Friday, April 13, 2012
I Reject The "Idiot Box" Stigma
Hi, I’m Sue. Getting a DVR changed my life, and I am an Anomaly. I watch a lot of tv. I didn’t always. In fact, it’s a relatively recent development. Growing up, my schedule was packed full of activities and homework. I didn’t even have a TV at college until my last semester (that’s also when YouTube launched! Wow!), mostly because that's when my school finally got television service. After that, well, I just didn’t really know what was on, didn’t seek out new shows, and would wind up watching Law & Order reruns most of the time - because they’re always on. It was during this time that I completely missed shows like Battlestar Galactica, Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis, and Eureka.
But, in the last couple years - and with the help of our friends over at Tuning into Sci-Fi TV - I’ve gotten in the loop, if you will. I made the decision that I wouldn’t spend time watching that NCIS episode I’ve seen 4 times already, but would catch up on shows I missed and seek out currently airing stuff. I originally thought that this would help me free up time for reading or gaming or some other activity. That’s not exactly what happened... and that’s what lead to my current jam-packed television viewing schedule.
For a long time, I was embarrassed about the amount of television I watched. Television certainly does carry a stigma even now - "the boob tube," "the idiot box," etc. And I certainly still hear some people say derisive things like "Oh, I don’t watch television" or even "I down own a television", as if it gives them some kind of elevated social status, the implication being that television programming is unintelligent and a waste of time. I felt guilty for enjoying it.
But the more I thought about it, the more that didn’t make sense to me. Television shows have inspired music, art, technology, and social change. There's nothing embarrassing about that.
Sure, television programming is filled with "reality" shows - I’ve admitted on the podcast that it's perhaps possible that I could maybe be just a little bit obsessed with Dance Moms - but there are also some truly fantastic scripted shows that are airing, comedy and drama alike. They're smart and funny. The make you think and ask questions. They might even hold a mirror up to certain parts of your life. It is not the "vast wasteland" that it is perceived to be.
Stories are an integral part of human society. Some stories may not grab you, some will. Some storytellers aren’t as skilled or emotional or academic or funny as others. Television is just another way to tell a story. And if the stories told through that medium create an emotional or intellectual reaction, why apologize for that? I’m done apologizing. No more guilt. No more embarrassment.
I have a GoogleCalendar just for my television schedule, I’m currently watching 15-20 different programs each week, and I don’t care who knows it!
Staff Writer for Anomaly
Co-Host of Anomaly Supplemental
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