10 June 2009

The End of Television

Some months ago I decided that we would no longer have television in our home. I cancelled the dish service and will not hunt down one of those big government coupons to get a box so that I can buy a TV antenna to hook up to a digital signal through the air.

I've told members of the congregation about this; not to encourage them to do the same, but because I normally tell them things about my life, mostly in Bible class - sickness, struggles, etc. The ladies Bible study members could probably tell you I'm on cholesterol medication if you asked them. Those I've told haven't given me too many looks like I'm all that weird, they know to expect strange things out of me already. I simply told them that I have had enough of seeing all the garbage coming into our house, particularly during commercial breaks. Before TV was shut down my oldest was allowed to watch only cooking shows on Food Network and sports, but watching a football game with her became an ordeal; covering her eyes from violence, sex and then some more violence and sex as Jack Bauer killed a couple guys during Fox promos followed by ad after ad for Viagra/Levitra/Cialis.

I've also told people that I certainly wouldn't invite some of these people to my home to tell me how to live my life or how to raise my children, but I have let them into my home willingly through the tube for too long.

People seem to get this. They know that for the most part what comes through the tube is trash. For every good thing we might see on TV there are thousands of vile things for our fleshly amusement. I said enough in our home. We can get movies for free from time to time from the public library, (I haven't put the thing on the curb) the computer is the way to get the news and there is that old wireless that still works.

We are more free to read, to talk, to play. Although I have buried two of the saints this week, I have read some of the Brothers Grimm (talk about violence and sex!) and acted some of them out - I've been Cinderella's step-sisters, so I've lost a toe and a heel trying to get the shoe on.

We are not a granola, crunchy conservative family. I don't grind my own flour (let the reader understand), or purchase only certified organic foods. I am attempting to be husband, father and teacher in the home. And I suppose an example to the faithful.

Too often the things we think are essential to 21st century life we can do without. I am learning this. I can read that the Wings won another cup (hopefully) rather than watching. I gain much by talking to my wife, reading to and playing with my kids. The end of TV seems to me to be a gain in our family life. I am willing to guess that it would be the same in a whole lot of other homes too.

But, O boy, will internet access be next to go? Tempting to be sure.


Rev. Paul Beisel said...

You're right about the fact that much of what comes through the TV is trash. But I'm not quite as pious as you. And neither is my wife. It was murder when she had our son not to be able to veg in front of the TV in the middle of the night while nursing. We went without for a couple of years too. It was much better with our last one, because we had Dish Network, and thus...Fox News. Amy actually had something to do other than drift off to sleep while nursing at 2:00 a.m. And don't try to tell me, "Why didn't she read or something?" I'm sorry. We need Spongebob to babysit our kids once in a while.

The Rev. BT Ball said...

I think that you are much more pious than I am. You can actually chant properly out of the Brotherhood Prayer-Book.

Yes, Fox News is another loss.

We do have DVD's that my wife uses for sanity's sake from time to time too. Nothing wrong there. I do wonder what they did in the olden days though? Were the mother's hoping for spontaneous dogfights for the kiddies to go watch or for dad to butcher up a hog?

Rebekah said...

I think mothers used to tell the kids that anyone who kept fighting had to go mill flour.

My word verification is "pasta," no joke.

TruthQuestioner said...

My family disposed of TV when I was quite small and I grew up without it - except at grandparents. I must say, we never missed it and I can't honestly say that I never had anything to do. This didn't mean that all our visual media was cut out. Not at all. Movie watching became a special treat that brought the family together and became a topic of discussion. In this way we could choose the subjects of our viewing and limit the time spent.

-a little youthful lay girl.

Aaron said...

I'm for living without it if you can. If you do end up returning to the dish, though, I suggest using the DVR option and watching shows in tape delay. This way, you can fast forward ahead through the commercials. Dish Network's DVR has a 30 second skip on it, which usually gets you through commercial breaks with minimal visuals and virtually no sound.

Rev. Paul Beisel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rev. Paul Beisel said...

Good for you guys. Really. (Hand clap).

WM Cwirla said...

I find a nearly direct correlation between my television watching and my reading. The more I watch TV, the less I read. My wife and I also talk less when the TV is on.

Carl Vehse said...

Rev. Ball, yes, violence, sexual perversion, anti-Christian hatred, and pandering unspeakable filth fill television broadcasting... and that's just during network news shows. The prime debaucheries are then offered during primetime.

And if you haven't puked your dinner by then, you can watch some lunatic talk show host joke about raping young girls during a baseball game.

However on a positive note, a local station does broadcast a 24/7 weather channel. Here in Texas, that can be pretty exciting during the summer thunderstorms.

Theophil Jones said...

Amazing, huh? The missus and I put the TV away about a month ago after a nine month bed-rest stint she did while carrying our twins. We've found we like talking to each other over dinner again! We read non-fiction! We sleep better! But the true test comes when football season starts up again...

On another note, can anyone recommend a good CD of hymns? We are also trying to get away from rock'n'roll but it's so hard to find good, traditional hymns. I lean toward the Tennessee Ford style.

Vicar Josh Osbun said...

My wife and I have been without television for this entire year of our vicarage, except for the small television that is in my office at church. (It gets used, but not much.) Honestly, we have not missed it. We have a good collection of movies, and we've watched them all...some of them multiple times. But in our discussions about this, we have agreed eventually to swap out the television for a 50-gallon fish tank full of goldfish. Considering the things that can be viewed on TV (as you have pointed out), I'm sure the goldfish will be much more exciting.