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TV Turn On

[I'll get to the overrated albums thing in a bit - I couldn't let go without presenting my annual rant about it]

From 2002, modified slightly for age

I was asked by another mother at baseball practice yesterday if I was observing TV Turnoff Week. No. I mean, Hell No!

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?

hearttv.jpgWe 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 the History Channel 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. My kids skateboard or play the guitar for hours on end, with - gasp!- no television playing in the background.

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 200+ channels. Commercial comes on, we switch to another baseball 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 second is an experience that will somehow shape our future.

I will not turn off my tv. I most certainly will not turn off my tv during the baseball season. I will not give up the History Channel and Adult Swim and American Idol. 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.

TV I refuse to live without:

The Simpsons
Adult Swim
YES Network (Yankees)
American Idol
Family Guy
Food Network (Unwrapped, Top 5, Inside Dish)
South Park
History Channel
Disaster movie marathons on AMC
Saturday morning cheesy movies on Sci-Fi channel
Nick Toons (Angry Beavers!)
VH1 (especially those list shows)
The Weather Channel

There's more. So much more. TV is my friend. It doesn't mean that books or conversation or the outdoor world aren't my friends. To think that my life would be somehow enriched by throwing one of my best friends out the door for even just a week is preposterous.

If you take part in TV Turnoff Week, more power to you. Just so long as - like religion, politics and sports allegiances - you don't act all sanctimonious about it (like the baseball mother I encountered) and assume that your standards should be everyone's standards, then I'll applaud your efforts (knowing full well that you TiVo'd ).

*[image from the awesome but now defunct (and probably one season too long) "Home Movies" show, formerly of the Adult Swim lineup, now on DVD]

[Now get cracking nominating overrated albums, while I prepare myself by listening to the entire Frampton Comes Alive. The things I do for my craft.]


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference TV Turn On:

» TV Turnoff Jackassery from The Sheila Variations
Michele posts her yearly rant about TV Turnoff Week. Here's just a snippet, but you have to read the whole thing - it's so funny. She posts it every year: We love tv. And no, I am not going to... [Read More]


I think a "shut off your PC" week would be more beneficial to our family than a "shut off your TV" week anyway.

Tonight is the most wonderful night of the week: a new Scrubs and a new Office! Yipee!

I don't know how you're going to improve yourself if you ignore the proselytizers, don't listen to the busybody do-gooders, and watch non-educational TV regularly. Screw it. Self-improvement is overrated anyway.

Haven't you heard? TV is good for you!

The effete literati love to slam TV as the reason people aren't reading their books. What rot. If they wrote books people wanted to read, they'd have readers. Did you see the hilarious letter a bunch of A-list writers wrote Oprah, begging her to flog their books?

Paglia is right when she says pop culture erupted in the Sixties & killed off the old avant garde. The world loves pop culture because it's upbeat & energetic & optimistic, but our effete literati are interred in academe, still putting our passe Modernist anomie (Paglia calls Modernism a negative, partial view of life that is pernicious)

This here redneck didn't understand half the words in that post, but I'm pretty sure I agree with them!

since paglia was brought up ... i can't find the exact quote but i remember her saying something like .. not owning a television is akin to saying.. i know nothing of the time and place i live in.

YES, she said it after Susan Sontag declared that she didn't even own a TV. This was a woman who purported to be a cultural critic! I also heard Joyce Carol Oates once bragging how she never watched TV. That explains a lot about her novels...

Food Network

Ever catch "Good Eats" or "Ciao America"? The former makes me want to cook more. The latter makes me want to move back to NYC to visit the italian restaurants around town that he's visited that looks too damned good.

Turning of the tv wont hurt any body. If any thing it will make you want to do more productive things in your life like spending time with your family and cleaning your house. T.v only causes you to become dependent on it.