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TV Turnoff Week

By mind21_98 in MLP
Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 06:41:23 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

Adbusters is sponsoring TV Turnoff 2001 (April 22-28), the week where you turn off your TV and just enjoy life. They advocate this because of their belief that television drains your mind and makes you passive. I noticed on the site though that they want you to turn off the computer as well.

Sponsor: rusty
This space intentionally left blank
...because it's waiting for your ad. So why are you still reading this? Come on, get going. Read the story, and then get an ad. Alright stop it. I'm not going to say anything else. Now you're just being silly. STOP LOOKING AT ME! I'm done!
comments (24)
active | buy ad
I thought it only applied to television (see my diary entry) but in that case I should be reaching for the power switch for this box right now...is anyone else taking part or has heard about this event? What effect would it have on the general public? I only heard about it on Headline News (which is owned by CNN) and they were wildly inaccurate, saying they're doing it to protest the wildly high obesity rates among this generation's children due to television. I'm surprised that a major cable TV network would actually advocate such a thing, but they probably worded it that way to keep the adults watching as well as keep kids from watching the television.


Voxel dot net
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Have you heard of TV Turnoff Week?
o No, I just heard of it now on K5 53%
o Yeah, I've known about it for a while 25%
o Yeah, I even did it last year 4%
o I don't care. 16%

Votes: 71
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Adbusters
o TV Turnoff 2001
o my diary entry
o Also by mind21_98

Display: Sort:
TV Turnoff Week | 43 comments (41 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
TV Turnoff Year (3.62 / 8) (#1)
by theboz on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 10:01:03 AM EST

In June it will have been a year since I had TV on in my apartment other than the occasional VHS or DVD I have watched. Life has been nicer without TV I think. It gives you a lot more time to do stuff, and you realize what a waste it is to sit in front of the TV every day. The computer of course is not a waste of time and is a valuable resource that I have to sit at for hours upon hours every day (sarcasm.)


expensive (none / 0) (#14)
by alprazolam on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 02:12:17 PM EST

I don't think I could afford giving up my TV. I would spend way too much money at bars. I mean you can't listen to playoff hockey (or football) on the radio.

[ Parent ]
To inform != to advocate! (2.66 / 6) (#2)
by Tezcatlipoca on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 10:07:03 AM EST

Nothing else to say !

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
said it before and i'll say it again (2.40 / 10) (#3)
by Lelon on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 10:10:43 AM EST

if you think tv "rots your brain", you're already an idiot and watching tv probably isn't gonna do a whole lot worse.

This sig is a work in progress.
One offtopic comment and one on (4.26 / 15) (#4)
by DesiredUsername on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 10:18:27 AM EST

First the on: When I moved into my new house, we found it had never been hooked up for cable--and the roof antenna only brought in 1 channel--badly. So for two months we had no TV. We adjusted very well (and were still able to watch the occasional tape). Then we hooked cable up. We still don't watch much (just Sesame Street, Blue's Clues and Futurama, really). So I agree that warching less TV is good. But getting rid of it entirely is about as dumb as ripping up your library card because they carry Danielle Steel--there's good stuff and bad stuff.

Now the offtopic: AdBusters. I've liked their ad spoofs for a quite a while. Then a recent article on K5 (no, I don't remember which one) reminded me of them. In a fit of impulse buying, I rushed over and subscribed. I won't be resubscribing. They have some neat "culture-jamming" (read: trolling) ideas, but otherwise they are just as brainless as the corporate drones they rail against. I had hoped they would provide a reasoned and supported counter viewpoint similar to Consumer Reports, but for ads. Instead it is filled with weasel-worded replies to out of context quotes. Almost all the printed matter could be summed up as "Nuh-uh". The most recent issue was even worse than usual--it was all about "spaces". Page after page of random photographs (or collages of same) with words printed in various areas on the page. After the first issue, I thought "I don't agree with them, but they provide balance". After the second I thought "This guys are just as bad as 'WalMart Television'--but in the opposite direction." And since I don't watch WalMart TV, I'm going to stop reading AdBusters.

The magazine is a great example of how NOT to get a radical idea across to "the straights", though. Now I viscerally understand why people say "Promote Linux through promoting Linux...not through demoting Microsoft."

Play 囲碁
A window to our culture... (3.18 / 11) (#5)
by daystar on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 10:21:28 AM EST

Y'know, my (whining communist hippy) parents were SURE that television was a horrible, soul-sicking, mind-destroying, terminally-addictive trap. The reward for their vigilance was that I grew up totally isolated from my culture. It took me a loong time to fit into the world around me. Now, I know all of you Noble Counterculture fuckups think that it's just FINE to be separate from our culture, but godDAMN was it hard to get laid.

Whatever. If someone can show me any indication that people who don't watch teevee are more successful than the rest of us, maybe I'll listen. My experience does not reflect that.

There is no God, and I am his prophet.

Don't blame lack of TV (3.83 / 6) (#6)
by NightHawk on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 10:52:59 AM EST

I grew up on TV. Watched it every afternoon after school from the time I played with legos till the time I began to play with computers. You could say I was totaly engulfed in our culture through tv.

Yet I still can't get laid and don't really fit in well with out culture.

These days I'm living happy almost TV free

[ Parent ]
Yeah, but yer a dork... (3.50 / 4) (#7)
by daystar on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 11:06:54 AM EST

I'm COOL. I should get laid...


Seriously though: Does anyone know of any studies indicating any benefits from tv abstentia?

There is no God, and I am his prophet.
[ Parent ]

not studies (4.00 / 4) (#10)
by codemonkey_uk on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 12:33:12 PM EST

But of the brightest, most interesting, successful, people that I've met, the common theme is that they all eschew TV.

Thats *not* the same as saying "don't watch TV". Nor is it saying "don't let you kids watch TV". It is, if anything, saying, stop and consider *why* your watching that crap rather than doing something more interesting instead.
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

ObINeverWatchTV comment (4.00 / 7) (#8)
by ucblockhead on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 11:14:10 AM EST

I rarely watch TV these days, usually only for a three hour stretch on Sundays and perhaps Thursday evenings, but I have a hard time feeling proud of that. While my wife sits and watches the tube during the week, I usually end up watching pixelated characters move around on a more expensive tube.

Could I give up TV for a week? No problem. I've done it for a lot longer than a week before. Give up the computer for a week. Uh...what was the question?

This is k5. We're all tools - duxup

I feel the same way (3.00 / 1) (#16)
by Luke Francl on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 02:30:46 PM EST

I usually feel like I cannot live without my computer. Since I run Linux on an older machine (K6-2 400) I can't play games (actually, I refuse to upgrade or install Windows because I know I would waste too much time playing Age of Empires 2...). But I still live for email and web surfing. I could probably be described as an addict, I check my email so much.

But, in times when I feel I'm especially falling behind, I have turned off my computer for a week or longer. It helps somewhat, but usually, I just read more books instead of doing real work. ;^)

[ Parent ]
That's fine for games! (none / 0) (#25)
by ucblockhead on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 03:38:09 PM EST

You can play games on that. I've got Linux on a nearly identical box, and can run many games fine. (I can't run Quake 3, but that's because of the lack of a good video card.)

My Windows box is nearly identical (A Pentium II 233 Mhz) and I can run most games on it.

(Or maybe I shouldn't be telling you that, or that ebworld has Linux games for $9.99...)

This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Sssh! (none / 0) (#34)
by Luke Francl on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 06:30:50 PM EST

Sssh! I've almost convinced myself that it's not good enough for games, though I still really enjoy a rousing game of Doom 2, which I played on far, far less...;-)

[ Parent ]
Obligatory Onion Reference (4.35 / 14) (#9)
by Luke Francl on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 12:12:47 PM EST

Since a couple people have said "I don't watch TV anyway", I feel it is my duty to post a link to this Onion story: Area Man Constantly Mentioning He Doesn't Own A Television.

What I love about the Onion is how right on it is. This story could have been written about me. I don't watch much TV, and I'm not slow to point that out to people. This story nailed me! I still don't watch TV, but I don't announce it anymore. :)

P.S.: OK, technically, this is announcing it...but I'm trying to tell a story, damnit!

whatever (2.60 / 5) (#11)
by elektrogott on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 12:36:58 PM EST

I generally refuse to take part or whatever in this world-whatever-days/weeks.
I refuse because I will deal with this topics whenever I think it fits me best or I just don't care

So pathetically stupid... (4.25 / 8) (#15)
by DranoK on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 02:23:57 PM EST

...this society we live in which believes in the evils of TV and computers, that 'real life' is oh-so-much better. *snicker*

OK, I enjoy around 2 maybe 3 hours of TV a day. Somtimes a DVD, quick session of my new fav game (Sacrifice and Giants right now), or to read from Whitman, Burroughs, and Ginsberg until my head hurts.

Some of these things I do for the sole sake of art (and to get the drugged-up feeling by reading the incomprehensible), some I do for simply entertainment.

Before TV existed, radio told stories. Before radio, people told stories. After work families and friends would tell each other stories. Those who told stories well would recite for a larger audience. Some would publish books, for the stories and ideas to get broader exposure.

All this was and IS done because stories are a very important part of our world. Stories allow a culture to pass down its own social realities to the next generations.

So, my question then, is why the hell TV is considered inferior to novels, poems and paintings. Why should we 'kill the TV' but save the hardbound book?

So you disagree with a message in TV, or you're just sick of the lobotomized plot, or maybe you just hate the commercials. So what? TV is a set of stories which the public wants to hear; television reflects society it does not change it. It tells a story, a story that may or may not be familier to the viewers, may or may not be garbage. But it still tells a story.

There are many pointless stupid mind-nummingly dull novels. Should we 'kill books'?

I'm sorry but I don't understand how people can ignore television's impact as an art-form. Why do so many people believe it is an inferior artform?

Just because the content is made and sponsored by corporate entities maybe? Is this the reason? *shrug*

I view television as an artform. Flame on.


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence

The missing element: interaction (4.00 / 4) (#17)
by Luke Francl on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 02:39:28 PM EST

I agree that television is an art form. It's a unique form of expression which can be used for both good and bad.

However, I think the reason why so many people don't watch TV, or try to limit their TV intake, is that television lacks human interaction. When I watch my roommates watching TV, all I can think of is docile sheep. They sit there slack jawed, laughing occassionally.

TV tells stories (communicates). What makes it different than telling stories with your family around the fire is that you don't grow closer to your loved ones or learn anything new about them while you're watching TV. Indeed, any talking takes away from the TV enjoyment. When Friends is on, you can't ask the characters what they mean, or express your disbelief in a particularly tall tale. But when Grandpa tells you the story about how he rescued 15 kids from a well, you can.

Television is a one-to-many, shut up and enjoy the show medium, where as conversation (and the Internet) is a many-to-many, multiple truths medium.

[ Parent ]
So how is this different from a book? (3.50 / 2) (#20)
by DranoK on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 02:59:14 PM EST

You can't just hop in and ask Ginsberg about Carl Solomon, although I'd certainly want to know some things. I have to speculate 'cause Ginsberg died before I had a chance to meet him (I was 16 in '97 when he died). Some of his versus I do not understand at all, and I'd very much like to argue with him about his views on communism.

But I can't. Why? Because 1) He's dead 2) If he's still alive I'd never really have a chance to meet him and 3) I think 16 was too old for him =p Anyhow, back to the point, when you read, you are not interacting, save your own imagination. You can stop reading and ponder a point, feel the excitement as your mind opens to a knew concept or idea, and in the best of circumstances you can share your thoughts with friends or a loved one, and interact with the ideas, and hopefully take them to a new level.

I fail to see how this cannot be accomplished with TV. Just last week my boyfriend and I debated for nearly a half hour a concept brought up in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager. If you are familiar with the series, there is an episode in which the crew must face fear itself, literally.

Anyhow, the discussion itself is beyond the scope of this article, but suffice it to say my bf and I did interact with the episode, and eventually, after a long debate, concluded that no emotion could ever be separated from each other, as all emotions are intertwined. Simply look at the 'pure fear' character showing joy and pleasure as an example.

Which brings up the sheep factor. When people watch TV, they can go into a comotose state and simply hear a story without thought. This, however, is not the fault of television but the fault of the viewers. How many of these sheep read books, or partake in other art? You can be just as lobotomized by reading a book as you can watching TV. Hell, the entire year I spent reading romantic victorian poetry would easily qualify for the no-thought-involved destitution many people get from watching television.

Again, I just see this as a problem with the viewer, not the art.


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence

[ Parent ]
I think the difference is... (4.50 / 2) (#24)
by Luke Francl on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 03:29:41 PM EST

You're right about books to a certain degree. You CAN have discussions revolving around TV shows (and I've done it -- especially with the X-Files, which I used to watch religiously before it totally started to suck). I definately agree with you that failure to consider what one sees is the fault of the viewer...the unexamined television program is not worth watching :-) But do you think there is something about TV which causes so many people to passively absorb it in like they do?

Reading a book is a passive activity. You sit there and read, like you sit and watch TV. But I think it's different because of the imagination involved. With TV, almost everything is provided for you. In books and theater, you need to provide some of the "set" yourself, but with TV and movies, you are just supposed to consume.

Also, unless you have a TiVo, you can't watch what you want to watch when you want to like you can with a book or the Internet. If I get hungry or tired, I can set my book down and come back to it when I want to. But if I'm watching a Frasier rerun, I can't do that.

I'm not against TV. I'm just against watching TV because you have nothing else to do. You can't hardly sit down in your favorite reading chair and "book surf": you have to pick a book you want to read, and focus your whole attention (and imagination) on it.

I think that is the message of TV Turn Off Week: why are you sitting there? Go do something for YOURSELF. You could apply the same to books or the Internet. God knows my parents tried when I was in high school! :)

[ Parent ]
A different audience (4.00 / 1) (#31)
by DranoK on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 05:36:31 PM EST

It also depends on what types of material you pick. I'm pretty much a fuckup mutt in that I like gushy love stories, sci-fi/fantasy/horror(only poe and lovecraft) and mind-altering social reflections (beat poets, limited romanticism [Xanadu comes to mind], etc), and for each I prefer a different media.

For instance, a gushy love story typically isn't going to be much more than just that: a gushy love story. Generally I'm only in the mood for this type of story for an hour or so, so a DVD hits the spot. With sci-fi I enjoy a more involved setting, one which has a bit more character development and subplots. In this a book or movie or television show are good medias, but I personally prefer TV. This way, minor development is done over time, so doesn't interfere with the main plot. Star Trek, etc, does this very well.

The other thing TV is good for is the quick bursts of story-telling without the investment of time. Does this remove some of the imagination? Yes. But I don't think that necesarily makes it a less worthwhile media. Quick example: Let's say there's a 10-page short story. It's a literary masterpiece. Someone comes along and makes this 10-page story into a 100-page story, with a full 9/10 of the content devoted to images. I don't think these images take away from the story itself. Although now there is less to the imagination, the story has more 'built-in' life.

But I won't disagree with you that TV (opposed to some movies) is mainly used as an 'escape' entertainment. Personally, I think that's not a bad thing. Art does not have to have a deep-down meaning. Art does not have to make a point. Art can simply be Art. A movie can be worthwhile and yet hold no real benefit to society (Tom Green comes to mind here).

So, yes, TV can be an escape mechanism, one which requires less mental efforts than other media. I fail to see how this in itself is cause for a cry for a tv-off week. Why should anyone stop doing what they enjoy?

I was a fucked up kid. I'm still fucked up, but like to think of myself as just being past the freakish kid stage (I'm 20). From about 8th grade on I'd rush home from school and read. Reading was at first simply an escape; I read meaningless Forgotton Realm's fantasy (R. A. Salvatore anyone?) and escaped into the life of the outcast Drow. Eventually, the more material I read, I began to notice smaller things, allusions to other works, etc. I found my curiosity grow until I was no longer escaping into 'meaningless' works but rather ones which I feel have more social importance (Stranger in a Strange Land comes to mind for some reason, although I didn't particularily enjoy it).

My parents tried to make me do something 'more healthy'; like rubbing the shitty reality that I have no social skills in my nose and forcing me to subject myself to my own ineptness at social interactions would have been a better option. What is wrong with doing what you enjoy? It's this Christian (no inherit insult towards them) notion which has permiated our own social reality of that which feels good is bad which gave rise to the pathetic displays of 'kill your TV' etc, of mindless drones who don't feel quite so mindless, smug in their superior feeling that their art is better. They don't watch no hick TV, after all, no, they go to THEATRE!

So what if TV is an escape. It still has value. Possibly someone watching Simpsons will find a societal paradox which spikes their interests. Possibly they will explore the great insanities of this so-called reality.

Physical activity is a noble pursuit, and although mental pursuits and physical pursuits are not necesarily mutually exclusive, I feel aggrevated when people look down upon those who have devoted their lives to one or the other. To the beefcakes so often labeld stupid, and the skinny-ass dorks who can recite quantum theoroms but can't dunk a basketball. Why must one who does not enjoy physical activity partake in it? Unless there is a medical condition (extreme obesity, heart problems, etc) I find this very anoying. And even if there is a medical condition, it's still the individual's personal choice.

Ack, it's great to finally find someone who can have a thoughtfull discussion about a topic. I had nearly given up hope *grin*.

Oh, BTW, I don't have a TiVo (two cable lines and all), but my boyfriend found a way to set up two VCR's with an...interesting...controler to act in much the same way TiVo does. It's quite nice. Off-topic, but my hands hurt (did that make any sense? *grin*).



Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence

[ Parent ]
Yah right (2.50 / 4) (#18)
by eln on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 02:41:22 PM EST

I can't possibly turn off the TV for an entire week during hockey playoff season! What are these people thinking?

Intrestingly enough (4.00 / 1) (#23)
by Luke Francl on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 03:12:06 PM EST

Interestingly enough, AdBusters is out of Canada, where hockey is national obsession.

[ Parent ]
Exactly (2.00 / 1) (#28)
by Wonka! on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 04:42:00 PM EST

I'm pretty much useless from mid-april to mid june. There's NO way I'm turning off the TV for a week with the semifinals about to start.
-- look out honey 'cuz I'm usin' technology
[ Parent ]
TV is *EVIL* (4.33 / 6) (#19)
by deefer on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 02:43:57 PM EST

What is wrong with TV right now? Content. All of the channels in he UK are now pretty much 24 hour. I can remember the "closing down" sequence that the BBC used to have at about 10-11 pm - basically, it said the chanel was closing down for the night, for about 10 minutes before dropping the signal. Apparently (so I'm told) the expression "No news is good news" dates back to when the BBC used to broadcast news. If nothing much had happened that day (ie nothing happened that was bad), they's say "There is no news today" and play a few records instead. So if there was no news, it meant that nothing bad had happened that day.
But now where TV is dominated by the need for high ratings, so that the ad space for sale is priced at a premium, could you imagine CNN or CNBC braodcasting "No news today"? Nope, even when there *is* news, it is done to death; reporters drone on in fake interviews with the newscaster, repeating the details of the event over and over.

TV *is* evil. I don't really watch much myself, but you walk into a pub that has a TV with a group of friends. Conversation slows, people are rubbernecking to catch the occasional glance of the screen. That's OK if it's the Cup Final, but an ordinary soap opera? And even if the sound is off, there's still the rubber necking going on. Hello, this is a pub, people come here for a few pints and to talk a load of old toot at the bar..... Bring back the Saturday morning kids TV show - "Why Don't You?" subtitled "switch off the TV and go and do something less boring instead".

I forget who said it, but if you have people's eyes then you apparently have 70% of their attention. That doesn't exactly further great communication with your mates, now does it? I wish for the return of

I'm sure there is a conspiracy involved with TV. Most people think a TV works by firing an electron beam across phosphorescent material, and we see the light created. No, I say, the TV implements a mind control technique developed by space aliens. It beams the picture direct into your mind to keep the brain waves steady, then it harvests your emotional and mental energy. Think of all the different type of shows there are - horror, comedy, romance... It is all too easy for our extra terrestrial farmers; they forecast their energy requirements and adapt the programming schedule accordingly. Maybe the recent rash of straight-actresses-doing-lesbian-stuff is a direct result of the aliens requiring more "adolescent male fantasy" energy... Or something! :)

Seriously though, TV is evil. It's used too often by adults as something to sit in front of after a hard days work; it's used in place of a babysitter. Rarely is it used as an educational tool, which was not the case in the early days of TV. Now, the TV networks are having to pander to sensationalism to keep the ad revenues coming in. TV has a place in society, but not for the uses it is currently put to.

I'll happily leave my PC on though - that is not passive, I am using the computer, not looking at the TV. And my kids, if any, will get a weekly TV quota. Enough to keep them in "culture" but not too much for them to learn moral values from it. Even now as I approach my 30's it still amazes me that people think talking about last night's events in [insert name of soap] is actually important. Oh well.

To paraphrase some famous guy, "TV is the opium of the masses". Only this time, it's corporations that are controlling the output, not the priests. Say what you like about priests and holy people, but they're at least interested in your soul, and are up front about their agendas. Corporations are interested in your wallet, but they'll never state what their motives are...

Strong data typing is for weak minds.

BS (none / 0) (#27)
by GusherJizmac on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 04:41:53 PM EST

You sir, have the boorish manner of a Yaley!

Weak Data Typing is for the Lazy
<sig> G u s h e r J i z m a c </sig>
[ Parent ]
Yaley? (none / 0) (#30)
by deefer on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 05:01:13 PM EST


I think you meant:

You, Sir, have the boorish manner of a Yaley.

Your lack of punctuation and capitalisation skill prove you no gentleman, Sir. You may, however, attempt to redeem yourself by describing what a "Yaley" is.

Kill the baddies.
Get the girl.
And save the entire planet.

[ Parent ]

Yaley (none / 0) (#35)
by Luke Francl on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 06:32:54 PM EST

I think he was trying to affect the manner of a Harvard-educated gentleman, distainful of those who have attended Yale.

Stupid, but I thought it was kind of funny.

[ Parent ]
Channel surfing life... (3.40 / 5) (#21)
by Signal 11 on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 03:02:10 PM EST

I have not watched television, as in, actual programming, at my house in about three months. At all. Why? I surf cnn, msnbc, usatoday, washington post, theregister, kuro5hin, slashdot, and a couple other websites daily, as well as about another dozen comic strips.

It's okay to substitute television for another medium, but don't disconnect entirely from the media - the main reason being not that it provides any useful service to the world (major media outlets rarely have anything of personal interest to me), but rather that you have something to talk about with other people.

I've found a big thing that people discuss amongst themselves is their opinions on television series and current events. So-called "reality TV" shows, game shows like "who wants to be a millionare", and politics. It's a good way to feel someone out - in other words, small talk. Tuning out the media entirely will close this avenue of discussion to you. In addition, in the rare event that something big really does go down... you won't know about it.

The biggest and most pervasive impact television and the media has on people is not what they say, but the reaction it promotes. When people are rubbed one way or another, they tend to give their opinion to others around them - either for reassurance and support, or to demonstrate intelligence on their part. Most geeks miss this social dynamic about the media, arguably its biggest contribution to society (for better or for worse).

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

Interesting (none / 0) (#29)
by /dev/trash on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 04:56:54 PM EST

Ya know it's sorta funny. I watched TV a lot in college, and even after. But whern I got my first real job I bought a DISH dbs system. I watch *maybe* 2 hours a week. I guess all the choices just made ity hard for me to decide on something when back in college I had 15 channels. Oh well.

I agree though kids should be out being active instead of 8-12 in front of TV.

As with everything a bit of moderation goes along way.

Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
[ Parent ]

As an avid TV watcher... (3.75 / 4) (#22)
by Wah on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 03:05:26 PM EST

..I'd have to agree. TV rots your brain.

However, I usually watch C-SPAN, PBS, Discovery, TLC, CNBC, Cartoon Network, and Comedy Central.

Cartoons are better than sitcoms, science shows are cool, a good way to understand finance and government is to watch them, and basically television is a useful medium if used correctly.

Which is a pretty tough to do, and since I do watch too much anyway (and that's without HBO and the Sopranos), maybe a week without it would be a good thing. But without the intellectual stimulation I get from the Net, I'd have to spend way too much time in the Library to catch up, so I think that's going to stay on, morning, noon, and night.
Some things, bandwidth can't buy. For everything else, there's Real Life | SSP

I grew up without TV (4.50 / 8) (#26)
by weirdling on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 03:56:30 PM EST

When I got to college, I watched it solidly, six to eight hours a day, and made the Dean's list. Then, I made a mental effort to quit watching it, and my grades fell.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I *need* time to let my brain rest/rot, and watching TV is a fine way to do that. I now sit on an excercise bike while watching TV, so I'm even getting fit while my brain dismantles itself.
Now, my real problem with these posts: Often, people figure out something that works for them and make the obvious leap that it would fix everyone else. Well, that's why we were all given brains; to figure it out for ourselves. For some of us, we won't turn off the TV anymore than quit drinking caffeine or alcohol, because it would be *detrimental* to our state of mind, but to others, such as drunks, quitting alcohol is the only way. However, I bristle every time someone tells me that we 'should' do something, such as turn off a TV, because I doubt very much that they know better than I do what I 'should' do.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
Time to experiment (none / 0) (#41)
by fonebone on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 01:28:24 AM EST

What I think adbusters and others are trying to do is give people a reason to experiment. I'd say most people who watch tv regularly have done so for a long time. The role it then plays is that of a habit, not some conscious activity with a purpose.

You're completely right that TV (as well as books, the internet, and gardening) can have affect different people in different ways, and it's important that people are aware of the ways these things affect them.

For some people, a week on the calender might be too 'forceful' or 'silly' to bother participating in, but if it acts only as a reminder to think about the role mindless television plays in their lives, all the better.

PHP and Ajax Web Development
[ Parent ]
Well, it might work as an experiment (none / 0) (#43)
by error 404 on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 05:55:34 PM EST

But I don't think it's long enough.

The main detrimental thing about TV is the amount of time it eats. And it is quite sneaky, for some people. A while ago, I thought I didn't watch much TV but when I added it up, it came to something like 15 hours a week. If I spent 15 hours a week practicing guitar, I'd remember where all the strings are within a month or two.

The first big benefit to turning off the set is that you add a bunch of hours to your free time. Unfortunately, I don't think most people are going to find great life-enhancing fun ways to use those hours in one week.

The more subtle benefits (if they are real) of removing the brainwashing are even slower to take effect.

Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

Watching TV.. (3.00 / 3) (#32)
by driph on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 06:30:25 PM EST

Hmm, I don't think Buffy is a re-rerun this week, sorry. Had it been last month at this time, I wouldn't have had a problem with the idea. :]

Actually, I don't watch too much tv period. Let's see.. Buffy and Angel I'll sit down and watch... West Wing, Law & Order and Farscape I'll generally watch from the computer.

Just as I don't hate huge corporations simply because they are huge corporations, I have nothing against TV, networks, etc. But it, just like everything else, should be served in moderation(well, everything else but the internet, of course). Turning your TV off for a week and then resuming your normal fare the next isn't going to do any good. Just cut out some of the cruff, period(hell, anything with a laugh track).

Oh, and personally, I can't stand any of the reality shows. They are just evil.

Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave

Absolutely! (none / 0) (#40)
by Kellnerin on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 03:55:17 PM EST

This week is the one with the Buffybot. How could I miss that for some misguided cause? I'd rather just watch an hour or two a week than skip a week so I can feel better about staring vacuously at whatever the screen shows me for the rest of my life.
--And is her power all in her club sandwich--

[ Parent ]
Just remember: moderation (none / 0) (#42)
by error 404 on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 05:44:33 PM EST

in moderation. If you overdo moderation, life gets dull.

Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

Television is as warped... (4.60 / 5) (#33)
by clarioke on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 06:30:34 PM EST

...as society lets it.

As a kid, I watched Sesame Street and Mister Rogers. As an older kid, I watched Nickelodeon. As a young teenager, I watched MTV. Through high school, I watched Frasier and Seinfeld, Friends, and some random cartoons.

Was it GOOD for me? Not particularly. I haven't watched TV in months. I watch movies at my friends' houses, I watch movies at my own house. But channel surfing is a waste of my time.

I digress slightly. Television wasn't good for me. When I stopped watching it, stopped reading the girl magazines my friends had, and started living my own life, I had a lot more self esteem. Through college, I have felt far better about my own body. I haven't been comparing myself to the shit MTV puts on and calls "sexy bodies" or the model-like actresses on Friends or Ally McBeal.

Of course television can have a good, educational use. For fifteen minutes at a time, between commercial breaks. The commercial breaks disgust me as much as irritate me. Commercials selling me fashions I don't want, beauty products I don't want and cars I can't afford. Wasting my time.

Not mentioning my attention span is quite a lot longer than fifteen minutes. When I am interrupted by commercial breaks from a show I am interested in, odds are I will just leave. The commercials are disgusting, the show was probably not that fantastic, and I probably have something better to be doing.

This is beginning to sound somewhat rant-like, I'm sorry.

My point, simply, is that television can be a very very powerful media. Those who watch it tend to be younger, more impressionable. As a female watching television, I am bombarded with images of what society thinks I ought to look like. Due to this, I no longer watch television and think that TV watching is a phase. I went through it. My friends went through it. I have better things to do than watch images float by and voices insinuate what I ought to look like/be like.

In the same way the television destroys teenage girls' sense of self by bombarding them with model images, it can also serve as a terrific learning tool and educational device. But let's be realistic. The majority of television-watchers use it for entertainment. While some of the entertainment is entirely innocent, some of it can be very hurtful to impressionable viewers.

An hour of surfing television now will leave me feeling depressed that I'm nothing even close to what society thinks I, as a 20-year-old female, should be, angry that I've wasted an hour, and even more angry that I feel depressed because I'm nothing close to what society thinks I should be.

Enough out of me, happy Monday, peace out,

Adbusters Misgivings (3.80 / 5) (#36)
by mdavids on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 11:10:15 PM EST

A few people have had an uncomplimentary thing or two to say about Adbusters, so I thought I should add to the list.

I've usually quite enjoyed Adbusters' little parodies, and picked up their magazine from time to time. I was quite offended when in response to some fairly reasonable and well-intended criticisms from Ed Herman (co-author with Noam Chomsky of Manufacturing Consent) on the letters page, the editor let fly with very vitriolic and personal abuse. I don't have the issue to hand, but it was along the lines of "What have you done lately, Mr. Herman, beside writing books?"

To me it betrayed a pretty pompous and big-headed attitude from people who, after all just write gag advertisements and call it "culture-jamming". I like what they do, but sheesh, they should get some perspective.

In a review of Adbusters last year (in the Australian Financial Review - I think it was syndicated from some American source), I read that the founder of Adbusters is - surprisingly, the author suggested - not as vilified in the US as, say, Noam Chomsky.

I don't think it's all that surprising. Saying the media and associated propaganda industries are complicit in systematic and horrifying abuses of power, and backing your assertion up with comprehensive scholarship, is pretty challenging. On the other hand, saying that advertising is a bit tacky (which is about as far as Adbusters goes most of the time), is not that much of a threat to established power.

hehe (none / 0) (#37)
by pallex on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 07:01:39 AM EST

Yeah, well observed, its not `satire`, in the style of MAD etc, its po faced art-darling `culture jamming`. Ooh, that sounds much more dangerous and exciting, doesnt it! Hacking into the very fabric of modern society - they`re rebels on the edge, who just don`t care!

[ Parent ]
does this mean.. (2.00 / 2) (#38)
by Eivind on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 07:23:21 AM EST

..that I have to buy a TV ? How can I turn it off without having one ?<p>

I don't buy that tv drains your mind or is particularily harmful in any way, it does however have a tendency to drain <b>time</b>, time which I prefer spending doing othe stuff.

What's all the fuss? (3.33 / 3) (#39)
by avdi on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 10:12:37 AM EST

Why's everyone so hot and bothered about an appliance they choose to install in their homes? To the point of coming up with a whole organization against it?! It's like starting a radical anti-fishtank movement. Absurd.

If you don't like what's on, either (a) turn it off; (b) change the channel; (c) throw it out; or (d) write to the content providers.

- Avdi, 20 years television-free and still perfectly content.

Now leave us, and take your fish with you. - Faramir

TV Turnoff Week | 43 comments (41 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
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