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TV Turn Off Week: No Thanks

I thought it fitting that my annual TV Turn Off Week post should be a rerun.

Why write something new when I still feel the same, eh?

[From 2002]

I was asked by a rather closed-minded person at baseball practice yesterday if I was observing TV Turnoff Week. No. I mean, Hell No!

I make no apologies about being a tv addict. I make no excuses for my kids loving the television. And I really don't want to get into a twenty minute discussion with someone about it if that someone cannot accept the fact that not every person thinks the same way. I also will have the urge to put my fist down your throat if you dare hint that I am in some way inferior to you, not as good a parent as you, not worthy of breathing the polluted air around us, if I watch a lot of tv.

If you want to turn off your tv, that's fine. More power to you. If you don't own a tv, that's great, too. That's your prerogative. I admire your staunch stand on the issue. Just don't throw your tv-less ideals at me, ok?

We love tv. And no, I am not going to sit here and pretend that all the tv we watch is educational. Sure, we watch the Discovery Channel and Biography and National Geographic TV. We love that stuff. But we also watch cartoons and sitcoms and the adults in this house watch late night softcore porn on Cinemax and violent movies and infomercials. And sports. We watch a whole lot of sports.

Don't tell me that tv keeps us from reading. We are all readers. We read every single night. Sometimes together, sometimes alone.

Don't tell me that tv keeps us from enjoying time together as a family. We manage to cram plenty of family time into the few hours a day we have together. Yes, we get outside. We play sports. We take walks. We run around. We hike through the local nature preserve. We sit on the lawn and stare at the stars and talk.

We do talk. We talk at dinner, we talk in the morning, we talk at bedtime. We talk while we watch tv. And we listen.

Don't tell me that we are mindless sheep suffering at the hand of advertisers. My kids do not get, nor do they want, everything they see on commercials. We are not name brand whores. We aren't mesmerized by advertising. That's the beauty of a remote control and 140 channels. Commercial comes on, we switch to another hockey game, another news channel and yes, another cartoon.

We like entertainment. Not every moment in our lives needs to be a learning experience. Sometimes we want to watch something for fun. Sometimes we want to just sit in front of the tv and stare glassy eyed at music videos as we let a rough day slip away. Not every moment in our lives is structured and organized and divided into neat compartments where each moment is an experience that will somehow shape our future.

It's not like I'm letting the kids watch programs that aren't meant for children. And it's not like Justin and I spend our Saturday nights watching a Tom Green/Pauly Shore marathon. We do have some standards in our tv watching.

I will not turn off my tv. I most certainly will not turn off my tv during the NHL playoffs. I will not give up the History Channel and Adult Swim and the Chappelle Show They bring me enjoyment. Why does it matter so much to you what the source of my enjoyment is?

You can turn off your tv. You can throw your tv out for all I care. Good for you. As long as you don't preach to me that going tv-less makes you a better person than me, you can talk to me about it all you want. The minute you tell me that (even though you were fucking your neighbor while your husband was on a business trip) you are a better mother/person than me, or that your family (even though your son was expelled twice for punching a girl) is better than mine or that your home life (remember when the cops came to your house after your husband fired that gun at your dog?) is nicer than mine because you turned your tv off for one whole week out of the year, that's when I stop caring what you have to say on the subject.

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Comments

I don't watch much TV myself, and I don't like sports. But all I can say to this is: A. Fuggin'. Men.

My son has been having a kid over almost every day this week after school. I guess he is telling him that we aren't doing the tv turn off thing so they are lining up to come over. Poor kids. They do their part and go to school for several hours every day and then they have to come home and not get to veg for a little bit in front of the tube. Ya, that makes sense. Why let them learn to relax?

Turn off TV?
Certainly not this week. I've been a nervous wreck worrying about whether Rachael will go to Paris and leave Ross behind. He's just gotten tenure! Will he give that up to follow her to Paris? I hope true love wins out.

how can you not observe TV Turnoff week? it's for the children. we must save the children.

Amen.

Whats the point of turning it off? The kids will just turn on the computer and see the ads that popup or ads on the pages of blogs you visit now a days.

Hear, hear. Or rather...watch, watch.

TV has become less important in our house since we switched off cable. My son has more time to play, and even plays with the computer less. I'm tuning in only for the news and the early morning shows.

I do miss the History Channel, Food TV and TLC. I'll put them back when I have a job that can support it.

Great blog, I'll be back!

Amen, Michele!

My wife and I have talked before about getting rid of the TV altogether, to encourage us to find more productive ways to waste time, but the truth is, we enjoy entertainment too much. Granted, television isn't exactly 100% entertainment, but it's our decision. I'm sick of all the holier-than-thou's who think they need to chaperone the world. Give me a bag of carbohydrates in one hand, a tub of fat in the other, and a remote control on my lap.

Just once I'd love to hear someone complaining that we should put down our books and go do something productive. Reading and TV watching are both essentially sedentary, solitary activities but one is lauded and the other is demonized.

I love reading, by the way, but the stuff I read is at least as trashy as the stuff I watch on TV and the double standard really bothers me.

ok i admit to not having a TV for about 9 years. I havent really missed it. And when i go to my friends' houses, and they have the TV on, and i watch it, man is it weird stuff. I can't explain it. TV is bizarre.

Yep, yep, yep. I like my TV! Shan't be turning it off, that's for sure!

When I was a kid, one summer we didn't have cable, for some reason. Did I go outside and play, run around with my friends, and generally live the Tom Sawyer southern outdoor lifestyle?

Heck, no. It was too dang hot. Instead, I learned to enjoy watching soap operas on broadcast TV. That was the year I learned "Santa Barbara" was a comedy, and discovered the genius that is Lane Davies.

Turning off the TV won't make better children, any more than losing cable made me better. Kids will find ways to goof off and use their free time in an unproductive manner, if they're determined to. It's how they train to become adults.

Amen to that.

When my parents got divorced in the late seventies, one of the first things my mother did at our new house was to exclude our most beloved appliance. The TV.

I was about 8, and lived (happily, I admit) without a television until I moved out at 17. I have often carried my tv-less years as a kind of badge of honor over the years. Probably as an excuse for my addiction to the medium as it exists today.

Our household can be described very much as you've described yours. Yes, we watch a lot of tv. Yes, sometimes it's on even when no one's in the room. BFD.

Our daughter is well ahead of other children her age in reading, writing and math. She didn't get that way from being parked in front of the tv.

I think this is just another way for ineffective parents and lazy people to blame their poorly-behaved, overweight, ignorant children and selves on someone else.

I have a feeling I know where this movement came from. We all know people who will cut short a perfectly enjoyable conversation to rush home in time for a tv show. I suspect that these people got called-out on their ridiculous behavior and decided it was the TV's fault. After all, if a woman who spills coffee in her lap can blame the restaurant that sold her the coffee......

No one takes responsibility for anything in this country anymore. Everything is always someone elses fault.

And for the record... I'm glad my mom got rid of the tv back then. 70's TV was shit.

And... not long after I moved out, she and my stepfather invested in a tv (with cable!) and are just as addicted as the rest of us.

In a good way.