Television Choices

We don’t have access to cable TV where we live.  And, while we could get satellite TV, we’ve chosen not to.  Thanks to the digital conversion, we now have a lot more channels of free television to watch, but nothing like cable and satellite offer.

As a consequence of not having so many choices at home, when I travel for work I find myself mesmerized by the array of lights and colors that confront me on the hotel room television sets.

There is truly something for everyone, as long as by “everyone” you mean people with various personality flaws or psychological disorders.

Just the other day I was scanning through the offerings available, and I saw what appeared to be a sweet love story.  A couple was kissing passionately, that is until the gentleman (a term I use quite loosely) decided to squeeze the life out of his romantic partner by wringing her neck.  I clicked a few channels further to find a show called “Obese and Pregnant.”  Now, I’m not saying there could be some educational value to such a show, but why would I want to watch it?  After all, I’m not pregnant.

A few more clicks and there was a thriller movie with music so sinister that I knew someone was going to be killing someone any second, so I kept clicking.

The worst time to find something to watch is early in the morning.  The array of infomercials and Home Shopping Network type channels is amazing.  Fortunately, I’m able to return most of the stuff.

To be fair, there are channels available on cable and satellite that I wish we could see at home.  The news channels, History, Discovery, and even TV Land would be nice to have.  C-Span is almost as terrifying as some of the psycho movies sometimes, depending on who is talking, but one can learn a lot about politics by watching it.  And, there are some sporting events unavailable to us common folk on free TV that it would be fun to watch, but then again, if NASCAR or the NFL or the University of Wisconsin decide that making more money from limiting broadcast of their games to pay TV is more important than keeping me as a fan, so be it.

The sad thing is that while television sometimes does a good job of depicting real life, it isn’t real life.  Reality shows are a sham, in that they are as produced as any scripted show.  So, any time I spend scanning the dial looking for entertainment is time I’m not spending engaged in real life with real people.  While it’s true that some TV during down time isn’t a bad thing, being transfixed by the pixels on the screen is really the definition of a waste of time.

So, maybe having only a few channels to choose from at home is a good thing.  And, maybe when I’m traveling I should just shut off the idiot box and open up a book.  And I will.  Right after “I Dream of Jeanie.”


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Filed under 2011

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