Friday, July 23, 2010

My Unacceptable Behavior

I have a confession to make. There is something about me that is... well, it's deeply un-American. Subversive. Perverted and sick. It's a secret that places me well outside the realm of polite society. It's enough to make my lack of religious belief seem positively normal, maybe even wholesome.

It's my sin, and my shame.

I don't watch television.

It's true.

I get my news off the Internet. I watch movies on DVD. We have cable, but only for our Internet connection. Our television doesn't even have an antenna. It can pick up three channels, and two of them are in Spanish.

I don't know what a Kardashian is. (Judging by the magazines in the checkout line, it's a species of dark-haired, bosomy woman whose only purpose is to provide a vicarious social life for bored housewives. Do they actually do anything, or are they another example of the Paris Hilton school of being famous because they're famous?) The Gosselins? If it wasn't for checkout line magazines, I wouldn't even know they existed. American Idol? I know, vaguely, about one guy - because he played at the local music festival. He got booted off the show right after he made his appearance. Adam Somebody-or-other, I think.

Our television set exists in a perpetual melancholy, darkly jealous of those other devices that get such a wide range of programs to display. It yearns to be connected to cable or satellite, to receive current programming, to teach us what we need through commercials. These dreams are never fulfilled. It makes do with input from the DVD Player, the Playstation, the Xbox. Sometimes, in the depths of the night, it sobs quietly to itself. I hear it, but I harden my heart against its cries. It's for the device's own good, really.

So now you know my secret. Pick a show, any show. Whatever it is, I don't know what happened on last night's episode. The latest game between Our Team and That Other Team? No, I didn't see it. Did I hear that thing on the news? No.

Nobody cares whether or not I go to church, but failing to watch television? That's weird. Incomprehensible. Barbaric. Tell people you don't watch TV, and they look at you like there must be something deeply wrong. The sales rep for our cable provider flatly refused to believe it. His brain just wouldn't process the idea.

I've taken to explaining that we're religious fanatics. It's more socially acceptable.

Which is kind of sad, when you think about it.


  1. don't watch television....well is not a sin boy , 3 bilions people don't have TV sets

    It's true.

    I get my news off the Internet. i have sorry for you but that is only a small sin
    don't get news get oldies

  2. Hey, who are you calling "boy"? ::laughs::

    No, this whole post is hyperbole. It strikes me as funny that, in my daily life, the fact that I don't go to church is dramatically less interesting than the fact that I don't watch Television. I waste no guilt on either of these things.

    I don't suppose I could talk you into including some Google Translate code in your blog? I love your list of interests, but my language skills are not sufficient to follow your posts.

    In any case, I'm very pleased to have you as a visitor.

  3. Seriously get a decent cable package. You're missing out on great shows if you only get three channels... unless your channels are Discovery, History, and Nat. Geo.

    Your couch will thank you.

  4. You television worshippers are all alike, proselytizing people who clearly aren't interested. You can be a moral person and not watch TV, you know.

  5. This might explain why you haven't been assimilated yet. Get that damn tv hooked up and get on board man!

  6. It's not a big deal you don't watch TV, but what's wrong with watching TV?

  7. @ Twin-Daddy - But... But... I don't want to be assimilated!

    @Anonymous - In my case, it's because watching TV would cut into my writing time. And, well, because I don't actually care about anything that's on. (The longer I go without watching, the easier I find it not to care.)

    I've seen bits of Lost, bits of House, most of Buffy, part of Angel, all of Firefly, the first season of Leverage, and few other things - but always on DVD, so generally a year or three after everyone else has seen them. I don't object to television on principle (with the possible exception of TV news, which has been shifting away from journalism and towards entertainment for at least two decades, now). For the most part, I don't care what other people do with their time, and there is some good programming out there.

    I just find it a little amazing how far Not Watching TV places me outside of mainstream American culture.

  8. Last time I watched tv, Murphy Brown didn't have a kid. Haven't seen any of those shows you mention, and you are so right it shuts you out of the culture. The weirdest thing to me is the number of references I miss because I haven't seen the latest advertisements. That and how much better-informed I usually am than the Wathcers. Not missing any of it.


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