, but there is some principle of physics involved here that Fakename is unable to comprehend. Especially while peeking through her fingers while watching.
    And whatever principle it is, it doesn’t always work. Sometimes they crash through the ice.

  6. Fakename writes:
    1. “you can see [ice] cracking as the trucks pass”
    2.” they have placed cameras under the ice ”

    The next time I see a pothole with a camera in it, I’ll be sure to drive around; lest I end up on a reality TV show….such as Good Eats.

  7. Rocky, just wanted to let you know that in your honor I watched my first ever episode of “Dirty Jobs”, which was about camel farming. Very, very funny.

  8. Glad you enjoyed it! Some of the episodes are actually quite educational (in a bizarre way)….for instance, how to re-grease the bearings on a 500lb tractor tire!

  9. Oh believe me, the camel farming episode is quite educational 🙂 You would not be able to imagine, for example, what the male camel does when um, aroused. He sort of coughs up his soft palate, and dangles it out the side of his mouth like a giant pink tongue, and then begins foaming at the mouth and drooling a lot. This apparently really impresses the lady camels. Definitely an episode not to be missed.

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