So it probably isn't a great idea to make my first post a rant but there you have it, I can't help myself. I promise my next one will be about something nice, like our recent trip to Maui or knitting, I'll even include some pics of sea turtles or the little baby hat I knit.
Just back from a holiday where we had access to the telly. Having disconnected our cable over 11 years ago, when we had our first son, my contact with cable has been limited to occasional visits to my folks ( and even then we usually only watch the travel channel - because I do enjoy Pilot Guides). Well, I already believe that most television is, quite frankly, Crap - with a capital C but even I was stunned by the stupidity of what is now on cable. Heck, even my husband (who would probably actually not mind having cable sometimes) thought it was incredible how lousy the stuff is that is on the tube.
Most of what was on seemed to be some sort of reality T.V., filled with wanna-be actors disclosing all the details of their lives - I can't think of a suitable adjective for details so I'll leave that to you to fill in as you will, actually, nauseating would work now that I think of it. A ton of it seemed to be make-over shows, either of the body, house or wardrobe, with a good portion of plastic surgery shows thrown in. There was actually a soap opera channel - all soaps, all the time. There was a show about living in the playboy mansion, this was on during a time when many kids would still be awake. I shudder to think about the message this gives young minds. There were loads of shopping channels, there was even a game show channel. How many games shows can a person stand? Apparently quite a few. And to top it all off, everything on the air seemed to have women in barely-there clothing. What gives?
My son wanted to watch a show called Overhaulin' that he has seen before at my folks but it seems now to consist mostly of commercials, the "hosts" acting like idiots and a lot of repetition of the ploy that they used to get the car. He just wanted to see them work on the car, not all the other nonsense. And what is with the constant repetition - did they think we forgot how they stole the car during the incessant commercial breaks. He couldn't be bothered to watch it again. He also was watching a show about tsunamis on the discovery channel and a break came on where they showed what was "coming up soon" - a show about what "really goes on in women's prisons." Do you know what? He doesn't need to know, I don't want him to know, I don't even want to know. Why would that be shown during a time that many children would be watching? We just kept wondering who watches all this stuff....and why?
I actually find it, not only very disheartening, but truly scary. If this is what this generation is being brought up with what will become of them? I know, I know, it sounds like an overreaction from a crazy woman but I don't think so. I think it is one of those things like the frog in the boiling water. If you have been consistently exposed to the general worsening of T.V. you might not think it so bad, you have slowly grown accustomed to the nonsense, but I have been out of it for long enough that when I see it now it really is like being thrown into boiling water and it just kills me to see how bad it is and to know that so many people are spending their time, their lives really, watching such trash. For example, what will a young girl who grows up watching shows where all the women have "man-made" bodies think? I suppose she will just assume it is the done thing to be made-over. What will she think when she sees all these "beautiful " girls living in Hugh Heffner's mansion and the fuss being made over their lifestyles. Is this the kind of lifestyle that should have a show made about it, that should be applauded? What will she think when she watches families spewing their problems out to any willing member of the television audience instead of working together to solve things? What will she think if her nose, breasts, stomach or what have you aren't the "right" size? That she should have surgery to "fix" it? What will she think? What will she think?
I won't even start on all the commercials for every kind of drug to fix every kind of problem. Maybe there are some good shows, maybe even some good channels but we could not find them. It just left me feeling very sad, really. I don't know the solution for something that most people would not even see as a problem but I do believe, with all my heart, that it is a very serious problem indeed. For our family the solution will continue to be no cable and minimum access to the television other than DVD's that we have chosen to watch. We have had many, many discussions with the boys about commercials and the effect they have on people, about how we choose to spend our limited time on this earth and if we want it to be spent on television viewing and about the many consequences of T.V watching. I believe that this will be something that will stay with them forever and that they will never want to waste much of their time on this habit. I hope I am right.