DailyAfirmation (dailyafirmation) wrote,
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What I Really Know About Television

I submitted this essay to AARP (quit laughing!) for a competition they do in each edition. They give a topic and ask for essays of 400 words or fewer about it. It did not get published, so I'm publishing it here, myself. Take that.



What I Really Know About Television

I really know that I cleared my house of televisions on March 17, 2002. I know that over the course of the last seven years, my ability to resolve television-related cultural references has been diminishing; however, over the past three years particularly, I’ve been able to resolve more and more of them with a quick visit to youtube.com.

I know that the number one thing people say to me when they find out I don’t own a television is, “Oh. I hardly watch my TV at all; Mostly leave it on in the background to keep me company.”  I know they say this even though my statement about not owning a television myself makes no value judgment about people who do, which makes them sound a little defensive,or perhaps guilty, about owning and watching one themselves.

I know that people I meet—who usually find out within a week or two of knowing me that I have no television—will continue, often for months,saying to me, “Oh, have you seen that commercial about…” or “You know the guy that won on the second season of…” but eventually get to the point where they cut themselves off halfway through the question with, “Oh, nevermind.”

I know that surveys that have a question about how much television you watch rarely have an option such as, “I don’t watch television at all,” and practically never have one that says, “I don’t own a television.”

I know that without a television  I read a lot more,that I’ve never seen a reality show, and it miffs me that televisions are appearing in public places—airports, my gym, and even the city bus I ride back and forth to work every day. And I know that I’m mostly annoyed by the assumption that, of course, everyone would welcome a television in a public place to keep from having to entertain themselves of their own accord, or more unlikely yet, choose to be quiet and alone with their own thoughts.

And, finally, I know that the increasing confluence of television and the Internet—with offerings such as hulu.com—is making me have this philosophical debate with myself more and more: “If I watch The Office on the Internet, is that considered watching television?"

John Martin
July 20, 2009



These are the three entries they did publish:

  1. What I Really Know About Television: High-Minded Pursuits
  2. What I Really Know About Television: Meeting Lois Lane
  3. What I Really Know About Television: Time Together



What do you really know about television?
Tags: television, writing
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