ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

Cold Turkey —

It has been six months since I’ve watched television.

This is not to say I don’t occasionally watch a downloaded episode of some series I’m interested in, or watching movies, or avoiding anything with a three-letter acronym attached to it. What I mean is that the act of sitting in front of my TV taking in stuff hasn’t happened for half a year. I have a TiVO and a satellite connection, and I can see the little guy showing the red light recording and providing me with little bundles of joy, but I just haven’t turned the bastard on.

There was a time when I was watching TV for half my waking hours, taking in every bit of trivia, entertainment, news story, or commercial I could find. I watched everything, because I was both fascinated at how stuff was made, as well as all the cultural touchstones going by in the talk shows, kids’ shows, music videos. As far as my style of saying utterly random things in my writing goes, let’s just credit television.

I wasn’t lonely, either. I liked watching TV, going between channels, enjoying everything that went by. I didn’t feel at the time that I was missing out on anything, and looking back I suppose I could formulate out of the air a thousand things I could have done instead (“start learning low-level programming and how to solder, immediately”) but I’m pretty happy with how things balanced out.

Now it just doesn’t happen.

I suppose I could be pithy and claim this is because of a reducing quality in television, but that’s not true. I see (or, I saw) lots of shows that I really enjoyed, especially the rash of shows that were about people making something but hating each other. I love that stuff, even if it’s fakery piled on top of other fakery.

No, I suspect it’s because I’m making stuff.

Obviously, the documentaries are the main thing I’m making, but I also make music, and write (like this weblog) and do a bunch of similar creating. And when I’m making “stuff”, I guess the need to sit around looking at other people’s “stuff” becomes much less pressing. Not to say this translates completely to “people who accomplish stuff don’t watch TV”, but more a case of “people who are really busy sometimes choose the previously-most-time-consuming activities and shitcan it, suprising people they used to do it with”. Since I don’t have anyone I was really watching TV with, the need for intervention isn’t there.

Man, that’d be a great intervention. “Sit down, goddamnit, and watch Monster Garage. We’re NOT going to lose you. Not this time, not while we all love you!” Maybe I’d get free snacks.

Anyway, I have a list of television shows I’m supposed to be watching at some point that probably constitutes a lost month in my future. My ass can hardly wait.

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  1. Chris Barts says:

    As long as you don’t become one of those sanctimonious “I’m so glad I stopped wasting my life on the ‘boob-tube’ and all that utter crap all you zombies watch!” morons. Because then someone would have to come around and punch you in the throat.

  2. Jason Scott says:

    You strike at the heart of one of my least favorite things, ever: the (often unintentional) slamming of others for being at a different point along a journey than you are. Doesn’t map properly, doesn’t make sense, hate it.

    I’m especially unhappy with the percentage of the populace who talk about the TV-watching public being zombies or dumbing themselves down or whatever else, and then will mention a specific show that they track mercilessly.

    But I can guarantee to you, no turning around on things I used to do and going and I got through it, but you won’t, so stop. Especially TV.

  3. orphrey says:

    I know the feeling. When I moved out of the dorms, 4 years ago, I didn’t own a TV. I still don’t. There are plenty of shows I think I’d watch (B5, BSG, Lost, Heros, etc), but whenever the urge to do that strikes me, I realize that I’m too busy making sutff. I don’t have time to watch 4 seasons of TV, there’s a robot in the basement that needs work.