Now I’ve never been a great fan of the idiot box, perhaps due to my parents, I don’t recall us ever having a TV until I was about 9 years old, then it was mostly monopolised by my fathers fanatic love of gambling, thus it was horse racing, cricket, rugby, football, motor racing, golf, tennis and any other sport it’s possible to bet on.
I did save up my earnings from my early jobs and bought my own oldskool 1980’s TV when I was about 15.
Even then there was very few shows I really liked, among those I remember were Red Dwarf, Absolutely Fabulous and Quantum Leap..there were a few others.
I didn’t watch TV all that much, I mostly used it for playing with my NES! Then SNES, I remember buying the imported version of Street Fighter II from the US for about 60 pounds…Man that was expensive, but I was the first kid around to have it. That whacked like 3 months of savings.
I did used to love Channel 4 though, it’s like the UK’s slightly alternative channel, they used to have loads of interesting documentaries about drugs, hookers, the slave trade, child labour, gangsterism, triads, eastern european crime syndicates, all kinds of stuff right on the edge and some just plain bizzare comedy programs.
In London we did have cable TV, but that was mostly because we just wanted the broadband, we didn’t actually watch TV much, even though we had a 32″ widescreen, we mostly used it for movies and playing on the Dreamcast. (I bought a DC after my PSX got stolen)..I did enjoy discovery channel and history channel sometimes though.
Even now I don’t really watch TV much, I have a big TV, but I don’t have Astro and the terrestrial stations here are extremely limited. I use it pretty much solely for watching DVDs. I do like one channel on Astro though, channel 38 I think it is, the one that plays tons of old Kung-Fu movies and Shaw Brothers flicks, I dig that shit!
The only time I used to watch it in UK was when I got home late and I couldn’t be bothered to do anything involving, I’d just slouch on the couch and take in some idiot rays from the goggle box. Nowdays I just surf the web, read some blogs, play some easy DOTA.
But here in Malaysia most stations finish around midnight and start playing those stupid SMS chat things and music videos. I actually never watch it here as there is nothing at all worth watching on Terrestrial TV.
I do feel myself getting dumber when I watch TV, it’s just so unimaginative, it’s all laid out for you, you don’t have to do anything, you can feel your synapses shutting down as the mindless drivel is pumped into your head, TV programs nowdays are laced with subconcious political innuendo and all kinds of hidden commercial messages intended to get your dollars out of your wallet and get your votes going in a certain direction.
It takes a lot away from books, kids nowdays don’t know how to read. What I mean by that is of course they are literate, they can read and write, but they can’t ‘read‘ as in read novels, read classic books, get into a good fiction or thriller. It takes a certain mindset and practise to be able to read fluidly, to be able to immerse yourself in the book, you have to able to read without effort, without trying, without stumbling in your mind so you just absorb the words and get into the book.
I believe TV destroys this, TV removes the requirement for literacy, TV removes the requirement for imagination.
TV has a an amazing capability of creating a time vortex too, it just sucks your time away, you find yourself watching something just because it’s on, you don’t know what it’s about, who’s in it, what the hell they are mumbling about and you have absolutely 0 interest in it, but you keep on watching it, flicking channels, sucked into the land of the couch cabbage. You could have spent 4 hours watching TV and learnt nothing, enjoyed nothing, realised nothing, you just existed for those 4 hours, jeez what a waste of time.
It also influences language a lot, I’ve noticed in Malaysia people often use American prounounciation, even though Malaysia is an ex-colony of Britain, so you’d think they would use British English? But no….TV is all pumped in from the US, all the US shows are syndicated, you rarely see UK shows here, so American English is taking over, you can also see the quality reflected in the local comedy shows, they are very basic and slap-stick, much like the majority of American ‘humor’ [sic], it doesn’t have the complexity or subtlety of British humour, which granted a lot of people don’t get.
It also seems to have deeper implications such as influencing morality and social connatations, like some people believe the lifestyles characterised in ‘Sex in the City’ are real, so they try to mimic them…
People believe what they see on TV like it’s real, like they read it in a history book or a newspaper, when even the TV news stations are totally biased. I like to think that BBC world is the least biased, but that of course is a biased opinion from me.
All in all, what I’m saying is TV sucks. DON’T DO IT!.
Don’t waste your life in front of a TV, read a book, surf the net, watch some movies, go see your friends, turn that crap off.