Thursday, September 1, 2011
On Quitting Television
61 days and counting until we toss off the dock lines and head to sea.
We asked our niece Ashley, aged 26 and currently unemployed, if she wanted to become the 3rd crew member of Espiritu on our 2 1/2 year sail. She laughed, shook her head adamantly, and replied with a shrug:
"I love TV too much."
Ah, yes. The television. I've been pondering the fact that not only will we be tossing off the dock lines on November 1st, we will also leave the sattelite dish lashed to the marina pylon. I freely admit that as we sail away from the dock on that day, the pathetic sight of the unplugged dish with its cable dangling limply, shrinking smaller and smaller in the distance, will be almost as painful as the thought of the family and friends we will leave behind.
Although I like to consider myself a reader, maybe even an intellectual, I've never understood those people who refuse to have a TV in the house. You know the types: they protest that all TV is crap and they are far too busy reading, gardening, writing, playing Scrabble, meditating, quiltmaking, writing thank-you notes, cooking and doing yoga to do something as tawdry as watch the tube.
I, on the other hand, have always unabashedly ran to the comfort of the TV. When I was a girl, the first thing we did upon bursting through the front door after school was turn on rerun after rerun of The Flintstones, Gilligan's Island and Bewitched.
I did go without a TV in the house for one year in nursing school. This was a cold-turkey decision on my part, as unfortunately over the summer I had become hopelessly addicted to the Luke and Laura saga on General Hospital, and I knew that if I wanted to graduate I had to acknowledge my powerlessness to resist daytime drama and Just Say No.
These days, while The Skipper and I do mostly watch alot of astronomy, history and nature programs, we also enjoy The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, sports, and the occasional Seinfeld rerun.
But I'd be lying if I told you that was the whole story. When I get my alone TV time, I confess to imbibing in todays bastard metamorphosis of the daytime drama: reality TV. Like a lapsed addict in full relapse mode, I am powerless to fight the lure of The Real Housewives of Orange County, New York and Beverly Hills. Hell, I don't WANT to quit! And anyway, I don't need to stop! I can handle it! I can quit any time!
Hello, my name is Liz and I'm a Housewives-a-holic.
Science and history shows aside, in the cold light of day I'm seeing that the current status of American television is now so tawdry and shameless and simply downright depressing that it won't be hard to drop the remote and just walk away. It will be, in a word, cleansing.
So, bye-bye American TV -- for now, anyway. We were good together for awhile, weren't we? We made a good team. We had it goin' on. I'm leaving you behind, and heading south of the border. We will be catching bits and pieces of local Mexican TV on our small digital system. I have a feeling there's a new word I'll be hearing alot of in the coming months: