Life without television

About a year ago we turned off the TV.  We live in a rural area where our only option is satellite–no cable, no local channels close enough to pick up.  And we decided we weren’t getting our money’s worth with all the programming offered.  I don’t miss the TV.  I hear the news, or read it online.  We have netflix, but we forget to use it.  What do we do?

We read, talk, sit in the sunshine, and enjoy life without TV.  Now, when I watch TV I am often unpleasantly surprised at the content–the crude language, the casual use of the name of God, the sexual content, the absolute acceptance of casual sexual relationships, the portrayal of religion, parents, government.  My list could go on. But what I really notice is how stupid so much of it is–the humor is not funny.  So yesterday I came across this quote, which  does not express my world view.  It is from a blog: The Green Star,

But, if you take out the phrases like “ruling elite” and “joining together to create resistance to authorities” I find myself agreeing with some of this!  The rest of it? Well I can only imagine they’ve watched too much television!  So here is my edited version:

“Television is a dream come true: those with the most money own most of what people see; fear-based television programming makes people more afraid and distrustful of one another . . .  . TV isolates people; and regardless of the programming, TV viewers’ brainwaves slow down, transforming them closer to a hypnotic state that makes it difficult to think critically.

More than fear and isolation, I find that TV repeatedly presents values contrary to those I hold.  It presents a view of life that runs counter to strong families, committed marriage, husbands and wives who act together as partners in life, or normal people who believe in God.  OK, I know there are some great, wonderful programs and networks.  But when click on the TV most of what is available is not worth the price.  Many of the people who produce TV shows apparently have  values and an agenda I disagree with.

I wonder as I watch a mindless sit-com, “Would I invite these characters into my home? No?  Then how did they get here?”  Because that is exactly what I’ve done.  I have allowed them in. And as I sit passively watching I am sending a message that the lifestyles portrayed on the screen are acceptable to me.  I agree with Angus T Jones–stop watching!!

So here’s to clarity, simplicity, a good book, shared ideas, and a good companion.  Here’s to life without television!

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About Karen Hopkins

Karen Hopkins (1949-) was born in Los Angeles and raised in Martinez, California. At seventeen she moved to Talcahuano, Chile. After completing her university degree she worked in London, England for Pan American Airlines and traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East, and India. For twenty-six years Karen taught Spanish and English as a Second Language in a variety of settings including a private school in Panama, the "most remote school in the United States"--Ticaboo, Utah, the Navajo Reservation, a teacher exchange in Hermosillo, Mexico, Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix, Arizona, and Cochise College in Nogales, Arizona. She and her husband travel extensively throughout Mexico and Central America, and have spent many summers in the remote highlands of Chiapas and Guatemala with their family. Karen currently lives in Southern Arizona, near the Mexican border.
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