Just say “no” to TV. Do it for your country.

September 24, 2006 | By | 45 Replies More

A couple weeks ago, I asked a friend how close he thought we were to a time when Americans would get so frustrated with their corrupt and dysfunctional government that they take to the streets with torches.  He replied:  that won’t happen as long as they’ve got TV.  I think my friend has a good point.  TV appears to be electronic Soma.

As long as ordinary Americans are glued to the tube, there is little hope that they will be able to focus the requisite attention and energy necessary to fix their government.  It’s not that all heavy TV viewers would become active participants in their government if we took away their TVs. As long as they are glued to their hypnotic televisions, though, they won’t be active participants in their own government.  As long as American citizens suckle off their television sets, government will be run unabashedly by big corporations.

American citizens don’t seem to be inclined to give up their TV viewing, despite the fact that giving up most of their viewing would free them up to monitor their government and to advocate for needed changes.  According to the Nielsen Media Research Study released in September 2006, the average American household watched television more than 8 hours per day during the 2005-2006 television year. Individuals watched an average amount 4 hours and 35 minutes per day  To watch TV for 4 ½ hours per day, every day, is virtually the same amount of time many people dedicate to working full time jobs (37.5 hours/week x 50 weeks). 

This is an astonishing amount of passive viewing.  It’s astonishing because the average television show is so incredibly lacking in quality—if you doubt my broad-brush slander of TV shows, do this experiment: simply turn on your television to a randomly chosen station (other than PBS) and watch for a few minutes.  If you happen upon a innocuous looking news program, watch it only after consulting the high quality media criticism provided by the media site links displayed on the home page to Dangerous Intersection.  Additional criticism of local newscasts is provided here.

What would we have to gain from giving up most of that television watching? Families will start talking with each other again, according to many anecdotes.   Here’s some additional benefits: “better mental clarity, (desired) weight loss, exploring new hobbies, better relationships, more energy, higher productivity, greater emotional stability, and even better sex.” People will knit themselves back into communities.  For those viewers who fail to be highly selective, sitting and watching television is one of those modern activities (another is being a sports spectator) that gives the illusion that one is doing something when one is actually doing nothing.  As long as one is under the illusion that one is doing something, one will be oblivious to any suggestion that one needs to start doing something. 

The statistics are incredibly distressing.  TV Turnoff Network  presents a sampling of these statistics here.  For example:

  • 40% of Americans always or often watch television while eating dinner.
  • Parents spend an average of 38.5 minutes in meaningful conversation with their children per week.
  • Ten or more hours of television viewing per week negatively affects academic achievement.
  • Children under 7 spend 95% of their television-time without their parents.
  • American children spend 900 hours per year in school, but 1,023 hours watching television.
  • The average American child sees 200,000 violent acts on TV by age 18.  This includes 16,000 murders. 
  • Only 16% of programs show the long-term consequences of violence.
  • Only 4% of shows emphasize anti-violence themes.

Here’s a recent statistic: America now has more TV’s than people.

Even more distressing, check out this article in Scientific American, “Television Addiction Is No Mere Metaphor,” by Robert Kubey and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. The article concludes that many television viewers qualify as “addicts” in every meaningful sense of that term:

The term “TV addiction” is imprecise and laden with value judgments, but it captures the essence of a very real phenomenon. Psychologists and psychiatrists formally define substance dependence as a disorder characterized by criteria that include spending a great deal of time using the substance; using it more often than one intends; thinking about reducing use or making repeated unsuccessful efforts to reduce use; giving up important social, family or occupational activities to use it; and reporting withdrawal symptoms when one stops using it. All these criteria can apply to people who watch a lot of television.

Yes, TV helps many people feel relaxed. “Within moments of sitting or lying down and pushing the “power” button, viewers report feeling more relaxed.”  But there is a price to pay for this sense of relaxation:

What is more surprising is that the sense of relaxation ends when the set is turned off, but the feelings of passivity and lowered alertness continue. Survey participants commonly reflect that television has somehow absorbed or sucked out their energy, leaving them depleted. They say they have more difficulty concentrating after viewing than before. In contrast, they rarely indicate such difficulty after reading. After playing sports or engaging in hobbies, people report improvements in mood. After watching TV, people’s moods are about the same or worse than before . . . [V]iewers’ vague learned sense that they will feel less relaxed if they stop viewing may be a significant factor in not turning the set off. Viewing begets more viewing.

The authors report that the longer people sit in front of the TV set, the less satisfaction they said they derived.  Heavy viewers generally reports that they enjoyed TV less than light viewers.

This same article got especially interesting when it considered the triggers for these responses.  It’s not the content of the programs.  Rather, it’s the “stylistic tricks” utilized by producers: the cuts, edits and zooms. 

In 1986 Byron Reeves of Stanford University, Esther Thorson of the University of Missouri and their colleagues began to study whether the simple formal features of television–cuts, edits, zooms, pans, sudden noises–activate the orienting response, thereby keeping attention on the screen. By watching how brain waves were affected by formal features, the researchers concluded that these stylistic tricks can indeed trigger involuntary responses and “derive their attentional value through the evolutionary significance of detecting movement…. It is the form, not the content, of television that is unique.”

The orienting response may partly explain common viewer remarks such as: “If a television is on, I just can’t keep my eyes off it,” “I don’t want to watch as much as I do, but I can’t help it,” and “I feel hypnotized when I watch television.” In the years since Reeves and Thorson published their pioneering work, researchers have delved deeper. Annie Lang’s research team at Indiana University has shown that heart rate decreases for four to six seconds after an orienting stimulus. In ads, action sequences and music videos, formal features frequently come at a rate of one per second, thus activating the orienting response continuously.

The orienting response is overworked. Viewers still attend to the screen, but they feel tired and worn out, with little compensating psychological reward.

The power of these triggers can’t be getting any less in this day and age of wide screen televisions with brilliant colors and full-spectrum sound.  Maybe the low quality shows don’t improve in quality when viewed in the state-of-the-art home theater, but watching them does become more compelling.

Human animals are rigged early in life to attend to bright and shiny things such as changes in sounds and images of television shows.  Many of us become helpless to turn the set off.  Many people can’t even muster the strength to turn the set off in order to get to sleep.  Who often wins when it’s a struggle between television use in a couple’s bedroom versus a healthy sex life?  The TV.

Heavy viewers have “poorer attentional control” and they use TV “to distract themselves from unpleasant thoughts and to fill time.” Other studies have shown that when cable TV moved into communities, “both adults and children in the town became less creative in problem solving, less able to persevere at tasks, and less tolerant of unstructured time.”

When heavy viewers cut back on viewing, they become edgy and dysfunctional.  Their nerves become frayed.  Television-watching can be viewed as an addiction because “millions of people sense that they cannot readily control the amount of television they watch.” In my experience, most heavy viewers know that they are spending inordinate amounts of time watching TV and they already know they should be attending to other things.What’s the best evidence that television is an addiction? 

“Just say no” doesn’t work as advice to heavy viewers.  This leaves me with little to say, of course, other than to platitudinous suggestion that we need to keep in mind the addictive power of non-selective television viewing.  This suggestion should be made available on TV, but don’t expect it any time soon.

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Category: Media, Psychology Cognition

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Turn off the TV to be happy | Dangerous Intersection | November 14, 2008
  1. Dan Klarmann says:

    Some of us well-to-doers are just concerned about the total non-coverage of the narcotic effects of television in media like, um, television.

    I never had to wear hand-me-downs because my clothes came fresh from Goodwill, and we got our first family TV (a salvaged B&W console that got 3 channels) when I was 5. As such a child of privilege, I can only imagine the problems from which most people need to escape via beer and TV.

    What one gets out of life is proportional to what one puts in. TV is easy, participating is hard.

  2. Cleptomanx says:

    You know… dude, you crack me up. I love the dripping sarcasm (I do it myself very often). The beauty of your statements is that it's practically satire within itself. Pointing out actual hardships, like the goodwill angle and the salvaged TV and then tossing in something farcical like the narcotic effects of TV 😉

    I guess when some toothless guy goes down on me for 5 bucks so he can pay off his "TV Habit" then I'll put a little more stock into the "narcotic effects of TV". I've never really heard of this actually occurring, but if the problem is as bad as you think, then I'm sure it will happen very soon.

  3. Dan Klarmann says:

    A narcotic is not necessarily addictive, nor expensive; it is defined by its effect on the brain. LMRI imaging studies merely reinforce earlier research that showed that the effect of watching television is to overstimulate the parts of the brain that assign importance to stimuli, while depressing critical faculties. In large doses it leaves one in a functional stupor. Narcosis.

    This is almost completely independent of whether you are watching NOVA or "Who wants to dance for the wife of a millionaire while surviving remodeling with Aerosmith?"

    The major effects last for an hour or so after one stops staring at the flashy-thingy. There are also residual effects that take a couple of days to clear out.

  4. Scholar says:

    Clepto, I'm not your psychiatrist, but you sound exactly (my interpretation of all your posts as a whole) like how alcoholics do when justifying their drinking. Their mind attempts, and usually succeeds in rationalizing the addictive behavior. For example, "hey it's the weekend, I just like to relax with a few drinks" or "hey its cinco de mayo/st patricks day/new years/fourth of july/halloween/thanksgiving, everybody drinks today".

    Alcoholics (TVholics) may not even be conscious of this. If you get angry when people mention your habit, that is actually a *warning sign* that you are indeed addicted. (See CAGE litmus test link)

    http://www.cantonmercy.com/mercyweb.php?pg=impact

    I believe Dan K. is correct, television watching produces a low-grade dopamine effect, the same as in heroine and cocaine users (to a lesser extent). Eventually the brain the physiology can change, and allow for irrational excuses to permeate the consciousness, allowing the *destructive* behavior to continue.

    Your whole diatribe may actually be a result of your brain crying out for more dopamine (TV). Thus, all your typing is serving the purpose of letting you go back to watching TV by rationalizing that your are not doing anything wrong. Well, now you know otherwise, the science says that TV is like crack. (Understand that I feel/sense your pain, as a fellow TV addict, and am not judging.)

  5. Erich Vieth says:

    Al Gore was a keynote speaker at the "Science and Society: Closing the Gap" meeting held in Boston in January 2007. Mike the Mad Biologist reports that Gore made the following observations:

    The last forty years we have moved from a society built around the written and spoken word to a television society built around thirty second images. Since the types of thought (as well as the possible underlying neurological responses) differ between reading and watching TV, this has essentially 'dumbed down' our democracy to the point where he referred to democracy as "in crisis." As he put it (I'm paraphrasing), how, at the time of the start of the Iraqi War, could 77% of Americans think that Saddam Hussein had anything to do with Sept. 11th, even though there was no evidence (or logic) to suggest that? TV watching, which stimulates our memory center and also the flight response, is to blame according to Gore.

    For more, click here.

  6. Cleptomanx says:

    Hey Erich,

    I usually take whatever Gore (or any politician says) with a grain of salt. We are still a society governed by the written word. I mean, if you're talking about TV, everything that comes out of an actor's mouth (well, except for the improv folks) is scripted. It takes reems of written text to get through a season of a show (even the crappy ones). TV is just a more efficient means of getting all that script into your head. That's how you can shrink down a 600 page book into a 2 hour movie. I know I've never been able to read a 600 page book in 2 hours (maybe some of you are that fast, but I'm not).

    Scholar:

    I understand your point of view and see how my continuous rants could be construed as a person who is desperately trying to defend an addiction. You feel I'm in denial, like so many addicts are. It's too bad that sometimes denial and reality sound a little too much alike.

    Let me simplify the issue a bit. Let's say you guys were all in a room with me and every one of you was saying that I was a woman when I clearly know myself to be a man. I would know that you are incorrect and would continuously and strenuously argue that you guys are wrong. You guys could take my continuous "diatribes" as a person with a "problem" that is in denial.

    It doesn't even have to be that obvious. For example, my wife's registry for her vehicle shows that her car is listed as BLK… Black, when she obviously has a blue car. We called the registry and then had to call the state DMV office in order to talk to someone to change the info. After talking to 4 different people and wasting about an hour of our time… guess what? The registry still says "BLK" lol. It doesn't matter if your talking sense, people have their own ideas and sometimes you can't change their views with reason and logic.

    The reason I so strenuosly argue my points (with such long entries) is because I (erroneously I guess) believe that if I talk enough common sense, maybe some of you guys will actually see it. The reason that I deny your comments, scholar, is because no matter what is said on this board, I'm not going to change my viewing habits, so I'm not worried about defending TV for me personally… just trying to correct some fallacies (which I enjoy doing from time to time).

    It would be just like if one of you were saying that "clouds are made of cotton" or something else equally outlandish. It doesn't matter how many studies about brainwaves or narcotic effects or whatnot there are, I know from personal experience that I wouldn't go through withdrawals when not watching it for a couple of days. I've done so before (many times) and have never gone through any kind of jitters or shakes or feelings of depression or the overwhelming urge to put a tv on to any channel or hell, any of the classic signs that I've been addicted to it.

    If none of these things happen, then obviously you guys simply have to be wrong. It's really that simple and that's pretty much what I've been trying to get through your skulls. It seems like such common sense, but obviously the addage "Common sense isn't so common anymore" is holding true.

    Next time you guys want to read studies and other things supporting the narcotic effects of TV please remember what a narcotic really does to a person that is dependent upon that narcotic (I've seen this many times in the past… and not just related to my job). I've never puked from not watching TV. I've never struck a wall and lashed out at a friend or loved one. I've never been depressed or lethargic from not watching TV… etc, etc, etc! So, I'm sorry to call this a retarded argument, but it quite literally is!

    Although, I am one of those people that will still try to speak rationally in an irrational argument. I know I should know better than this because it is rule 5 in the dealing with Mental Issues Clients… "It is useless to try to speak rationally with a client who is experiencing a persistent and recurring delusional state." But, I do it with my clients from time to time anyway, because I'm just that type of person. I think that if you speak logically long enough the other person may pick up on the obvious truth of your words and figure it out.

    That's probably why I don't mind typing so much here… because I'm used to going on for hours about the fact that "government agents are not watching you" or "you did not have facial reconstruction to fake your death in order to get away from the devil's minions" or other comments/arguments that my clients deal with on a daily basis.

    So, you can think that I'm an addict in denial, but that only shows that you are trying to use stunted logic to actually deflect my real logic. Once again, an addiction… even a mild one, still causes some kind of averse effect when you stop it for a couple of days. I know that I've gone without and never had any effects (even slightly) so, there is obviously something wrong with your information. It's pretty much simple as that.

  7. Devi says:

    I think the problem is that we differ in certain fundamental beliefs, and therefore our conclusions are different. Simple example: you think you can effectively get from a 2 hour movie what you could have gotten in a 600 page book. It is my belief that if the book is well written, there is no way that a 2 hour movie could effectively convey everything in the book. The movie is a bit like reading the cliff notes instead of Shakespeare, although the movie is worse: they even add/substract characters and sometimes change the ending.

    So maybe your feeling that you are beating your head trying to convince people of something (to paraphrase you) has to do with the difference in basic assumptions.

  8. Dan Klarmann says:

    The culture of the written word is still based on exchanging ideas told in long stories. The Bible is an anthology of Cliff Notes versions of stories that were widely known at the time. Since the Renaissance, the novel was a major form of individual entertainment, and plays were generally as intricate.

    Around the start of the 20th century, short stories came into fashion. Then radio plays scripted to fit one-hour slots. Then television half-hours. Finally, MTV (1980's) adjusted the attention span necessary to about 30 seconds to make any point. There is so much redundant fluff in a half-hour sitcom that many people now have trouble following tightly written full hour shows like West Wing or Gilmore Girls. I mean, following beyond the first level of overall plot, the episode sub-plots, and the modern and traditional cultural references and literary in-jokes that make shows like that worth seeing repeatedly.

    The point is, reading is a commitment to mental involvement. Even pulp novels use major tracts of gray matter to paint a full image in your mind. Television programming is dedication to the disuse of the mind. Even educational television barely makes one think beyond merely storing simple bits of information.

  9. TV research says:

    Here is a book which summarizes research about TV and kids. Reading it might elevate this discourse.

    http://www.maketvwork.com

  10. Scholar says:

    Clepto, it seems that Wikipedia does not think my argument is "retarded".

    "a recent article in Scientific American suggested that compulsive television watching, television addiction, was no different from any other addiction, a finding backed up by reports of withdrawal symptoms among families forced by circumstance to cease watching."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Television

    I did not expect that my post would change your mind, but thanks for agreeing to be a guinea pig for the discussion. I proposed that by coming here typing you could actually be justifying your TV watching, unconsciously. And, of course you could *still* be in denial and not know it, even though I have brought the (possible) addiction to light. Clepto, I will attempt to show you that your "logic" may indeed be compromised by your brain chemistry. Here is a link to a peer-reviewed science article on the narcotic effect of television…

    http://www.sciam.com/print_version.cfm?articleID=

    On a lighter note, I had to deal with lunatics on the phone a few times when I worked at a Disability Law Center. This one guy began talking about "lasers mazers and phasers" while I was just trying to get his name and address and income.

    If you end up changing your tune try this link Clepto…
    http://www.turnoffyourtv.com/healtheducation/addi

  11. Erich Vieth says:

    Thank you, "TV research." I have just ordered a copy of the book you recommended: The Elephant in the Living Room: Make Television Work for Your Kids (2006).

  12. Cleptomanx says:

    Devi: You could be correct about the fundamental differences in beliefs. I guess I would use Lord of the Rings: Fellowship as an example. Admittedly, there are small differences from the book (Like dumping the amusing Tom Bombadil from the film version), but all in all, close enough for government work 😉 On the other hand, there are less than adequate reproductions, like the appauling job they did with Queen of the Damned (always loved Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles)… although, even with such a mess of a film you still get some of the high points of the story (the gist)… as you mentioned, like cliff notes. But, I guess i really don't mind cliff notes if I have to get the gist of a story I don't particularly feel like reading (like Ivanhoe or something).

    Dan: I find it interesting that you pretty much knock all TV… even the educational kind. I mean, I remember watching those Carl Sagan videos back in Physics class with his droning voice about "Billions and Billions of Stars" I used to love watching Mr. Rodgers go to a crayon factory and go through the processes from the vats to the wrapping paper. I still enjoy such shows as "Mythbusters" and "How it Works" on the Discovery Channel where I get exposed to intriguing and unusual facts. I'm sure that many would argue against you in favor of such educational programming, but that's okay. I get where you stand and it's cool.

    TV Research: Thanks for the link. I would definitely like to look more into this subject… although, for right now I'm not really as focused on the effects of TV on children, since I'm currently 29 years old and not a child. Although, one can argue that my love of TV was embedded in my youth which is why I view so much now…but that still really wouldn't be considered addiction, just more of a compelling notion due to feelings of nostalgia. If this was the case, I would probably seek out shows that I watched as a child, like say "Thundar the Barbarian" or "The Smurfs", but I really don't have much interest in these shows these days.

    Scholar: I enjoy using Wikipedia myself and think that they have a huge archive of reliable information. But, you also have to remember that Wikipedia is basically governed by the members and a new thread can be concocted about pretty much anything if there's interest in the subject. So, just because the "TV Addiction" page is there, doesn't mean that what's on the page is ironclad information.

    Now that those replies are out of the way…

    I went to dictionary.com for some addiction definitions:

    -the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.

    -1. being abnormally tolerant to and dependent on something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming (especially alcohol or narcotic drugs)

    2. an abnormally strong craving

    3. (Roman law) a formal award by a magistrate of a thing or person to another person (as the award of a debtor to his creditor); a surrender to a master; "under Roman law addiction was the justification for slavery"

    -A physical or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, such as a drug or alcohol. In physical addiction, the body adapts to the substance being used and gradually requires increased amounts to reproduce the effects originally produced by smaller doses. See more at withdrawal.

    A habitual or compulsive involvement in an activity, such as gambling.

    -Habitual psychological and physiological dependence on a substance or practice beyond one's voluntary control.

    compulsive physiological need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be physically, psychologically, or socially harmful —compare HABITUATION, SUBSTANCE ABUSE

    Then there's this article at WebMD on addiction:
    http://www.webmd.com/content/Article/76/90153.htm

    In this article, there's a lot of debate over certain terminology and degrees of addiction etc. But, there is also mention of the term "addiction" being used a little too loosely these days by people who don't really understand that an addiction is basically something that is considered detrimental to a person's mental, social or physical health, so to speak. (That's me trying to paraphrase a bit)

    I do not doubt that there are a small group out there with addictive personalities who would legitimately have withdrawal symptoms when stopping TV. But, I posit that these particular individuals would have the same feelings if they were asked to stop doing anything they compulsively did, like exercise, read, write (I remember an interesting episode of CSI where a suspect actually had a writing compulsion called graphomania…I think), gamble, count needles, skip on one foot, etc. But, just because we have this small amount of people who are just plain addictive, why should we label TV addiction as something credible. Yes, it's credible, but for this small group that would pretty much be addicted to anything anyway.

    Reminds me of a joke. Woman talks to her doctor saying, "Doctor what's wrong with me? I hurt all over" She touched her finger to her nose and it hurt. She touched her knee and it was the same. She touched her elbow and let out a yelp. The doctor took a moment and said, "your finger's broken, stupid!"

    Basically, I'm saying, these people are addicts and since they are getting withdrawal symptoms from discontinuing TV viewing, the brilliant minds doing these studies are coming to the conclusion that it's the Tv that's doing it. Because they see the alpha wave data and figure that's gotta be the culprit.

    This excerpt is also from Wikipedia:

    "Alpha waves are commonly detected by electroencephalography (EEG) or magnetoencephalography (MEG) and predominantly found to originate from the occipital lobe during periods of relaxation, with eyes closed but still awake. Conversely alpha waves are attenuated with open eyes as well as by drowsiness and sleep. They are thought to represent the activity of the visual cortex in an idle state.

    An alpha-like normal variant called mu (μ) is sometimes seen over the motor cortex (central scalp) and attenuates with movement, or even with the intention to move.

    EEG Biofeedback Training (often called neurotherapy or neurofeedback) is a learning strategy that enables persons to alter their brain waves by getting a feedback of their present state. Alpha Biofeedback has been popular since the 1970s. Increased alpha activities have been reported in persons practicing both Yoga and Zen"

    I particularly enjoyed the last part about Yoga and Zen. Bsically they foster these states in order to meditate and "open their minds" These are the states that buddist monks are revered for reaching because it is both completely immersive and completely open to the world around at the same time, thus giving the "one is all and all is one" feeling of deep meditation.

    So, basically the TV might be granting a person this state (in some form) to allow for concentration upon the program as well as what is going on around them. Sounds pretty Zen to me. Either way, anything known about alpha waves is still in a theoretical state and whatever I may be hypothesizing right now could be just as true as other hypothesese that the alpha state evoked from tv watching could be causing addiction or averse conditioning.

    Since theory is without basis at the moment, I just gotta go with empirical data… meaning, what I already wrote in my previous posts. I have experienced no withdrawal symptoms from stopping and do not have a compulsion to watch TV even when I don't want to. If there's absolutely nothing on that interests me, then I turn the TV off.

    Also, if a person were truly addicted then they would begin to grow a tolerancy and would wish to continually increase the intake of the habit. So, a TV addict wouldn't even care what was on the tv at all, they would only be interested in making sure the tv was always on and trying to focus on it at all times (even if it was the "grass growing" channel) I really don't know anyone like that. I'm sure there is someone out there like that. But, you guys are using the terminology way too loosely because of an arbitrary number of hours that you may believe to be too much.

    There's 168 in a week. Subtract 56 for sleep (8 hours a night, if you're that lucky) and 40 for work (if you're lucky enough to have the average work week), that leaves 72 hours. If you further subtract say 25 hours (what many believe to be too much tv viewing) that still leaves 47 hours of everything else. Maybe hanging out with friends, family, doing chores and odd jobs, eating, homework, bringing home work from your job, reading, writing, jogging… whatever. THe misleading part of this simple arithmatic is that many activities can be done while watching tv like eating, working, exercising, writing (as I'm doing now), hanging out with friends or family. So, it doesn't even cut in as much as it seems.

    So, anyway, I'm going to end my entries on this subject here because I've pretty much gone the whole 9 yards and even tossed in the kitchen sink. I've repeated past comments and tried to toss in everything new I can possibly think of and quite frankly I'm completely spent. If you guys want to continue to feel that TV is bad and a degrading influence on society… well, I did my best to try to combat this belief. Maybe it will just take a smarter person than myself to bring this one home, but I'm done.

    It's been fun guys. Time to bake some cookies and watch some Star Trek: Voyager.

  13. Scholar says:

    Clepto, I too am addicted to tv. You gave me the "wikipedia" lecture and then quoted wikipedia yourself. You "got my post out of the way" even though you declined comment on (read?) the other links which I provided. Also, your figures of 25 hours per week sound low. Do the math and the tv is on at least 4 hours a day during the week and *at least 8 hours* a day on the weekend which equals 32 hours per week. Lets be honest with *ourselves*

    Now that I got your post out of the way…

    Here are some shows which you might want to consider watching to round out your detective-genre-based schedule (which I avoid):

    Punk'd

    UFC Ultimate Fighting

    American Choppers

    Daily Show with John Stewart (He just interviewed Neil Degrasse Tyson who just finished another astronomy book)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Degrasse_Tyson

    Late Night with Conan O'Brien

    Late Show with David Letterman

    Discovery Channel (just about anything)

    NBA Basketball (seasonal)

    College Basketball (seasonal)

    Colbert Report

    College Football (seasonal)

    Tennis (majors)

    ESPN Sportscenter

    Worlds Most Amazing Videos

    American Idol (shhhh)

    NFL Football (seasonal)

    Crank Yankers

    Sarah Silverman Show (begins Thursday, check your local listings 🙂 )

    Baseball, if the orioles are above .500 (never)

    Frontline (news)

    Judge Judy

    Dan Rather Reports (HD Net)

    Amazing Race

    MAD TV

    Saturday Night Live

    PBS Nova

    WSOP (World Series of Poker)

    Iron Chef

    Thats a pretty good picture of my current TV schedule. Come to think of it, I seem to be the one with more of an addiction…

  14. Cleptomanx says:

    Scholar: Yeah, you're right about me just sorta getting you out of the way with that last post. I just feel tired of this subject now and feel as though I've basically typed a small novella on my side of the discussion. You're also correct that 25 hours is a conservative number for me… I was just using the number as a number I figured most people would think is too much. I wasn't really talking about my own viewing, but once again, I do a lot of things while watching tv so I don't consider it all just exclusively tv time.

    About the list of shows. I'll just make individual comments. Also, the shows I listed earlier are just basically shows that I follow the whole season (and I didn't list all, just the ones that were playing on the week I typed it), I do watch other shows sporadically, like Survivorman or the Daily Show…

    Punk’d *used to watch it, but don't like it much anymore now that Ashton doesn't even show up anymore

    UFC Ultimate Fighting*I watch this on occassion, one of the few sports shows i enjoy

    American Choppers*Watched once or twice, but hate the dicks on the show who think they're god's gift because they can put together a chopper. Woopteefreakindoo (true, i can't do it, but I also can't kiss my own ass and wouldn't be impressed with a guy who could. Maybe a chick though)

    Daily Show with John Stewart (He just interviewed Neil Degrasse Tyson who just finished another astronomy book)*I like watching this show quite often… and Colbert on occassion, but not so much
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Degrasse_Tyson
    Late Night with Conan O’Brien*Used to, but not as much because I'm usually either at work or sleeping

    Late Show with David Letterman*Liked letterman maybe 6 or 7 years ago but find him now to be rather boring and his lists quite weak

    Discovery Channel (just about anything)*I watch quite a bit

    NBA Basketball (seasonal)*Don't enjoy watching this sport

    College Basketball (seasonal)*Ditto

    Colbert Report*Already answered

    College Football (seasonal)*Ditto

    Tennis (majors)*Ditto, but have a little more tolerance for tennis than some others

    ESPN Sportscenter*Nope

    Worlds Most Amazing Videos*You can just watch idiots slamming cars or police chases or falling people freakin out so often… or even animal attacks. I'd rather just watch Faces of Death videos and just get the hardcore stuff than this softcore stuff (remember the monkey pinned in the table scene?)

    American Idol (shhhh)*Actually catch some of the early(crappy) auditions, but don't usually follow the rest of it

    NFL Football (seasonal)*Ditto

    Crank Yankers*I don't think they play this anymore…or at least I haven't seen it advertised anymore

    Sarah Silverman Show (begins Thursday, check your local listings )*I plan to 🙂

    Baseball, if the orioles are above .500 (never)*Can't stand baseball, sorry

    Frontline (news)*I usually just catch some CNN every so often to check headlines and such

    Judge Judy*Usually sleeping and even if I was awake, I'd rather strangle this bitch than watch her

    Dan Rather Reports (HD Net)*Don't think I'm able to watch this with my extended basic 3

    Amazing Race*Hate this show! Can't stand the idiots they decide to put on it. To use the term again… retards

    MAD TV*I usually catch the reruns on Com Central, but not new episodes. I just wait till they rerun them at more convenient times to watch

    Saturday Night Live*Eww… haven't bothered with this ball of crap for many years now. Think I gave up on it around the time Farley, Spade and Sandler took off(although, I don't mind watching older episodes with better casts)

    PBS Nova*Like this show. Watch it occassionally

    WSOP (World Series of Poker)*Sick of poker shows. Have boycotted them all now

    Iron Chef*Cool show. I even used to love watching the japanese one before America came along. But, there usually aren't too many new episodes before they start rerunning. So, don't get to watch it too often.

    I also like watching other shows as well that may have been in rerun when I typed my last list or haven't started up yet, like

    Stargate SG1

    Stargate Atlantis

    ER

    Scrubs

    Numbers

    Ghosthunters

    Doctor Who

    The Closer

    4400

    and probably a bunch more I just can't think of off the top of my head.

    Some sports/athletic shows I like watching are MetRX Toughman Comps, Survivor, Ninja Warrior, some kickboxing, various martial arts comps and some boxing.

    Anyway, sorry I just got you out of the way last time and hope this response was more thoughtful and involved for you 🙂

  15. Scholar says:

    Does anybody else feel like we are in the eye of the hurricane? Kind of got that "calm before the storm" feeling.

    Well the Silverman show was creative, but not exactly hilarious like the Chapelle Show. A bit of trivia…I actually met Dave Chappelle, on two occasions. He was cool, and we even smoked some wacky tabacky both times.

  16. Emilio says:

    You know, it's a strange weight that's lifted when you stop exposing yourself to hour after hour of commercials yelling at you.

    I got rid of cable in August 06, and have not hooked up any antennas for over-the-air. I've limited myself to 3-out Netflix and a handful of my favorite series from P2P over DSL. What do I really miss? Football. That's about it.

    My initial reason for taking this step was a gradually-building anger over paying a ridiculous amount for 180 channels of dreck to get to the couple shows I really wanted, displayed according to someone else's schedule, which was stupid since now you can essentially watch them on DVD whenever you want, without commercials by just having the patience to wait 6 moths…

    But no constant drum beat of one instantly presented disaster after another, news cycle to news cycle… After 6 months without it, I feel… lighter, less driven from one worried rage to another about issues I have no control over, and that truth be told, don't really affect me anyway.

    All I can say is if you're reading this and thinking about it, try it! Save some money, take back some of your remaining life-span, and cut the cable.

  17. Erich Vieth says:

    Here's another resource for those wanting to explore the harmful effects of exposure to lots of television: http://www.trashyourtv.com/

  18. Corporal Obidiah Jos says:

    I don't know what a television is.

    I died in the Great War in northern Europe in 1916 and never had any fun in my short life.

    My ghost has seen some strange things after I left. You should enjoy life while you have it.

  19. steve5 says:

    television has become too much of a must have item nowadays. I am guilty of this myself. One comes home tired, seeking to escape from all the hard work and/or mental drama. One is willing to put up with anything and let some one/thing be the driver

    This video I stumbled upon comes to mind

    http://www.reelsketch.com/funny-videos-clips/sayi

    tv really is like a drug in some way

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