Television ~ Boxed In SoSS

television

I think my life and my mental health is much improved since I learned to switch the television off. With this in mind I tweeted a question on Twitter asking about TV habits. This post shares the results. Many thanks to all who responded.

Stop

I stopped watching television, apart from live sport, nearly five years ago. To clarify further I do watch an old movie or drama production now and then, sourced from my computer.

I stopped watching tv about 20 years ago. I don’t think I’m missing anything. Though I should say that I do watch some content that is available on TV and on-line, I download it and watch it on my wall. Jaime.

I grew up in a household where breakfast TV would not be tolerated. I was allowed to watch the programs suitable for children. Then, as I got older, I enjoyed many of the choices my Mum made for us. It was usually a period drama series or a quality sit-com.

News

Mum would also put the news on, but only once, at six o’clock.

That’s enough joy for one day.” She’d say.

take a good long look at who advertises on your news programs and then ask yourself if it can truly be labeled “unbiased journalism.” Mrs Fever.

When I left home at nineteen I could make my own choices. But to be honest I was far too busy living to find time to watch more than an hour or so a week.

Having Children

I changed my outlook to the TV once I had settled down and had children. There were some really good educational programs that my kids could benefit from. I would tape them and when they wanted to watch the television we’d play them back. So they didn’t get dragged into mindless drivel that was often on at tea time. This was a clever thing to do as now they don’t really care about TV at all.

When we stopped watching TV, our daughters were two-and-a-half years and 6 months old, and we couldn’t get enough of spending time with them. Veni Vixi

But during those child-rearing years I got into the habit of watching the reality or talent shows with my teenage kids. Often tired I would just want to shut my mind off. I think I was too busy with family life to look at the pros and cons of watching TV at that time.

The main concern would be in becoming a couch potato and just gorging on what ever was on. Cousin Pons.

The Audience

TV channels have an idea of who their audience are: someone stupid, hypocritically angry, vacuous and thoughtless, with no attention span, endlessly interested in trivia and celebrities. You can feel the contempt that TV channels have for their audience, and it’s kind of insulting. So fuck ’em. Jaime.

However, I payed less attention to it as the children got older. It seemed to me that many of the programs were now treating the audience as if they were stupid. I was more interested in reading or doing something on my computer. It would be on in the sitting room as other family members would be watching, but I rarely chose a program myself.

I don’t watch tv much at all. I’m often in a room with a tv on, being watched by others. Sum1sub.

I stopped watching television as a hobby when I was around 12. The reason for this was that I noticed the feel of everything on the television was very superficial. Bianca.

So by the time I hitched up with my man it very easy to dispense with TV altogether. A good job too as he will not tolerate it.

Looking Back

Reflecting back, I notice that during times I have not viewed, I’ve been far more productive and creative. I put this down to not being drawn into wasting time watching the latest fad on the box.

By and large I’ve become more of a reader. Not just the comfort reading I used to do, serious books on politics, history, economics and more. Starting my blog has allowed me to spend time writing, but even more it’s introduced me to plenty of other writers I would never have come across or considered exploring before. Melody.

Agenda

About four years ago my man and I met this lady who was in her seventies. She was the cleaner for a friend of ours. We got chatting with her one day and for some reason, television came up as a topic. She told us,

Oh no, I don’t even own one of those. It is either trying to sell you something, brainwash you or scare you. I’ve got better things to do with my free time.”

Because if your infotainment is ‘commercial’ there is an agenda behind it: They are trying to sell you something. Mrs Fever.

People not (or rarely) questioning the content meant that social control and brainwashing have been constants and for the longest time were very subtle. The signs that the control is loosening is when the Establishment has to employ scaremongering. Melody.

The thing is I believe there is a lot of truth in the old ladies words. I also think that it is used as a means of keeping us in our place. How will we find the time to plan the next revolution if we are hooked on watching all the television programs during the week?

People are much more inclined to tune in when they are scared or concerned about a topic than when they were Vmade to feel that all is well in the world. Veni Vidi Vixi

Switch off

One thing that really is a bugbear for me is how rude other people can be where TV is concerned. There is nothing more annoying than a household who have one switched on constantly. Even in the background. And don’t turn it off when a visitor, such as me, arrives. I do not wish to compete with a TV!

I am able to regard television as a useful resource which has a switch that can be turned on and off. It is not my master and neither am I its slave. Cousin Pons.

I feel the same about the radio too. Not so much if it’s tuned to a station without adverts and turned down, simply providing some ambient background music. Unless of course, you are actually at a party. I have had to bite my tongue several times when I’ve been in a house that doesn’t switch off when they have guests. It is disrespectful.

I can’t imagine ever going back. Whenever I’m in a room with a tv on, I try to find a place where it’s not in my face. Jaime.

pretty much I’ve developed less and less patience with TV (and with people who are addicted to it). Mrs Fever.

Selective

So what is it I am saying here? That nobody should watch TV and it does not have any benefits? No, not quite. I am sure if we are selective about the choice of programs watched, and steer away from the news – I am quite capable of sourcing my own news now we have an internet society thank you – then I expect we can get some enjoyment and relaxation from it. And lets not forget there are a few well-produced educational/documentary shows, where we may learn a thing or two.

David Attenborough. Haiku.

Thankfully there are still programmes that cover the arts and the occasional good documentary series, like the one last year on the Vietnam War. I also watch documentaries that deal with health issues especially mental health. Cousin Pons.

Choosing what to watch was far easier when we had fewer channels. It made the decision easier to put time aside for a particular program and then to turn off.

I watch very little TV. I find an ironic inversion that the more choice has multiplied in recent years, the less I watch. Like Buridan’s Ass, I’m paralysed by choice. Kinky and Perky.

Precious Time

Personally, I don’t miss TV and will carry on occasionally watching sports and a few entertaining old movies or dramas on my PC. A bit of porn thrown in too.

I’m not going to go back to watching television full time. That feels to me like throwing time and alertness away. Bianca.

Not watching frees me up to spend time on walking, reading, have sex and writing – my favourite things.

Here’s a final word from Eye.

Pretty much all of the time I am so happy I don’t watch TV or know who people are that are on it. If anyone is thinking of giving it up. Do it! (Along with giving up papers and listening to news). Eye.


14 thoughts on “Television ~ Boxed In SoSS

  1. Very thought-provoking! I have mixed feelings about TV. Sometimes I like it…others I don’t. As with all things…there’s a happy medium somewhere, I suppose.

  2. I used to be a huge consumer of TV, watching soaps and all sorts but then when my son was born I pretty much gave it up. I would watch bits and bobs here and there, especially when I was breast feeding and exhausted but the older he got the less I watched. I let my kids watch TV but not a lot of the stuff their peers seemed to watch. Kids TV only and of course movies, movies are special.

    Now I think I have found a nice balance with the TV. I have a few things I watch regularly, Dr Who (which I had given up on but Michael got me back into and I love it all over again) The Great British Bake Off (because well, cakes, and it is just lovely and gentle) and the odd series now and then that Michael discovers, currently we are enjoying A Discovery of Witches. I did also watch Love Island this summer with my daughter that I actually really enjoyed and I am so glad I watched it with her, we had such interesting wide ranging conversations as a result.

    Mollyx

    1. I agree it is great when TV opens up conversations between you and your children. Sometimes it seems to give us that starting place to bring up a difficult topic, and also if your daughter was watching it was wise of you to join in, I think x

  3. I grew up in a household where there was no breakfast TV, and the networks didn’t start broadcasting until 4pm.
    Having been ‘behind the curtain’ last century I can tell you that all TV, even ‘documentaries’, has an agenda. What you see has been edited to shape/mold your emotions and opinions.

  4. I only ever watch something on TV, if it’s a programme I am interested in. I never r watch TV for sake of it. I like documentaries, dramas and ‘unusual’ comedy shows like the League of Gentlemen. I never watch any type of celebrity/reality/talent /soap show.

    Your comment about other people not turning TV off when you are in their home and talking to them is one that strikes a chord with me. I used to have a business which involved me going into people’s homes, and I was always gobsmacked at the amount of people that had dross daytime TV on, and me having to talk over it. I remember one woman, asked me to wait to be paid for a few minutes as she wanted to see the outcome of something on Jeremy Kyle…

  5. Re: your “one or the other” question at the end —

    I refuse to have the former, and already have the latter. 🙂 Four bookcases, in different parts of the house, all full. Two with ‘keepers’ I’ve already read (several signed by their authors), one with collectibles, and one – 3.5 ft by 3.5 ft – that houses my to-be-read pile. It’s like my own personal little library, and I both add to it and lend from it frequently.

    1. I never doubted it 😉 I like the idea of having a to-be-read pile – think I will sort that when i am at home. So appreciate your input 😉

  6. Gosh, this gives me pause for thought because I’m a bit of an addict, it’s often on in the background. Since I began writing and blogging I pay attention much less and we have a fire stick so we can watch what we want on catch up. I know what your sources mean about feeling glad when I don’t know who lots of the B & C list celebrities are!

    I used to let my children watch TV, but I policed it quite hard (not quite as strictly as you May) – there are a lot of ‘toshy’ programmes, but plenty are very thoughtfully crafted and are great for expanding their learning and experiences.

    I think of good television dramas and films in the same category as good books – but I am probably talking about ‘popular’ stuff as much as the classics – I cant deny that I love series like True Blood, Stranger Things and The Crown. Your final strong message to me, May, is that I should turn the TV off when visitors come round. That was definitely a rule when I grew up, but I have let it lapse recently.

    1. thanks for commenting Posy – Of course I don’t know those series you have mentioned 😉 but yes turn of when people come round for sure – it is a matter of respect 😉 x

  7. This is such an interesting post. I often turn the tv on if i have guests because i feel anxious and awkward by the silence. I hope my guest’s feel comfortable to tell me to turn if off- otherwise i feel like the rudest person ever!

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