Thursday, 3 August 2006

Have I Told You I Don’t Own a TV?

It was 9/11 that did it.

I don’t know whether it was the enormous grotesquery of the images or the deluge of simulacra-emotion but that winter I moved into a new place and I decided that I was going to try and live without a TV.

Five years of a TV free existence has been a good one, plenty of reading, plenty of sitting listening to good music and of course, plenty of time on the damn internet. It amazes me that people still got thrown by it, as if I’m making a comment on the fact they still the watch the idiot box in the corner of their living room (or perhaps taking up an entire wall like a flat screen shrine). It usually sparks a discussion about how little they watch TV, like they’re trying to compete but I know that if you still have one, you still have a reliance on it. The conversation then goes to “How can you be an actor if you don’t watch TV?” which personally, I love the logic of.

As if TV is some guide to good acting, as if it is the be all and end all of what it means to be a professional performer. I can honestly say that not watching TV has probably made me a better actor!

I’ve become a bit of an ex-smoker in that I’m quite disparaging about my old habit, I see TV as a narcotic, something that stops people communicating and limiting the field of discussion (when people talk with me, they can’t use TV as a small talk, which makes for better conversations), I think it can kill human relationships and the quality of much of it is little more than exploitative rubbish.

If any readers out there are thinking of getting rid of the TV and trying a life without it, you have my full backing, kick the habit, GO FOR IT!

22 comments:

  1. I use mine for news 24 & DVD's.
    I could live without the BBC news.
    But no porn? Thats just crazy talk...

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  2. I learnt all I know from TV. Getting rid of it would be like disowning my own mother. And I am always suspicious of the chattering middle-classes who turn up their noses and squalk "I don't own a TV" like they are somehow superior to the rest of society. I enjoy being ill-educated. I wallow in my own stupidity. I am not afraid of my own foolishness. In fact, I embrace my own idiot glee.

    The thing is that the Internet is quickly replacing the television as a major entertainment source. You've just swapped one box for another. No, I like TV - I like it a lot and will defend any person's right to have one. In fact, I think the Internet is a far more dangerous and pervasive influence on people. You have to be strong-willed not to get sucked into this 21st century cyclops. Talk about damaged relationships, a failure to communicate and other unseemly habits...hmmmm, sounds like the Internet to me where you can experience the real underbelly of modern life.

    Beware and be careful where you tread.

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  3. I haven't really watched my TV in about two years. When I moved in to this apartment, it didn't seem worth the space, so it's been in my closet with the exception to the first four or five episodes of Desperate Housewives.

    It was the commercials which caused me to do it, though. I don't know what they're like in your country, but in the states it's fucking ridiculous. There is not a damn thing being advertised on television which is good for you; processed food, air fresheners, and for fuck's sake, the medications. Commercials by Big Pharma just spook me.

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  4. I don't own a TV either.

    But I do have a natural, televisual delivery in my lines.

    Hmmmmmmmm.

    ps. Here we are in Ed. The best part about it is the flat we live in and also I'm going to see Boothby Graffoe on Sunday.

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  5. When that tsunami happened over in the Indian Ocean, I stopped watching TV altogether for quite some time, maybe nearly a year, except for turning it on for my son to watch Sesame Street. Slowly, I started watching it again, just for entertainment purposes (sitcoms), but I refused to watch the news as it was so depressing. Now I have a couple of shows I watch, and I'll only catch the news to see the weather report. I've never been really big on television anyway, and we don't have cable or satellite. And, of course, I get my daily dose of Sesame Street with the kiddies--It's actually quite educational! My daughter, age 2, is already beginning to learn her ABCs due to public tlevision.

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  6. I'll admit it: I can get easily drawn into a load of crap. The Next Top Model series for example. I absolutely love it; it has proven a bonding experience. It's added value to my life.

    Fortunately, current circumstances keep me from the tv. I still have it; and don't think I'll give it up ... The Sopranos, movies, and PS2 require it. However, the internet has quickly pushed the tv to the margins of my life. (And God knows there's an awful lot of crap on the internet too!)

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  7. OMR: Internet p0rn is good.

    Darren: fuck me man, what a surprise you dug out the middle class thing. You're in denial dude...

    Broderick: I wish I had your style, I'm too over egged, I could do with some natural ease.

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  8. I watch the telly, not much but I do have Sky+ so I can record the stuff I want to watch and avoid the other shit.

    It's easy to say you don't watch cause it's too depressing but turning it off wont make the bad stuff go away. You'll just read about it in newspapers, magazines, books - on the internet.

    Compare this blogs recent images to that of the TV news and I know which one is more distressing - but distressing images and words are good because it makes people aware, it makes people stand up and at least attempt to make the world a better place.

    So for that reason I'll keep my Telly.

    Plus, episode three of Lost is nearly upon us!

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  9. Television is a fantastic medium for conveying ideas! If you are to deny this it would be an outright lie. However, what television has become is another issue at hand, reflecting what our society has become, or maybe always has been!
    Although there is still fantastic potential for a great spread of knowledge through the medium of television that goes beyond any other form of media!
    A favorite show of mine, Charlie Rose, expands the field of communication, as it brings all sorts of culture and politics to the forefront of discussion.
    Music, movies, television, and everything else in between can become addictive acting as escapism, but comparing it to smoking is a flimsy inductive logic. Not that I am defending television's obvious detriments, but it is not the fault of the technology, rather the problem is perpetuated by consumers\watchers and the people who create T.V. shows.
    I would re-evaluate your stance against television and think a bit more before making such a definitive stance! <3 & Peace

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  10. Ah, but you go to the theatre, which has its own semblances of bear-baiting pits.

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  11. T.V. Party Tonight!
    ...
    We've got nothing better to do
    Than watch T.V. and have a couple of brews


    Just like anything else in this world, TV is fine if used used in moderation and in aninformed manner.

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  12. JJ: TV indeed is a fantastic medium for conveying ideas, that is a trusim. And? A spreader of knowledge, yes, it could be, is it the best form of spreading knowledge? Unproven, books do a pretty good job.

    If you could read you'd see I wasn't comparing TV to smoking, but rather the vigour with which I persue TV viewers can be a bit like an ex-smoker attacking a smoker. DO I HAVE TO SPELL IT OUT?

    I just love the arguement that TV in itself is not bad just what's on it, who watches and who makes it...what exactly does that leave? It is un essential.

    Re-evaluate my middle finger you patronising asshat!

    Jessica: live art is where it's at!

    Cranky Yankee: Black Flag are the best band in the whole damn world.

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  13. Suppose theatre goes to trash musicals one day. Does that mean that theatre itself is broken? I'm just suggesting that television has potential, using for example, a fine educational show that promotes acceptance and self confidence, "Mr. Rogers Neighborhood".
    I apologize misreading your statement, I contrued, "I see TV as a narcotic" as a direct comparison between smoking and television, how daft of me. I had no intention of being patronizing, please forgive me. However instead of re-evaluating your middle finger, perhaps you should re-evaluate why it is you are so volitile in response.

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  14. Musicals are theatre, you're confusing genres and I have no idea what you mean by 'trash'. Theatre/live performance is an essential form of human expression.

    TV is not essential, I have no doubt there are many educational programmes on TV but it is not an essential part of existence. I certainly don't miss it.

    I'm a volitile kind of guy.

    Analyse that.

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  15. "Theatre/live performance is an essential form of human expression"

    It's not, we could live without it! It only enriches our lives but is not essential. Just as television can enrich our lives.

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  16. and heroin, that can enrich our lives.

    for a while at least.

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  17. JJ/Anon: we can't live without it, it is instinctual to play, to perform, to act, from the child learning about loss by the parent hiding and going peek-a-boo (the live performance of loss) to the personas we adopt for social situations, this is theatre, this is live performance.

    Please go and read some Aristotle.

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  18. oh, yeah. and I watch rugby.
    News, porn & rugby.
    Thats it.

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  19. I don't agree, the personas we adopt daily in social situations are farce and pretense; to hide truth. As opposed to theatre, in which we adopt characters to tell truth.

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  20. Sorry JJ but I have studied this for many years and the personas of life are performative, many moments are theatre, farce, by the way, is a theatre genre.

    And your definition of theatre as creating chracters to tell 'the turth' is quite simply not true.

    You're on my home subject here, please read Aristotle.

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  21. Youre so fucking clever its actually stupidly amazing. But you know I love TV- and I think I actually asked you "how can you be an actor and not watch TV?"
    I realise now what a stupid thing that was to say- especially since I have actually read aristotle and love psychoanalysis (I have had to analyse plays from a particular perspective at uni and that is what I find most interesting/am best at!)-which talks all about play as a child and loss and live theatre etc etc Im impressed Daniel. :-)

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