I go in phases with watching television. In the past ten years I’ve lived a few of them – intermittently – with no television at all. Turns out life does go on. In fact, it improves. Every time I turn the television off I rediscover so many things that I otherwise would have missed. I’m girding myself for another stretch of no tv and the challenges are significant.
First, I live alone, and having the tv on as background noise helps fill up the space. Second, I spend all day every day reading, writing, and editing, and my brain needs a break and television is soooo easy. I imagine I could come up with more reasons, but I don’t want to. I want to turn the box off and keep it off and use my powers for good and that sort of thing. Of course, television is really a gateway drug to something far more sinister in its ability to eat up time. The internet. It’s like tv except with several billion channels. I used to read one actual newspaper in the morning, maybe two. Now I can surf the net and read the news from around the world. In the span of an hour I can bounce from BBC to CBC to The Times of India to The New York Times to Der Spiegel to Le Monde and on. Despite all of that I don’t know if I’m well informed or simply stuffed with data.
It’s not going to be easy, but the rewards are great. I’ll never make it to the Luddite hall of fame, but in my own way I’m trying to take back my 24 hours a day and use them on my terms, not that of network television and internet providers. So, guess I’d better turn this thing off and get –