28 January 2010

On Not Watching TV

I really watch hardly any television. This isn't a rant for or against TV, it's just that I'd rather read a book. I may find one show at a time that I'll watch with some urgency - like Glee this past fall, and Big Love right now - but that's it. It's like serial monogamy; I can only get involved with one at a time, and there are episodes of celibacy between the marriages. I never watch TV news because it seems thoroughly redundant, and I didn't grow up watching it, and who's home at that hour anyway? I can't stay up late enough to watch The Daily Show or anything of that ilk, and we don't get whatever channel it is that Rachel Maddow is on. And I do rather like watching figure skating, but that comes round awfully infrequently, so it doesn't count.

But there's a downside to the never watching the news. Last night, during the State of the Union address, the cameras were skittering through the audience, looking for sleeping congressmen and inappropriate eyerolling. I was watching, in the good company of the Momocrats, and periodically the camera would pause on someone - and I had no idea who. Well, it's not that I don't know who Harry Reid is, it's that I don't know what he looks like. Oh, sure, I can recognize Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden and Janet Napolitano and Ruth Bader Ginsburg - but most of them I couldn't pick out of a line-up.

It is a hole in my knowledge base.


FreshHell said...

Eh, well, that's what the internet is for - images of politicians and celebrities and filling in the pop culture holes.

I like tv but not tv for tv's sake. I have a couple of shows I like but otherwise the tv's never on until 9pm. I haven't watched any news program in 10 years. Again, I get a newspaper and I have the internet to fill me in.

The kids watch DVDs on the weekends while I make dinner. If they're sick during the week, they get to watch actual tv cartoons but that's pretty much it. Dusty likes the Olympics and we watch Survivor together.

I like tv and I love to read and I often do both at the same time.

rachel... said...

Well, I've been watching plenty of TV and I still couldn't tell you what Harry Reid or Janet Napolitano look like. Or who they are. So you're doing better than I am.

And I'm LOVING Big Love! Margene and Ben??? WTF?

Harriet said...

I'm the same way with TV -- a serial monogamist. And Glee's my show too. The rest of what I watch is old movies or old TV shows (Dick Van Dyke, Bob Newhart, The Good Life), which I either watch on DVR or DVD or Hulu. I can't handle more than one TV appointment a week.

ozma said...

Yes, it is weird not to have a TV sometimes. Sometimes you are left out of stuff--I remember everyone was like 'Reagan, Reagan!' during this week of funeral things on TV. But it wasn't on the internet much, so it was this national moment I never got. Also, I tend to interpret things differently because I read them or see pictures on the internet more than actually see them in real video. Everything I get is a little second hand and recycled.

It's also weird though because I will know a lot of plots of shows by reading about them in the newspaper and magazines...Then I will see them and be so surprised--because they will not be what I expected.

I do watch shows but on DVD or online. So I cannot say I am virtuously reading all the time. (For me, reading is NOT a virtue but an addiction.) It is just I have a different delivery system...a much older out-of-date one.

Anjali said...

Glee and Big Love are my big two, as well.

And I also watch House, and The Office.

I don't seem to "get" a lot of other popular TV shows. I've been watching Mad Men on DVD -- it puts me to sleep.

Furrow said...

Zo, in her short life, has already gone through a TV addiction, and we haven't limited her viewing as much as should have, but it keeps me from getting to watch anything until around her bedtime, and then it's usually netflix instead of live TV. I don't count Dora and Wonder Pets as TV viewing for me. I can watch a whole episode and not notice a single thing that's happening because my mind drifts. She seems to be getting bored of television now, which is simultaneously good and bad. It was nice to have a free babysitter (with total mind control) every once in a while.

RuthWells said...

I refused to watch the State of the Union last night under the excuse that my blood pressure is already too high.

Hubby had no comeback, lol.

allison said...

As soon as I saw the post title, I figured it was going to be an anti-tv thing, and my prepared comment was 'spoken like someone who's never seen Glee'. Which I'm still posting, apparently, even though it's completely inappropriate. Because I just like to hear myself type?

Mental P Mama said...

You aren't missing much;)

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I manage to blog, watch TV and read a book every day or two. No wonder I don't exercise enough!

mayberry said...

But Harry Reid was just on the cover of the NY Times magazine, wasn't he?


Cynthia said...

Glee fanatic here:) Gotta say, I tried Big Love, just couldn't get into it:/

As far as SOTU, I watch way to much news and politics...I wish I didn't know who any of them were:P

alejna said...

I likewise couldn't identify any of them.

I also discovered that, as a result of not watching much TV (or any TV news), and while I'd read plenty of commentary about his actions, I had no idea how to pronounce "Kanye." (Now I know.)

niobe said...

I don't have a tv (going on 6 months now), but I read so many political blogs that when I watched the SOTU (online, of course), I felt like I recognized far too many of the faces.

Anna Lefler said...

I don't watch the news either! It comes from having worked in PR, I guess...I don't believe much of what they're saying so it feels like a waste of time. ;-)

And I'm with you on the one favorite show thing, too! These days it's "Mad Men," although we're between seasons - a long dry spell.

:-D Anna

Imperatrix said...

We only use our tv for watching DVDs (oh, and the infrequent Patriots game during football season). We watch series once they get on DVD, so we're always behind.

TV news is too fluffy for my taste, so I read my news online. I did watch the SOTU, but didn't like the pre-game show -- "Everyone is wearing purple to represent Republicans and Democrats working together..." WTF?

Listening to Obama reminded me how much I like listening to his voice (and come on, his , "I expected a cheer for *that* one" was great!)

bernthis said...

nor could I. But I would guess they were a Republican

Julia said...

I stopped watching TV when I went to college. The first time people talked about a show I'd never seen it was Mork & Mindy. I've since gotten accustomed to being totally out of the TV loop. I have made sure, though, that my kids have seen old-time TV like I Love Lucy and The Addams Family.

I'd rather read the SOTU than hear it; the last time I listened to one it was by Ronald Reagan and I was half-dead with a kidney infection and I'd never heard his voice before and I thought someone was faking it. Really. Maybe it was the fever, though.

I wouldn't know a famous person if one stepped on me. I do know my city councilman personally, though, and the Borough President would recognize me (and maybe even mumble something that vaguely sounded like my name).

6512 and growing said...

I haven't had a TV in my house for 18 years. It feels sort of like an appendix - unnecessary and likely to cause future pain.

I listened to Obama's speech on the radio, as I did the prez/VP debates (over the din of my children), which turns out, is a pretty cool way to indulge in politics.

abby said...

the ideas are what matter though, right?

I had a similar experience today when reading "The Week" about the show "The Office" that we used to watch a lot. not only are Jim and the secretary chick married, but have a kid/are pregnant. the real point of relating that though, I confirmed that it has not mattered to my life that I have not watched tv for over a year. I'm okay.

and any people I care about knowing about usually have their picture in the paper at some point. usually.