by Marc Cullison [mcullison.com]
It occurred to me the other day just how dominant television is in the lives of many of us. I was eating breakfast in the lounge of a motel, alone, enjoying the silence. I enjoy silence. I get tired of the loud noises that bombard me all day long when in a busy environment. So, I was reveling in the ambience of the motel lounge when all of a sudden a television begins blaring behind me. I turned around to see that I was no longer alone. A burly fellow with a beard had taken a seat on a sofa and turned on a television I didn’t even realize was in the room. No inquiry if it would bother me or if I minded at all that he turn it on. He just did it, regardless of how it might have affected me.
I don’t know about you folks, but I’m getting sick of being pursued by commercial advertising and boring, redundant news programs. It seems like everywhere I go I am deluged with a television expounding the benefits of some worthless product (at least, worthless to me), news that isn’t really news or news that has been over-reported and repeated to the point that I could recite the entire content of it from memory, or just crazy programs that drive me nuts.
Walmart is one my least favorite places to go. The store in my town carries only that merchandise that it can turn around quickly, so if you haven’t succumbed to their strategy of forcing you to buy only what they want to stock, then you still have some self respect left. New products are introduced, and I might try one of them occasionally and find that I like it. Then when I return to get more of it, guess what? It’s no longer stocked at the store. So what was the point? Well, it isn’t that, necessarily that sets me off, although it does, it’s those little televisions that are strategically placed throughout the store that blast you with infomercials about their “fine” products. I don’t need that. I know what I want and I’ll get it. I’m not buying anything else.
Then there are the gas pumps with those little screens with some unknown entity spouting information at me that I don’t care a flip about. It’s annoying. Even the coffee shop I used to frequent has a television that blasts forth its propaganda and worthless drivel while I’m trying to enjoy a quiet cup of cappuccino. I don’t go there anymore.
When I’m at home, I can always turn off the television, which I do frequently. The hundred-some-odd channels I get have little to offer except commercials and pointless programs that insult my intelligence, like all of those silly reality shows. What’s with people? Don’t they have lives of their own anymore? They have to live vicariously through the experiences of someone else? Maybe we’re worse off than I thought.
I do enjoy occasional movies, shows involving history, science, home and garden, and such. Programs that make me think. But I’m not going to keep my face stuck in front of a television screen twenty-four hours a day. I have a life. It’s quite interesting. More so that television. I enjoy it. I don’t need to be constantly entertained. I am capable of doing that for myself. I also don’t need the news programs analyzing things for me and recommending what I should think about them. I prefer to think for myself.
The television has followed us into nearly every corner of our lives. It preys on us, influencing our minds, our bodies, and in some cases, ever our souls. Is this really what our future holds? Someone else manipulating us? So far I have resisted. I will continue to do so. I will not allow myself to become a television addict. As far as I know, there is no place you can go for a cure.