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cultural elitism: your opinion sucks

The conversation starts off innocently:

"We don't own a television."

Good for you. I admire that. As a tv addict, I know how all-consuming television can be. Unfortunately, any conversation that starts off with that sentence usually devolves in about three seconds.

"We're so much better than you. We're smarter, more cultured and just better people all around. Our shit smells like roses and the sun always shines on our home."

At least that's what's implied most of the time. Most of the no-tv people I've met are evangelical about it. They preach, they rant, they try to convert you. They want to save you. Even if you don't want to be saved.

The cultural elitism doesn't stop with the people who choose not to own a television at all. There are twice as many people who actually have tvs in their home, but only use the "idiot box" to watch PBS or The History Channel. And they'll tell you that in no uncertain terms while they wrinkle their nose in disgust at the thought viewing anything else.

"Oh, Muffy and I only watch educational shows or public television. Everything else is just dreadful. We just don't understand people who watch those - what do you call them? - oh yes, sitcoms. The bane of society, I tell you." Meanwhile, the guy knows damn well that you watch not only sitcoms, but cartoons, reality shows and late night movies with gratuitous sex and violence. He's talking at you, not to you.

I don't like being made to feel as if I have to defend my choice to watch American Idol or Family Guy or any of the other dozen or so shows I'm loyal to. When the discussion about any of this comes up, anyone who says to me "I've never seen a single episode of any of those shows and I'm proud of that" is automatically labeled a prick. You're purposefully insulting me in an elitist sort of way. You are better than me because you watch eight hours of Law and Order a week but you don't watch anything on FOX? Please.

This isn't exclusive to tv watching. There are musical elitists, book snobs, movie purists. They will scoff at your album collection, laugh at your bookshelf and recoil in horror at your DVD purchases. They will think less of you if own any romance novels. Never mind that you have a PhD, you spend ten hours a week volunteering at the homeless shelter and you take in stray cats. You're a lower class of human being because you own the Skid Row box set. You'll be the scourge of the next MENSA meeting when word gets out about your Harlequin collection.

I love television. We have four people and five tvs in this house. Every tv has a cable box attached, with about 500 channels at our fingertips. Do we watch them all? Hardly. Do we watch tv constantly? No. We actually do things like play board games, read, go to restaurants. But in the mind of a cultural elitist, we are neanderthals who stare at the screen every night for eight hours or more, drooling, stuffing our face with chips and beer, and lowering our IQ by five points an hour. Smart people don't watch American Idol. Intelligent people don't even know what MTV is. Good, honest citizens have their remotes (if they have tv at all) programmed to skip over any channel that doesn't have a scroll on the bottom begging you for cash. Of course, those public channels are turned off during the day, and their kid has never even heard of Barney or Arthur. Their kid is better than yours.

I am a cultural swamp, according to the elitists. Even though my book shelf contains the entire works of Shakespeare and Poe and there's a whole section dedicated to the literature of western civilization (I was an English major, you know), somewhere in my trove of reading material is a worn copy of Flowers in the Attic and if that doesn't let me out of the culture club right there, the ten shelves of comic books and graphic novels will.

The music snobs can be even worse. You make a list of your favorite songs - 500 of them - and they come out of the woodwork to inform you that your list is shit because there's no Beatles, no classical music. You try to explain that it's your list, your favorite songs, but the snob doesn't care because he can't understand why his favorite music isn't everyone's favorite music. His is the only opinion that matters and until you get some of that High Fidelity indie music on your list, you're nothing but a corporate whore and you suck, man.

You know what? I like things that you think are crap. I'm listening to Dashboard Confessional right now and I know you are pointing and laughing, but I don't care. And as much as I make fun of Fred Durst, I think that the first Limp Bizkit album is pretty good. I've read Flowers in the Attic about twenty times. Not only do I watch American Idol, but I like Trading Spouses. I've never seen Titanic. Or Gone with the Wind. But I've seen Cannibal, the Musical ten times. It won't matter to you that I have an extensive theater collection on both DVD and CD. My love of Les Miz means nothing because the next song on my iPod after Master of the House is by a band called Anal Cunt. So if I like what you like, I'm in your little club. Until you find out that I also like what you don't. And then not only am I out, but I'm ridiculed, pointed at and told that I'm not worthy of breathing the same air as you.

If you want to be a snob about the things you find entertaining, that's your prerogative. But the minute you start unleashing your tirade of thinly veiled insults at me, I will turn you off like a bad tv show. You are the bane of my existence.

I just thought you should know.

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Comments

I'd try to think of a snarky comment here, just to be snarky, but the only TV I watch is PBS (The News Hour), but the only culture I've got was grown at a med lab from a swab.

I guess that makes me a spectator. Is that why people say I like to watch?

Damn Michele. I'm glad I haven't pissed you off yet.
I haven't seen Titanic either. Does that make us movie snobs?

I've seen Titanic multiple times. I guess I'm a closet teenage girl.

But this is my point - just because I haven't seen Titanic doesn't mean I think less of you for seeing it. It's just not my kind of movie. As I'm sure Cannibal, the Musical is not everyone else's kind of movie. But I won't piss on you for not liking it, the same way I won't piss on you for loving Titanic.

Hell, I've seen Mean Girls five times and I own Princess Diaries.

I call it "CBG Syndrome" (Comic Book Guy). Just remember that no matter how cool they think they are, they're still effectively living in Mom's basement.

Taking in stray cats!? I wouldn't touch a stray cat with a ten foot pole. Unless by stray cat you mean dirty, cheap, woman of the night. It which case I would touch her with a pole that might not be quite ten feet, but will suffice.

Huh - seems like all their vastly superior entertainment hasn't helped them be less of a hole...

well I have to put my hand up and admit I'm one of these no-TV snobs. Haven't had one for getting close to a year now and its great. What I am happy to have lost is the habitual passivity that a TV in the lounge room entails, and the hours of life sucked away watching commercials for garbage you don't need. Not asserting this is the case for every TV owner sure, but it was for me and I'm damn sure it is for a lot. In other words, TV is an OK servant but a bad master, but it(we?) don't always know its rightful place.

I couldn't give a fig what you do or don't watch on yours though. :)

I've never watched American Idol because I know you watch it and I want to be better than you! flips on wife swap

Hah. But I watch the wife swap show!

I've never watched AI, not because I think I'm above it, but because my own stage fright is so intense that I even get sick to my stomach watching OTHER people try out for stuff. Add in the humiliation of being critiqued, even nicely? I have to leave the room.

As a person who LIVED for each and every episode Paradise Hotel, though, I don't think I have any business judging ANYONE'S television watching. I may have a mental block that keeps me from enjoying AI, but I do love me some trashy TV, and I am proud of it. :)

I semi-frequently run into this crap attitude while looking for girls to date on teh Friendster. If the profile says the ever-so-clever phrase "Kill Your Television" under "Favorite TV Shows" then I keep on browsing. Like, ok, whatever, so you don't like TV. Good for you. That doesn't mean that all TV magically sucks.

Especially with Tivo, which removes most of TV's suck factor. What sucks about TV isn't the medium, it's the fact that you have to watch commercials to enjoy the programming. Remove the commercials, presto! Entertainment!

Anyone who wants to try to tell me that, for example, "Lost" sucks.. well.. can bite me.

=darwin

Skid Row box set? Why didn't anyone tell me?? Tequila in his heartbeat, His veins burned gasoline. It kept his motor running but it never kept him clean. AI jumped the shark for me some time during the last go-round, but I love "bad" TV. Nanny 911, for example, because it lets me feel superior to the parents on TV. Don't forget the food snobs and the radio snobs. They suck, too.

PS - Anal Cunt are.. hilarious. :)

=darwin

Which Anal Cunt song would that be?

I have some friends like this - no tv, no kids (to boot.) And, live in NYC. Hell if I had no kids, and lived in some trendy area of NYC, I doubt I'd be watching much tv either. But, really - they watch TONS of DVDs on their computer - LOL. They even rent tv series when they come out on DVD. Which, you know, is so much superior to watching them when they are broadcast.

Which Anal Cunt song would that be?

I respect your feelings as a woman and human.

I know it's wrong, but I love AC.

I allow my kids to watch TV and even let them watch cartoons and other junk. They balance it with education TV and/or other activities (playing outside, reading, etc...), though.

I knew kids growing up who never watched TV. As far as I could tell, the main effect was that they were unable to participate in many conversations and didn't get references to pop culture. They didn't necessarily get better grades nor where they smarter/nicer/etc... than the average TV watching kid.

Having said that, I fully support the right of people to not watch TV if they don't want to. Just like I really don't watch American Idol. But I like America's Funniest Home Videos and Cops.

Bolie IV

Wow. I didn't know AC had a softer side.

When we go to friends homes and their kids are glued to Barney (Who IS the Antichrist), they often say "Does William like Barney?". I often feel bad to tell them he has no clue who Barney is. I don't want to come across like One Of Them when I say he just doesn't watch TV. But it always comes out like that. To me, it's just no big deal.

It's not that we're snobs, we just prefer that our 2 year old play with US and his toys than sit slack-jawed in front of the TV. He's got his whole life to do that, and we only have a few years to watch him grow up.

Personally, I am one of those folks who turn on the motel TV as soon as I enter the room. I'm guilty.

AI? nah, not my style. But I do have about 60 hours of the original 120 Minutes on videotape.

Oh, and They Might be Giants' "No!" is a great kids album. Beats the crap out of The Wiggles any day. Now THOSE guys need to be Tasered...

What area of life does this NOT affect? Beer snobs give me hell because I LIKE American beers. They look at me like I'm from another planet.

Music snobs? Try being a country music fan.

I love "Extreme Makeover Home Edition", "Most Extreme Challenge", "Hey, Spring of Trivia". Yeah, I'm turning off the intellectual part of my brain, but by that time it's worked hard all day and needs a rest. Besides, the silly, emotional part of my brain needs the exercise. Both sides of the brain are vital for a balanced, healthy life.

I like (some) Barry Manilow. I own almost every product Microsoft has ever released (C'mon, Mac/Linux snobs: let me have it!)

I love the dry humor of Monty Python, the slapstick humor of the Pink Panther Movies, The inanity of Bill & Ted or Dumb & Dumber. My favorite movie of all time is a foreign film called "The Way Home" (that gets the redneck snobs going where I live).

I've read "The Lord of The Rings" about 15 times and the Bible (all the way through) about 7. I DON'T like edgy actors (Jack Nicholson, etc.) I NEVER saw an episode of Seinfeld of Friends. I liked "Touched By An Angel"

That ought to be enough to get the snob in each of you riled up enough to find my life severely wanting.

"Oh, I don't own a television"

Me: "Yeah, I understand, they're fairly hard to set up"

That gets the conversation off to a good start.

Michele,
Don't forget the two biggies of parenting: breastfeeding and spanking. Or "Attachment Parenting".

Oh, and one that's pretty specific to me: raising my kids as Americans instead of Koreans who happen to live in America. This breaks the orthodoxy of the International Adoption Community. Screw Em.

Hey, the way I look at it, as long as you're reading, it's all good. Too many people simply DON'T - "I don't have time" is a common one. And as for music? Well, if banging two trash can lids together is your idea of music then fine by me, as long as I am not a.)stuck next to you for an inodinate amount of time or b.)trying to sleep.

Anyways, television doesn't make idiots; it can only enhance them.

My wife and I have a TV, but the only station I get is some local UHF that we never watch.

We just use it for dvds and games. We like to waste our time differently, that's all.

Let's have an appropriate link from the Onion. Not owning a TV is stupid - there are times when you at least need to see news that has to be absorbed visually (do these people not watch presidential debates, for example?), to say nothing of sports. (I didn't own a TV for six years in college and law school because I was broke, and it sucked).

Frankly, to be political for a sec, while this kind of cultural snobbery can come from Left or Right, there's no doubt that it's helped Bush, who gets dumped on a lot for having decidedly non-highbrow cultural tastes (he reportedly loves the Austin Powers movies).

I notice a lot of people agreeing with you, michele. I wonder what some forensic web-sleuthing would unearth about these very same people if I went looking for opinions previously voiced on say...professional wrestling.

I have a sneaking suspicion some of the "atta-girls" you're getting would turn out to be pretty hollow. Some of these non-snobs would turn into ubersnobs pretty damn fast. :)

BTW, can we all agree there is an exception to the music snobbery rule and all agree to hate Ashlee Simpson? I can't find a single redeeming quality about her as a performer. Not even as filler pop trash.

/watcher of every crapfest that comes down the pike and some that don't thanks to the wonders of BitTorrent

BTW, can we all agree there is an exception to the music snobbery rule and all agree to hate Ashlee Simpson? I can't find a single redeeming quality about her as a performer. Not even as filler pop trash.

While I don't care for Ashlee Simpson, I don't think anyone who enjoys her music is less of a person for it. I think some people are missing my point.

And what's wrong with wrestling. I was at Wrestlemania II, damn it!

JimK,
I can't speak for Michele, but for me the topic is not about likes and dislikes, but how zealots think that their passion should be EVERYBODY's passion. Have you ever known a vegan that doesn't behave as if he/she thinks EVERYONE should be a vegan?

I don't like rap/hip hop. Just not my cup of tea. But as a musician, I respect it as an art form; there's rhythm, rhyme and in some cases melody and harmony. So I can't look down on people who like it, because that would be silly. Why demean a person over something as subjective as taste?

I think what we're talking about here is how most people can't have a live & let live attitude about cultural things. And no, I don't like pro wrestling. But some of my best friends do. ;) I am, after all, in the heart of red-state country.

I agree about cultural evangelism -- people who want to "convert" you, expressly or impliedly, to what they like and think less of you if you won't see the light -- but I disagree that anyone who's put off and makes judgments about people based on their likes and dislikes is an "elitist" of some sort, and should just chill and think everyone's equally groovy and blabedy blah. Isn't that sort of its own cultural elitism which you describe?

If I find it hard to believe that someone could compile a list of their 500+ favorite songs, heavily rock and roll, and not have a single Beatles song on it, to use your example, that makes me some kind of snob? Just because my 500 song list would probably have a dozen or so Beatles songs on it? Or are you really saying that I become insufferable when I proselytize, and if I keep it to myself that's ok?

Because you can tell something about people based on their "cultural" habits (in quotes to denote TV/music/theater/entertainment of all sorts). It's a rebuttable presumption -- I've been an overly intense fan of Rush (the band, not the radio guy) since I was 16, and that doesn't square with really anything else about my music tastes -- but what people like, watch, listen to, etc. does tell you something potentially valuable about them. Don't you think?

Mind Your Own Business and Keep Your Hands To Yourself are words to live by, as far as I'm concerned, but that doesn't mean I don't (or can't) make judgments about people based on how they entertain themselves. I expect that people do it to me all the time; the thing is, if all they care about is how I entertain myself, then it's not as though what they think of me is going to be somehow important.

I married a woman who is a country music fan (I'm talking Alabama, Oak Ridge Boys country music, not the faux country-pop the kids listen to now), is a Steelers fan and can't abide movies where people get horribly killed (even tastefully). Fortunately for us both and our kids, that's not all I cared about, and we do ok. But that doesn't mean I can't make fun of the Oak Ridge Boys or her for being squeamish. To the extent you're saying that everyone's tastes are equally "good" and we should shut up about it, I can't agree.

Or didn't you ask?

[snark]
Your post is stupid because I don't agree with it.
[/snark]

If I find it hard to believe that someone could compile a list of their 500+ favorite songs, heavily rock and roll, and not have a single Beatles song on it, to use your example, that makes me some kind of snob? Just because my 500 song list would probably have a dozen or so Beatles songs on it? Or are you really saying that I become insufferable when I proselytize, and if I keep it to myself that's ok?

If you're going to tell me that my list of my favorite songs is meaningless and ridiculous because it doesn't adhere to your idea of good music, then yea. Having a difference of opinion is fine. Looking down your nose at someone because your opinions differ - and then trying to tell the other person that their opinion is insignificant or they are an idiot because of it is just wrong.

To the extent you're saying that everyone's tastes are equally "good" and we should shut up about it, I can't agree.

No, that's not what I'm saying. I can sit here and say Ashlee Simpson sucks over and over again. But when I point at someone and see "you are a stupid, worthless human being because you like Ashlee Simpon," it crosses the line. The same with tv. I don't mind people telling me they don't have a tv in their house. But when they start in on their preaching, letting me know in no uncertain terms that their tv-free life makes them a better person than me, that also crosses the line.

Matt,
Don't go dissin the Oak Ridge Boys. ;)

No, that's not what I'm saying. I can sit here and say Ashlee Simpson sucks over and over again. But when I point at someone and see "you are a stupid, worthless human being because you like Ashlee Simpon," it crosses the line.

It sounds like we're mostly in agreement, then. But let me give you another hypothetical: You have one person who likes Ashlee Simpson and says, when asked, "I don't know, I just like her music," or, "She's got some catchy melodies, and she's cute as a button," or, "None of your fricking business why I like her." That's Person A. Person B likes Ashlee Simpson, too, and says when asked, "I think she has a lot of talent," or "She's got a set of pipes on her, and her songs are surprisingly complex."

Both Person A and Person B, we agree, are entitled to their opinions, and if they don't look at us (or, me, I guess; I won't speak for anyone else) as an idiot for not likeing Ashlee Simpson, that's cool. But honestly, is there no difference -- no valuable information you can impute to Person A vs. Person B? More bluntly, you don't think Person B's stated reason for liking Ashlee Simpson is a little less... defensible than Person A's?

Again, even if I think there is something you can tell about Person B based on their stated reason for liking Ashlee Simpson, I can't accept that as the first and last word about what kind of person they are. But I'm not going to care about what kind of person 98 percent of the people I meet are. If my wife likes Ashlee Simpson (my stepdaughter does!), for whatever reason, I couldn't care less; but someone I happen to strike up a conversation with, I may very well use what I now think I know about them to make what I thnk is an informed judgment. I don't think that's out of line.

More bluntly, you don't think Person B's stated reason for liking Ashlee Simpson is a little less... defensible than Person A's?

A person should never have to defend what music they like.

A person should never have to defend what music they like.

I couldn't agree more. (MYOB & KYHTY, and all that.) If someone tells me a band, show, movie, whatever I like sucks, I'll probably "defend" it, because I like it and more often than not, conversations like that are fun (so long as nobody's trying to change anybody's mind, which we've agreed is no good). But I will feel no "obligation" to defend it, and I would never consider anyone else having to "defend" what they like. It's what they like, not some scientific hypothesis.

Take away the offending word "defensible," though. Do you know anything about Person B from his/her response? If so, are you some kind of elitist bigot?

Incidentally, Slartibartfast, another cultural tension between my wife and me is that she tried to read Hitchhiker's Guide once and didn't think it was funny. I married her anyway. :)

First of all let me just state for the record that I believe I AM better than most of you, not your fault really, it's just hard to compete with someone as handsome, intelligent, and educated as I am - just ask my mother.

Re: TV, hell yes I watch it. I love my shows like Family Guy, Lost, Law & Order, Crosing Jordan, CSI (the original not the crappy add-ons), Elimidate, Star Trek TOS, Nip/Tuck, The Shield, Rescue Me (damn but FX got it right three times in a row AFAIC), just to name a few. I like it for company when I'm home alone. I like it for background noise when I have trouble sleeping. It's my friend, my family, my constant companion. In fact I think Homer said it best when he said, "Television! Teacher, mother, secret lover."

Oh, and I love stray cats 'cause they taste like chicken.

"another cultural tension between my wife and me is that she tried to read Hitchhiker's Guide once and didn't think it was funny. I married her anyway. :)"

D doesn't think Seinfeld is funny, which is unfathomable to me.

I don't think Something About Mary is funny, which is unfathomable to him.

Yep. Still married.

My snarky quip aside, I have no problem with someone liking a show I don't like. Unless I don't like that person anyway, and then use that against them. :-)

Also, I'm not afraid to mention that I like Titanic, despite it mostly seeming to draw teenage girls. (When it was in the theaters, that is.)

Can't stand Friends or That Seventies Show. Don't care if you watch them or not. Up to you. Just don't make fun of me because of my fascination with Pollyanna, or I'll send Mrs. Snow after you.

These guys and gals are the greatest band of all time. Disagree? You're an idiot. ;)

Seriously, I'm not so sure you can ANYTHING about a person based on their musical tastes. Here's why: I believe many (maybe even more than half) cater their musical tastes to those of the people they wish to hang with. My best friend used to change his tastes based on the girl he was dating at the time. He once came home with a Spyro Gyra album; we just stood there slack-jawed.

Anyway, I truly LOVE Those Darn Accordians, and I can't quite tell you why. And those two facts together don't tell you a thing about me.

Anyway, I truly LOVE Those Darn Accordians, and I can't quite tell you why. And those two facts together don't tell you a thing about me.

Probably not. But that's sort of like my Person A above, not my Person B. You don't believe firmly that Those Darn Accordians are about to sweep the nation and that we'll have Accordian Music Television cable channels and Accordian Music Awards shows on network TV in the next few years, do you? Because that might be valuable information.

And again, 98 percent of the people you (or, at least, I) meet, including virtually everybody in blog comments, you're not going to have a particular stake in getting to know well. If someone told me he listened to Motorhead for hours a day every day and wanted Ace of Spades played at his funeral, I would form a conclusion about that person based thereon, and move along to try and find somebody else to talk to. Unless he was the guy my daughter brought home and said she was going to marry, in which case he's not in the 98 percent anymore, and I have to establish the appropriate baseline relationship (you're in a unique position to harm my daughter, and I have to respect that; if you do, I'm going to kill you, and you have to respect that) and get to know him better because I'm going to have to manage to love, or at least put up with, him for hopefully many, many years to come.

What people enjoy as far as "culture" or entertainment can potentially be (but is not always) important information about those poeple, particularly if you're not inclined or able to get to know them better. And if you're not inclined or able to get to know them better, do you or they care what conclusions you've formed, and whether they accurately reflect what great guys/gals they are or not?

We "discriminate" every day when it comes to people, because we meet or encounter so many that we don't have the time, patience or desire to plumb the depths of their personalities. Not only (in my opinion) is that true, it's ok, even if it's based on their entertainment likes and dislikes.

Flowers in the Attic. Dude, I guffawed when I read that. I still have my dog-eared copy from junior high. A true favorite. A creepy weird book. LOVE IT.

Ashlee Simpson? That would be Bart's sister the blues sax player?

Well, one of the annoying things about television on the other end of things is people who think that everyone secretly loves American Idol, or Friends, or whatever, and if you don't see the appeal, you're obviously repressed. So their can be a bit of defensivenss there,

Personally, I don't watch much television and only get two channels (FOX and NBC) reliably because I refuse to give money to Comcast (not for any poltical reasons, more because their customer service and, hell, service in general leaves a bit to be desired). Mostly it's a screen for movies and our three gaming systems. But I don't look down on people with cable, because we would have had cable TV and Internet if our complex wasn't locked into a contract with Comcast. Instead we got DSL and an antenna.

Oh, and Cannibal: The Musical rocks. So does Orgazmo.

"At least that's what's implied most of the time. Most of the no-tv people I've met are evangelical about it. They preach, they rant, they try to convert you. They want to save you. Even if you don't want to be saved."

Apparently that is the attitude of the majority of No-TV people, because people get all snide and say things like 'Well, I suppose you think you're more evolved' and so on when I admit to not owning a TV.

I haven't owned a TV since...um...1989. Not because I don't like TV or because I think it's bad but, well, mostly because I just haven't gotten around to replacing the one I last had. And I've lived in areas where TV reception was poor and cable was expensive but necessary, and so I learned to do without. Doesn't have the slightest thing to do with the holier-than-thou thing, because frankly, if I'm around someone else's TV I'm mesmerised, and I have zero shame about it. But from the reactions of people encountering my No-TVness for the first time, you'd think I was about to grab them by the scruff of the neck and drag them kicking into a PETA-funded cult, the reaction is that strong. Eeep.

I don't know. I like watching the Hitlery, I mean, History Channel. And Cartoon Network. And Discovery Science. And NY1. And the Food Network.... and... and....

Anyway, I don't care about other people's TV-watching habits, unless they've got my remote. Dammit, I do not want to watch Oprah! Give it back!

Ah, but then there's the computer, facing away from the TV, and all is resolved.

Anyway, I have a fun time with cultural snobs, because I generally know what they're talking about and can one-up them by playing their game. And it's funny when I know more history than they do, simply due to my TV-watching habits. Ha!

May your hearts be full as a baked potato, and may you all have a spedoinkel day!

It all comes down to elitism. "You do not do/say/act as I do, therefore you are a lesser being".

Stupid attitude.

I promise not to look down on anyone because they don't own a television, but I will look down on anyone who owns a television and doesn't watch Arrested Development. Because seriously...funnier than Seinfeld. Really!...
Now the one area that it's really hard not to proseltyze about is HD. Once you get it, you feel like you have to invite everyone over for this game, that show. But that's not snobbery about not watching TV, that's snobbery about being too into tv. ;-)

hrm. We own a TV, but without cable, there's nothing to watch. Local stations don't even come in. Being of the generation where we watched TV for free, and a full 12 stations, i can't stand the idea that i have to pay to watch tv. I get some TV time in at friends houses, and after 8 years without regular programmng, i tell ya, TV is pretty damn weird. It's more enjoyable in real small doses and a spliff.

I've been thinking about this issue quite a bit lately, because it came up on a music message board I participate on.

While I do believe our culture is awash with vast quantities of worthless tripe, nothing good can be accomplished by saying stuff like "Band XYZ sucks rancid fish guts." Nobody's mind will be changed about Band XYZ one way or the other - all you accomplish is to make enemies of some Band XYZ fans.

I know it can feel really good to diss artists who you believe richly deserve it (and either by implication or explicit statement, their fans). I've been guilty of it many times. But I've come to see that it's a pointless and often harmful activity.

The only thing we can do that has a potential positive outcome is to talk about who and what we LOVE, to let people know why we're so passionate about those people, bands, shows, whatever. In the end, it's also far better for me as a person to focus on the things I love rather than things I dislike.

Which I realize sounds all Polyanna-ish, but sometimes what's trite is nevertheless true...

PBS News Hour and the History Channel. Talk about left wing brain washing. Better watch the drek like CSI. BTW is there a cuter guy on TV than Gris? I don't even care that the poor guy is so bow legged he can hardly walk. I like Jethroe on NCIS too. Sorry high school girls, I'm a bit older than you.

Alexander will be on the History channel in a couple of months. Oliver Stone and Michael Moore fantasies are being passed off as history.

If you want to learn history, read a book by a non-lefty. They're out there, but you gotta look. You want news - surf the net or watch Fox.

Right on Michelle! I own a TV and only watch PBS just because I hate our local cable co. and refuse to give those bastards any of my cash. I can sometimes pull in some network programming and to me it's all just obnoxious anymore. Even the network news seems set on either "hysteria" or "annoy". I tend to get most of my news from reputible sources on the 'net. That's just my personal taste (I also liked Titanic...not for the goopy romance but for the ship sinking and the multitudes drowning). Snobbery and elitism in any form suck and are un-American.

Bri2k

Yep. They're assholes.

Anyone who says that television is worthless is a fool, plain and simple. Yes, there's plenty of shit on the TV, but there's also a lot of great entertainment and shows that can easily be classified as art, however you look at it.

Right now, Lost and Alias are fine entertainment and I think Lost goes beyond entertainment. The Daily Show is great satire and Arrested Development is just plain funny. There's plenty more, as well. Six Feet Under can be absolutely haunting, The Sopranos is glorious and Dead Like Me did a pretty cool job of dealing with death.

Then there's Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That show was pure art.

There are plenty of other good shows, too. I don't care if people don't watch television--good for them, whatever. But to say it is worthless is just ignorant.

By the way, you like Dashboard Confessional, Family Guy, Cannibal the Musical and Mean Girls? Nine Inch Nails, Beck, The Clash, Radiohead, Taking Back Sunday, Jet, The Cure, Rancid and The Killers? Yeah, it seems to me your taste is just fine.

Ring

Me: Uh, hello (I'm not known for my telephone manners).

Other: Hi this is *** from Cox Cable ...how're you doing tonight Mr. Davis? Would you have a couple of minutes so we can discuss ....

Me: (politely but firmly interrupting the spiel) Um, before we go any farther here, I gotta tell you that we don't own a television.

long pause

Other: Really, you don't have a TV?

Me: Nope. Haven't had one for years. My account is broadband - Internet - access only.

Other: How ...well, have a good evening Mr. Davis. Bye.

click

Works for me. Worth it not having a TV just for the stunned disbelief in the sound of the voice of the cable TV call center callers. (I s'pose you could lie. But I really haven't owned a TV in maybe 30 years.)

You'd think I'd be on their "Don't Bother Calling" list by now, eh?

Got to much to do, don't get to almost any of it ...but like someone else mentioned, when we spend the night on the road at some motel (ev'ry coupl'a years or so), I'm glued to the tube three quarters of the night long ...searching for old movies, old sitcoms, old sci-fi, and flicking channels to watch commercials.

I'm a great fan of TV commercials, eagerly channel surfing for 'em. Fascinated with 'em.

I confess to having been a snob about it for maybe the first year or so, way back when ...but now? - Naw ...tho' I admit to being surprised to seeing the subject brought up at all. But I like TV when it's available. Just Not Here.

the best response I can think of to the "I don't own a tv" conversational gambit is to pull out your Dr. Phil impression and say "So how's that workin' out for ya?"

but of course, they wouldn't get the joke.

For the person who likened it to red-state/blue-state things: so true. I'm in academia and I've had to deal with people who look on me like, "You watch 'SpongeBob'? Isn't that grounds for revoking your Ph.D.?" Generally these are also the people who can't get past the fact that Bush won the election.

whatever, my friend. You have your vodka-tonics after work, I have my SpongeBob. Different drummers and all that.

I like "Family Guy," too, if there are any snobs who want to roll their eyes at me. It's a damn funny show and it's packed chock-full-o pop culture references. Very po-mo and all.