Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Boob Tube

I was driving along some windy, country roads today through what can only be described as a "rural suburb." My girls had choreography camp this week at their dance school, and the road I normally take was being repaved. I'm one of those people who doesn't wait in traffic. I go around.

On one road, I counted several houses that had satellite dishes in the yards. These weren't the little "dish network" dishes, either. These were those huge, swimming pool-sized monsters (one house had it mounted to their roof of their two-story home, which was a little nerve wracking for me. I mean, those things are big ... and heavy! I could picture it crashing down to the ground - not a pretty image, either).

Back when I as in high school, I lived in a rural community where cable access was not available back in some of the more remote mountain hollows, and satellite dishes were all the rage.

But they're expensive, even by today's standards, the price twenty years ago for a satellite dish was pretty steep. I mean, we're talking thousands of dollars ... thousands. In that community, people didn't always have steady work (coal-mining country), but had a drastically penduluming feast-or-famine lifestyle, and when there was money, it was spent, often extravagantly. During a feast time, people would mortgage their homes for a satellite dish, especially of they didn't have access to cable television. Without one or the other, there was no television reception in many of those areas.

And suddenly, as I was zooming along, it struck me. People mortgaged their homes for television, so that they could watch some ESPN or some HBO or some MTV.

Mortgaged. Their homes.

For television.

What kind of society do we live in where it's okay to spend a month's pay for a television?

At that moment, as I was zooming along, it just seemed incredibly sad that that's who we are, and that it is acceptable, and even encouraged, to spend [fill in blank with something valuable that is wasted, i.e. time, money ... brain cells] on something as non-essential (and not terribly interesting or enlightening, either - with a very few exceptions - but none of which I'd spend thousands of dollars to see) as television.

Very sad, indeed.


  1. It is very sad. So many people complain they don't have enough time, yet hours are wasted in front of the tube. So many people, today's kids included, have lost the ability to interact with nature or entertain themselves. They expect to be entertained, and for many that means they are addicted to t.v.

  2. Hubby has a co-worker who complains she doesn't have enough money to pay her bills and when questioned, she said she would never give up her satellite or her cigarettes. Well, there ya go! Assuming she smokes a pack a day (husband said she smokes a lot) that would be a carton a week which ends up being close to $200 a month on cigs, plus $75 a month for the TV. If she gave up both, she could have almost $300! Some people just don't have their priorities straight. tsk tsk!

  3. I hate the television. I never watch it and probably never will again. I like to know where my info is coming from. Alternative news > mainstream media.

    Kentucky Preppers Network

  4. Janet: So true! It's so easy to sit in front of the television for hours and not even realize how much time has passed - time that could be better used doing so many other worthy things.

    Jenny: I've run into that a lot - people who complain about having no money, and yet, I know that there are at least a dozen habits and hobbies they could change that would give them money ... if they chose to. It makes me rather impatient and not very empathetic to their situations. You know? I hate to be judgmental, but, seriously?

    Matthiasj: I used to watch a fair amount of television, as evidenced by my rather extensive T.V. vocabulary (e.g. a lexicon full of cultural phrases and references gleaned from television programming :), but these days, I can't even sit still for it. And as for the news - oh, don't get me started on that fluff! But the worst is the advertisements. I just want to scream. So, I stopped watching, because it was making my blood pressure fluctuate too much ;).

  5. Hi Wendy, thought I'd drop in for a reality check and a nice dose of your wisdom.

    Those big satellite dishes make great roofed area for feeding chickens. You hang them upside down like an umbrella. I have a photo I took of one in use that way, somewhere. They create shade and place to feed where the feed dishes don't get rain in them.

    Me too, no TV in my life since 1979. YEAH! Never miss it.