Unplugging my Television

10:04 Mon 03 Apr 2006. Updated: 20:45 27 Jun 2013
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I decided on Saturday to unplug the cable feed from my TV. I haven’t been watching a lot of television, but I have been drifting into it, especially when I’m tired.

I don’t want to get rid of the TV entirely, since I use it for DVDs and DDR (and, in theory, other PlayStation games). I don’t necessarily want to get rid of my cable feed either, since I do occasionally want to watch stuff on it. But unplugging it is an attempt to make sure that I only watch television when I want to watch television… seems to be working so far.

So what’s wrong with watching television? Nothing, really. Except that when I’m not really enjoying it, then what’s the point? Why do something that isn’t enjoyable, acts as a soporific, isn’t productive, and is apparently really bad for you? That doesn’t seem to be a good idea.

Whenever I mentioned the ill effects of television to Juliana, she would always ask if, therefore, watching movies/series on DVD was also bad for you, by implication. I usually said no, but clearly didn’t have a convincing reason for this (else she wouldn’t have kept asking, presumably). Having thought about it a little more, I think the answer is engagement and enjoyment. After a good movie, or an episode of some excellent series, I feel engaged with it, I feel like I want to watch another one (if it’s an episode, less so with movies), and I feel like I’m really thinking about it. None of which is really true when just watching cable television. There are exceptions, but those seem to be rather rare. And the advertising really takes away a huge amount of the potential for engagement. So the difference is really between active engagement and passive viewing. Even though they’re both passive (it’s a passive medium), one is clearly different from the other, and that’s most evident in how I feel after doing one, versus how I feel after doing the other.

Anyway, it seems to make a lot of sense that I should only watch television when I actively want to, hence the unplugging of the cable. I’ll see how it works out.

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