January 11, 2007

People Who Claim Not To Watch TV

Today on TVSquad: Things I Hate about TV: People who claim not to watch it.

Somewhere along the line, watching television became cultural shorthand for being a stupid. Thus, for wannabe intellectuals, not watching television is the best way to prove to everyone that you’re intelligent. Saying, “I don’t own a TV” implies a life of Shakespeare and smoking jackets.

Except, here’s the thing: Shakespeare was the television of his time (insofar as it was wildly popular and easily accessible by the masses). Seriously. His theater was on the wrong side of town, next to bear baiting pits (a sport that I fully expect Fox to revive before the end of this decade). The intellectuals of the day looked down on it as something vulgar and common. Shakespeare was filled with unnecessary sexual innuendo and broad, bawdy comedy — I mean, it really was Two and a Half Men of Verona.

So, if they can enjoy Shakespeare so much, why is it that “intellectuals” can’t enjoy popular culture? Because they’re being pretentious.

A thousand million “Amen”s to this article. I’ve known people like this, who don’t own a TV, or who only have a small set somewhere in a back bedroom, and who look down on us whenever we talk about TV shows. And I used to get riled up, but now my standard response is to just ignore them and to feel superior to them because of all the stuff I know they’re missing.

Our house has five TVs, four of them with DVD players attached. Our son has been watching TV since he was one, and most of those extra TVs are so he can watch what he wants without us having to switch off our programs. We just bought a van with a DVD player in the back, and we have a portable DVD that we take into restaurants. We’ve been criticized of using the “Plug In Drug” on our child, and one lady we were out to dinner with actually picked up the DVD player and turned it around so the kids couldn’t see it. So, not only pretentious, but rude too.

And the thing is, the kid doesn’t even watch the TV when it’s on. He’ll ask for a movie, or for a TV show that we’ve burned to DVD for him, and five minutes into it he’s wandered off to play with his trains. So it’s not like the TV is taking over his life. We got him his own computer too. But everyone knows that having a computer just leads to writing (god forbid), and writing on the computer leads to him becoming a blogger. I can’t imagine a worse fate for him.

And here’s the funny thing. We’ll be watching TV, and he’ll actually interrupt our show to ask us to read him a book. So I think he’s going to turn out just fine.

Filed under The Computer Vet Weblog

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  1. brian cantoni says:

    Great article — I couldn’t agree with you more. I always wonder if children from these families will become TV addicts once they’re finally exposed to them at an older age.

    At our house, we could do with a little less Disney channel, but like yours, the kids have a lot of other things to do so the TV really isn’t a babysitter. Growing up with a TiVo, they think they can “pause” any TV now 🙂

    Posted January 11, 2007 @ 8:55 pm

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