I read a lot of posts about people’s opinions. I normally read in awe that people have these strong views, powerful enough to write down and tell the world. I find it fascinating that people are steadfast and adamant about their beliefs, probably because I am so indecisive myself. My opinions on most things change with the wind. Of course I have opinions, but I don’t write them down or even talk about them because I want to be completely educated in the topic I am talking about. I want to have all the facts beforehand, and I want to be able to communicate my opinion knowing I have enough evidence and experience to be able to make a valid point. I also struggle with debating. I simply can’t do it. To me, debating is arguing, and the only arguments I grew up with were aggressive and violent and NOT constructive, so it’s really difficult for me to even want to engage in a ‘friendly debate’ without feeling like I’m going to fall out with someone. It’s ridic.
Anyway I have been television free for two and a half years. Five years if I include TV sets I didn’t use in shared accommodation. It’s a long time considering I was practically born and raised with all the furniture pointing towards the box of wonder, so I feel I have enough experience to be able to scribble down a lil’ post of my own.
It was never a choice to not own a television. I happily paid my share of the TV licence when I lived in shared accommodation and didn’t think twice about it being there. I guess I just stopped watching it. Then when my husband suggested we not purchase one when we moved in together, I protested initially, (because let’s face it, EVERYONE has a TV), but after some deliberation I realised that, actually, I don’t ever switch the TV on to watch anything in particular. So I agreed to give it a try.
So, two and half years later, what have I learned?
One thing I have noticed is that when I am visiting friends/family and we’re sitting in the living room, the telly is almost always on. We’re not sitting here to watch it, so why is it on? I think that maybe we have been raised with having this constant presence of noise in the background for so long, that without it, it’s just too quiet. During these particular times I find my attention drifts to it constantly, and I always feel the need to switch it off because it’s so alluring! I’m absolutely not interested in what is on, but rather the bright images draw me in. It’s quite unnerving to actually feel that it has such a pull on me on a subconscious level. I don’t want to watch it, and yet I have sat gazing at it for the last ten minutes.
Another thing I have noticed more is the appalling advertising. OH. MY. GOD. I get so angry when I see these adverts encouraging people to take out a loan with a 350% APR. It makes me so cross! These companies choose to advertise these terrible (I refuse to call them ‘deals’) during the breaks of Jeremy Kyle and the like. Now, which portion of the population watch Jeremy Kyle regularly? If it’s on in the middle of the day, then you can assume that the majority of viewers are unemployed. Why are they unemployed? I don’t know. But you can guess that it’s because people are uneducated/unskilled/whatever. I’m not saying everyone is, especially in this current economic climate. But there is a percentage of people who are being exposed to these kinds of ads who are poor, desperate for cash and bad with money. It’s a recipe for disaster. I just feel it’s a vicious cycle. Of course the majority of people just ignore the ads, fair enough. But after being brought up in a lower class environment, I actually know people, good people, who would fall for this rubbish because there is no-one there to give them a good slap and say NO. It takes the biscuit.
Finally, I remember imitating the emotional scripting portrayed by the actors in soaps. Eastenders, Emmerdale, Neighbours, Hollyoaks, Coronation Street. Not to mention all the ‘teen dramas’ I watched too. I literally copied all the appalling behaviour and believed that if I wasn’t reacting to something in an over-the-top, exaggerated way, then I wasn’t doing it right. If I’m angry, I need to slam doors. If my friend says or does something mean, I need to ‘get her back’. It was all about the drama. And it’s not real! Sure, I knew the plot-lines were far-fetched and ridiculous, but there wasn’t anyone there to tell me that the behaviour was also fake. (On a personal level, I didn’t really have anyone who would demonstrate ‘proper’ behaviour, but that’s another story for another post).
It wasn’t a conscious decision to behave that way either, it just seeped into me silently and subliminally. This is how you behave. The scary thing is that this emotional scripting is happening everywhere. And if people don’t have a strong role model in their lives to show them how to behave properly (like I didn’t) then is TV breeding a nation of Eastenders characters? It’s scary to think. I literally behaved like a complete moron. But it wasn’t just me, and I know people who have stayed there in that bubble. Dishonesty, secrets and drama fuel the lives of many people I know. Since living a quiet life in a peaceful house, and since meeting new people, I have now realised that my life doesn’t have to be that way. People don’t, in fact, shout at one another all the time. It is, in fact, possible to live a life without drama, without doors slamming, without dishonesty and without self-created heart ache.
I can whole-heartedly admit that I was exposed to TV in completely the wrong way and without boundaries while growing up. What I have mentioned are only a couple of the reasons why I probably wouldn’t own a TV again, and the main one being is that it’s just a time-sink. I used to come home from work at 5.30, make dinner, sit and eat it in front of the TV and stay there watching pointless rubbish until 10.30 when I went to bed. That is what I would 100% do if I didn’t have any plans. It was a waste of my life, but I didn’t know any better.
Of course there is another side to TV which is positive. I’d be a fool to sit here and state that it’s bad to the core. I celebrate the ability to take a story or tale that was once just pages in a book, and give characters and plot-lines life, colour and sound. It’s amazing, it truly is. Documentaries are fascinating, and programmes can be educational. I can appreciate good programmes now in a way I couldn’t before. I tend to have one series I’ll watch at a time. At the moment it’s ‘Elementary’. Before that (I think it was about a year ago) I watched ‘House’. The great thing was that I could easily watch it online when I wanted to, and I wouldn’t be bombarded with advertising or lured into watching the next programme about the woman with a ‘twin inside a twin’.
I think I can sum up by saying that TV isn’t all bad. It just needs to be used properly, in moderation, and for the correct purpose. But for me, I think I’m alright without it for now x