Polter-Cow (spectralbovine) wrote,
Polter-Cow
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Television Enhances Your Performance

Amanda Cuda is my favorite person today.
No, what gets my goat are people who are superior about not watching television. You know the people I'm talking about. These are people who, when they utter the words "I don't watch television" actually mean "I am too good to watch television."

These are people who feel that television is a lesser form of culture, on a par with bear-baiting and mud wrestling.

These are people who feel that cultural enrichment can only be offered through art forms such as books, films or the theater.

And to these people I offer these words: get over yourself. You are not better than I am because you don't watch television.

In fact, by eliminating an entire source of information and entertainment from your life, I argue that you are actually less enlightened than me and my tube-viewing brethren.


The piece is fantastic, and I can't say it much better than she has. For God's sake, she even threw in a bear-baiting reference. It's been a while since I've been to a good bear-baiting.

Hell, I'm going to put the entire piece behind a cut for easy access.

The Connecticut Post Online
"Avoiding TV nothing to be proud of"
Amanda Cuda

In the few months that I've been writing this column, there's one phrase that I've heard from quite a few people. It's a phrase that, every time I hear it, has the same effect on me as fingernails on a chalkboard.

That phrase? "I don't watch television."

Yeesh. Just writing the sentence makes me cringe.

Now it doesn't bother me that there are people who don't watch television. There are many perfectly good reasons for not watching television.

I have a friend who works ridiculous hours at a law firm and is usually exhausted when she gets home. She doesn't own a television set because she doesn't really have time to watch it, thus rendering it a needless expense.

My friend is excused for her TV-free existence, as are those who just can't afford a set or cable.

In fact, let me amend my earlier statement: it's not those who abstain from television who annoy me.

No, what gets my goat are people who are superior about not watching television. You know the people I'm talking about. These are people who, when they utter the words "I don't watch television" actually mean "I am too good to watch television."

These are people who feel that television is a lesser form of culture, on a par with bear-baiting and mud wrestling.

These are people who feel that cultural enrichment can only be offered through art forms such as books, films or the theater.

And to these people I offer these words: get over yourself. You are not better than I am because you don't watch television.

In fact, by eliminating an entire source of information and entertainment from your life, I argue that you are actually less enlightened than me and my tube-viewing brethren.

Think about it. You never hear people bragging about how they don't read books.

If someone mentions that they don't read, it's often with an aura of shame. People who don't read feel they must make some excuse for this behavior to avoid appearing ignorant or uncultured.

There's also a little stigma attached to never having seen live theater or missing the latest critically acclaimed film.

So, why do people think omitting TV from your life makes you smarter or more cultured?

Maybe it's because these people equate television with shows like "Fear Factor" or "Wife Swap" or all those VH1 shows in which low-level celebrities jaw about how they "love" different decades.

But that's like equating all musical theater with "Cats" or comparing all movies to "Showgirls." These shows represent just a sliver of what is available. Television isn't just the idiot box anymore. Ask anyone who has tried to follow the multiple storylines on "Lost" if he or she thinks it's a show for dummies. Watch any episode of "Veronica Mars" or "The Shield" and try telling me that those characters aren't at least as complicated and well drawn as those in any novel, play or film.

Yes, television has its flaws. A lot of crummy shows have floated over the screen in recent years (you know who you are, "Yes, Dear"). A lot of good shows disappear. And yes, it is getting harder and harder to tell the difference between news and entertainment. But does turning off the tube mean you're a more highly evolved person?

Heck no.

It means that you have a fairly narrow-minded view not only of television, but of those who enjoy it.

Well, let me leave you with this. I read feverishly and collect books like they're about to be banned. I own more than one foreign film on DVD. I go to roughly one Broadway play a year and would go to more if I could afford it.

I also love "King of the Hill," "My Name is Earl," "Veronica Mars" and "The Shield." In my eyes, that last statement doesn't negate the previous ones — it complements them.

But, then again, what do I know?

After all, I watch television.
Tags: pimpings, television
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