Friday, July 25, 2008

I Watch TV!

Via Jen Robinson I found this most excellent post at Read.Imagine.Talk, In Defense of TV. In which Jenny defends her household TV watching.

Needless to say, I totally agree with Jenny. There is nothing, N O T H I N G, wrong with watching TV. And one of these days I'll post more. In the meanwhile, all I'll add to Jenny's post is watching TV is no different than anything else -- moderation, balance, a part of life. If someone proudly tells me that they watch no TV*, I look at them no differently than if someone told me they read no books. They are missing out on some great stuff, and why is that so wonderful?

I'll add something else, and just from reading Jenny's post, and that is "background TV." So TV shortens attention span? I thought it was the computer and the Internet. Too many caffeine drinks. Regimented days with kids being given no time to play on their own. Sigh. It is so hard to keep track.

Love it or hate it, part of the modern world is multitasking and part of the world is working despite background noises. Most annoying people I've lived with in college or worked with in lo those many years since are the "silence" people, those who cannot concentrate on anything with background noise.

13 comments:

Megan Germano said...

Amen. My sister and I (both teachers) have been saying for years, we don't know what we would have turned out like if it weren't for watching Mr. Rogers, Sesame Street, Electric Company, 3-2-1 Contact, Mr. Wizard's World, and Pinwheel.
We learned a great deal from those shows and their repetition.

Eva M said...

The problem with watching tv? It cuts into my reading time!! Dang, I wish there were more hours to the day (or that I didn't have a full-time job).

jamie said...

I agree! My sister and I grew up in a house where if the TV wasn't on, Dad would say "Why is it so quiet in here." Yet I'm a librarian and she works at a bookstore. And we still watch TV. There are shows for multitasking (Big Brother! Shear Genius!) and then there are shows that you watch with your undivided attention (Mad Men! The Wire!) And those of us with "monkey brains", it has been proven, do better with background noise to keep the monkey part busy so the other parts can concentrate.

Celise said...

I can now use the excuse that I watch TV for the research. LOL. Seriously though, I have my fav shows that i watch consistently, but there have been days where I've done nothing but read all night long. Or all day long for that matter.

rockinlibrarian said...

When I was a kid I was a HUGE bookworm-- I watched TV, but not a lot, but I spent ALL my free time reading-- I rarely ran around, hung out with other kids, got any exercise whatsoever. I was also naturally skinny. So I was always kind of smug at how the Grownups Of the World went on about Couch Potatoes and how TV was making kids fat and stupid, because I didn't watch too much TV, I spent all my time READING and READING is GOOD for you. But, um, it turns out, even though I watch even less TV nowadays and still am not fat, I'm still incredibly out of shape. Ah, the Grownups of the World and their misplaced Villains.

Michele said...

I confess I rarely watch TV - but that's because I can't have it on in the background - it's far too distracting and not conducive to my concentration, unlike music which aids my concentration. So if the TV goes on it's because I specifically want to watch something. But I don't often - I'm usually too busy writing or reading!

(I also find that pictures don't cater to my imagination in the same way that words do - my brain's weirdly wired that way!)

Liz B said...

Loving the comments! And see, it proves to me that TV is like anything else. A variable. Not in and of itself good or bad.

Rockinlibrarian, I love the reminder that reading all day is just as unhealthy as watching TV / gaming (tho with the wii, I guess we cannot argue that anymore! Darn, I want the Wii Fit.)

Michele -- But aha, I know you watch the Dcctor! I do a fairly good job of reading and watching TV, but some TV works better as background than others. It's always depended on the degree of what I'm doing. Writing the book? No TV; reading for fun? TV; etc.

Michele said...

Oh I didn't say I didn't watch any TV - just very little. F'rinstance, now Doctor Who's finished its run in the UK, I don't expect to watch any new TV until the autumn when "Little Dorrit" and "Survivors" (with Freema Agyeman) and "Einstein & Eddington" (with David Tennant and Andy Serkis) all air...

Of course, I'll watch my "Old school" Doctor Who DVDs as and when the fit takes me!

Liz B said...

In all seriousness, Michele, there is an entire other question about the close-watching of TV shows (for want of a better term) and when it comes down to it, why doesn't that analysis get the same respect if it were done to a film?

And I also think TV = TV. I'm not saying you've said it -- but I've seen it elsewhere in TV conversations, "I don't watch TV. Oh, but I do have x DVDs that I watch." Are you watching them at home on a tv? Yes? Then, um, yes, you are watching TV.

Michele said...

Except I watch DVDs on my laptop! (Teasing!)

And I'm not saying watching DVDs isn't watching TV - just that I'm not going to watching any *new* TV shows until Autumn - just re-watching an old and much loved favourite show...

What I was trying to say, and perhaps failing to make clear, is that my TV viewing (whether live, or recorded) is minimal. Even during the latest DW season, I was only watching at most an extra 90 mins of TV over and above the 2 - 4 hours I watch out of season. (Depending on whether I watch two DVDs at the weekend or only one). So yeah, I watch less than 6 hours of TV a week at present. Whereas I listen to an average of 18 hours of music *per day*...

As for close analysis of TV shows not getting the same respect as close analysis of film, it probably stems (in this country at least) from the old idea of the TV being "the idiot box" - therefore unworthy of real respect.

Sam said...

Little Dorrit? On Masterpiece Theater? That should be some fine TV.

It was the Our Mutual Friend & Middlemarch mini-series that got me started on Victorian literature int he first place. Now I'm addicted to both the books and the shows.

Michele said...

Well I don't know if MPT will buy it from the BBC - although it's not impossible of course!

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

We got rid of our tv after we moved into our tiny house and it simply did not fit anywhere. Watching films and tv shows on DVDs through our laptops has been just fine, and I was tickled to be able to watch "Lost" and "Battlestar Galactica" online a day after the episodes showed on tv. I love chilling out with a DVD after a long day. Sometimes I just want someone else to do the playing for me (to crib an allusion from Matt Groening's "Life in Hell").

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