January 11, 2007
Is it just me, or is it a little difficult to talk trash about television without sounding a bit too elitist? (The whole Onion Area Man Constantly Mentioning He Doesn't Own A Television effect...)

So anyway, I still have this sniffle, and my upper back/shoulder has been hurting for a couple of days, so I thought last night I'd go ahead and catch up on "Top Chef", which is about the only thing I've been purposefully tuning in for over the past year, other than sports. (Though I have been enjoying some TV-on-DVD series that Miller and FoSO have been setting up, like "Supernatural".)

Circa 1992ish, on Marnie's Family PC
I decided the difficulty of finding a comfortable position justified my not trying to multitask with reading or the web. So I just watched. But then I started to observe a bit, and I realized how crazily passive it can be, the whole "zoning out" thing. I suspect the main culprits are the commercials, especially with their sheer repetition. (There's this one Sears spot in particular, some skinny dude talking about how with his martial art "you have to be fit all over"...oddly they play that over a picture of a treadmill, which isn't much of an "all over" fitness machine.)

It kind of scared me how little thought I was doing, how I was just kind of absorbing. I mean sometimes I'd have a critical thought about the program, or work to pick up some detail of a commercial, but mostly... bleh.

This isn't meant to be critical of people who do dig TV... I know there is a lot of nifty stuff on, and it can actually be a useful form of relaxation, one of the easier and more interesting ways of getting to an alpha wave state, for what it's worth.

In Middle School and I guess before, I watched a LOT of television, the TV would be on from the end of school until bedtime. (I'm not sure if I'd be multitasking with books or legos or not then.) In upstate New York there were years where clever channel surfing would let you watch an entire evening of MASH or Benson. Those times likely helped shape me as a person, at least a bit. I don't feel I'm very good at developing stories, coming up with narratives from scratch... could being fed all those shows have something to do with it?

Quote of the Moment
Watching television is like taking black spray paint to your third eye.
... of course I saw this Slashdot fortune right before the night of Top Chef, so it may have influenced my observations a tad.