15 May 2007

Switch It Off (TV)

"Where have the TV viewers gone? "

By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer Tue May 8, 4:36 PM ET

"Maybe they're outside in the garden. They could be playing softball. Or perhaps they're just plain bored.

"In TV's worst spring in recent memory, an alarming number of Americans drifted away from television the past two months: More than 2.5 million fewer people were watching ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox than at the same time last year, statistics show.

"Everyone has a theory to explain the plummeting ratings: early Daylight Savings Time, more reruns, bad shows, more shows being recorded or downloaded or streamed."

What would the world be like if we turned away from television all together? We have other ways of getting our news, of getting entertainment, of feeling connected to a larger whole, and of receiving advertising. How bad would it be if we were outside in the garden or playing softball?

Might be quite nice, really. Changing from viewers to doers. Understanding more about the people around us by being with the people around us. Developing perceptions by thinking for ourselves rather than hearing talking heads tell us what we ought to think. Choosing what images we wish to take in rather than letting them wash over us, unfiltered. Talking more to our neighbors, joining common interest groups, participating more in life rather than plunking down in front of the TV for hours on end. Realizing that reality really is better than reality TV.

Hubby talks about the rise in cruelty on radio and television--the concept that seeing/hearing someone getting punked or cranked has become entertainment. When did pissing someone off become hilarious? Maybe if we were there in person, we might feel a little more accountable and a little more empathetic. Heck, it might even put a stop to this kind of stuff.

Crazy talk, I know. And not a new idea in any of it. I just wonder if that's what we're seeing now--the massive wave of people turning away from television--either by design or default.

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