Friday, October 10, 2003

When we first moved into our new apartment in Dallas the cable was already connected and we were enjoying the free mental masturbation. It was eventually turned off and we didn't jump at getting it turned back on. Consequently we have been living without television for two months. I love it. I never thought that I'd be able to live without it but life is actually easier. I feel cleaner, I'm not constantly bombarded with tampon commercials and predictable banal sitcom humor. In order to keep ourselves informed we have been reading magazines and getting our news from various internet sources (non-network TV sources).

Eventually Brad broke down and he bought a TV antenna at Radio Shack earlier this week. I wasn't opposed to it but I wasn't excited about having television. Last night was the first night that I really had my first exposure to TV in two months. We were actually sitting down to watch some episodes of Sex and the City on DVD, a show that is witty and original, and as Brad was queuing the DVD up Primetime was coming on ABC. It was appalling. It was like watching the movie Network except this was reality, not a movie.

The show last night was about some of the most gripping issues of the week, Clay Aiken (the American Idol) and his new album, Kobe Bryant and his legal woes, and the attack of Roy Horn, the Las Vegas showman. I was puzzled because when I was younger I remember Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson being real journalists, and Primetime being an investigative magazine show not a cheap tabloid magazine show. The images of Clay swooshed across the screen accompanied by laser-like sound effects. The opening narrator sketched out the interview with Clay. They made it sound so remarkable that this nerdy middle class kid could make it in the big time, oh and he has a sister with a terminal illness...WE MUSNT FORGET THAT. I didn't watch the interview of course but I'm sure they made it seem that "because Clay's sister has a terminal illness, he was woebegone and turned to music, and that's why he is THE AMERICAN IDOL!!!!" (LASER SOUND FX, LASERS, SWOOSHING IMAGES, QUICK IMAGE OF DIANE LOOKING HEARTBROKEN, LASERS LASERS MORE LASERS).

The narrator continued sketching the other stories about the barely alive Las Vegas showman Roy Horn and the legal debacle of basketball star Kobe Bryant. The high point of the hype came when the narrator was introducing Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson. The laser sound effects were getting so intense and the images, the colors, the sounds then "LIVE FROM TIMES SQUARE NEW YORK CITY," said as if it was dangerous for them to be there because any minute terrorists could blow it all up so stay on the edge of your seats America, "Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson." The two walk out onto the roof of a building in times square. I turned it off at this point I couldn't take it.

I highly recommend to anyone who reads this to try living without television for a while. I think you'll find that your life will be so much more enriched. You will feel as if you've woken up. Life happens all around you, its not contained in a little box that sits in front of your couch. Don't let your life be lived through the eyes of CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN...etc. Go to museums and look at art, go to the park and enjoy the grass and trees, use your civic spaces, take up a hobby that you've always wanted to pursue, give YOURSELF that makeover that you've always wanted. You can start the latter by using television time to workout. Life is stranger than fiction and funnier than "Friends," extraordinary things happen to ordinary people every day (maybe even you) but its hard to see these things when you're blinded by lasers shooting out of Diane Sawyer's and Charlie Gibson's mouth.

"I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!!!"


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