Earlier today, I was driving around when I noticed one of those ALL-CAPS, "KILL YOUR TELEVISION" bumper stickers.
I cannot think of a more culturally uninformed, and frankly, bigoted attitude. Talk to the "Kill Your Television" advocates, and you're likely to get one or more of these attitudes:
Most commercial television is chock full of attempts to urge you to buy stuff you really don't need to thrive intellectually, spiritually, nutritionally, materially, cosmetically, or even medically.
Why be glued to the tv and watch insipid "talent" contests, Britney/Lindsay/Paris exposes, football, or cliche-ridden situation comedies when you, and the ones you love, can go mountain biking, hiking, swimming, sailing,etc? In short, enjoying life rather than just watching it?
Why should I pay $100 a month for digital cable when I can buy three entiching books for the same amount?
Well, let me tell you something.
While each of those arguments have some validity, they fail to take into account that there are some superb television programs. Except if you don't have a tv or never turn it on, you might not know about them.
Just this coming week you can watch:
A History Channel show about "How The Earth Was Made."
A PBS docuementary about Ben Kuroki, the first Japanese-American war hero, and later a force against racism;
A PBS "Live From Lincoln Center" special, featuring acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo-Ma;
A History Channel show entitled "Save Our History," which this week is dedicated to the efforts involved in preserving Boston's historic African Meeting House;
A Travel Channel special on ten great American national parks;
On the Discovery Channel, a "MythBusters" presentation on why the Hindenburg blew up;
That's not counting the stimulating interviews conducted by host Charlie Rose. Monday's guest: distinguished actor Sir Ian McKellen.
There may also be breaking news you'll want to learn about- and even watch as it unfolds. Or commentary, sometimes even featuring guests such as the proprietor of this place.
But if you purposely don't have a tv, you are in no position to render fully objective on the medium.
Listen. I don't watch all that much TV. I'd rather be out doing active, stimulating things- at a bookstore, at a movie theater, by or in a river or at the Pacific. To each his or her own, but I do not endorse hours and hours of successive television watching.
But I am not one to condemn all television with one brush. There's lots of crap, but some good as well. And in listing the good, I have only begun to scratch the surface.
KILL YOUR TELEVISION? No. Just turn it off, go out in the world, come back and relax. If you haven't yet "killed your television," it might offer you something interesting when you turn it on.