Do people still talk about killing televisions?
Back in the late 90s and early 00s, when I ran around in activist circles, every 4th of July, there would be talk of killing, smashing, destroying televisions. It was an appropriate day for getting rid of televisions because it was U.S. Independence Day, and activists were promoting independence from the TV.
I don’t hang out with many activists these days, so I dont know if getting rid of televisons (by smashing, destroying, or any other means) is still promoted on July 4th. I did a few quick Google searches; “July Fourth smash your television day,” “kill your television day” and “smash your television” didn’t bring up much. The best thing I found was a blog post by The Happy Philosopher with a lot of information about why getting rid of one’s television might be a good idea. I also found links to the Kill Your Television Theatre and references to the songs “Kill Your Television” by Ned’s Atomic Dustbin and “Smash Your TV,” “Track 8 (of 54) from the forthcoming [as of December 2014] album Et Mourir de Plaisir.”
A life without television seems like a good life to me, but who am I to tell other people what to do?
I haven ‘t owned a telvision since I moved to a new state in 1998. I’ve livined in houses with other people who’ve owned them, I’ve been in cheap motels with them, and I’ve house sat in homes with them. I’d be lying if I said I never watch TV, but I don’t do it every day or even every week.
The commercials are the worst. Often I’m confused, and many seconds go by before I figure out what the advertiser is trying to sell me. Sure, I know I’m supposed to think I’m being sold happiness or sex (or sex leading to happiness), but I often wonder, What’s the real product? I know it’s strategic when the product isn’t shown until the last moment.
Most network programs are terrible. I’ve sat through bad acting and stupid plots (I’m looking at you, NCIS: New Orleans) while visiting friends and relatives. I’ve honestly seen better acting at a small-town fundamentalist Christian church Easter program than I’ve seee on primtime TV.
But yes, I will admit, there are times when I like to have a television on. It’s good company when I’m cooking, mending, crafting, or cleaning. When my brain is simply too tired to read, a decent television program is a nice distraction.
I mostly watch television when I’m house sitting. My favorite shoes are Chopped, Cupcake Wars, and Beat Bobby Flay. (I once spent a three-week house sitting gig flipping between Food Network and Cooking Channel.) I like the Travel Channel food shows too: Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, Man v. Food, and Man Finds Food. For a time I was really into History Channel’s Pawn Stars and got really excited whenever I stumbled upon an all-day marathons of the program. However, after visiting Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, NV and seeing the $2 price tag on a postcard, the thrill was gone.
In any case, who am I to say people should kill their televisons? I think people should make their own informed decisions.
I do know people who watch the tube for several hours a day would have more time for other activities if they smashed the television or just clicked the off button. If you can’t imagine what you’d do if you watched less TV, here’s a list of 50 activities you’ll have time for if you’re not distracted by your television.
Read a book
Read aloud to kids or adults
Teach someone to read
Garden–food or flowers, it don’t matter
Ride a bike
Feed hungry people
Run through the sprinkler on a hot summer day
Visit new places
Write a sonnet
Write a letter
Write the great American novel
Wash the windows
Wash the car
Wash the dishes
Meet your neighbors
Soak in a hot bath with candles around the tub
Walk the dog
Walk without the dog
Learn a new language
Call a friend
Watch the sun set
Dance in the moonlight
Talk to an elder
Talk to a child
Raft down a river
Build a treehouse
Build a bookshelf
Make love–to yourself or your partner(s)
Play board games
Take deep breaths
Think deep thoughts
Throw a costume party
Bake bread (or muffins or cookies or cake)
Paint a portrait
Paint the walls
Look at the stars
Run a marathon
Fix what’s broken
Mend what’s torn
What would you add to your life if you subtracted your televison? Feel free to share your ideas in the comments.