15 September 2010

Why I don't have television

Disclaimer: I don't think TV is evil. I don't think people who watch TV are idiots and I don't look down on people for having cable. This is just why, personally, I don't have cable nor do I really miss it. 

 When I moved, I decided to get my internet through Charter. Throughout the entire process, they kept wondering why I only wanted internet and now one of their package deals. They accept that I don't need a phone line because I have a cell phone. But no television? It baffles them.

I got a phone call from Charter in which they were explicitly trying to just selling me cable. The guy was absolutely insistent.

"Why don't you want cable?"
"I don't really like it."
"Well, that's okay. I'm not big on TV myself. But don't you watch anything?"
"I have Netflix. I watch movies and select series I like."
"Oh, yeah. Netflix is great. But they don't always have the most recent stuff and they don't have the biggest selection of TV shows. Plus, they don't have the news. But our Basic TV would only cost $10 more and you'd get—"
"But I really don't want any television. Most of it is stupid, commercials irritate me, and it just eats productivity. I really don't want any television."
"Oh, yeah, I know. Okay... So let's get you started with the Basic—"
"No, let's not. I don't want any television. Are you even listening to what I'm saying. I. Don't. Want. T. V. Do you understand me?"
"Yes, sir. Well, thanks for choosing Charter and I hope you have a great day!"

Okay, so one, this was a horrible salesman who made me hate Charter just a little bit more, but whatever, that's not why I'm writing this post. I'm writing this post to discuss why, personally, I don't want television.

The news
Really simple, here. I am already paying for the internet. I can get the news on there. And in general, I like it more. I can read it. I can choose sources that aren't as sensational as television news outlets.

But again, the biggest reason: I can get news without having to pay.

Getting the newest episodes
So maybe I miss this a little. As I'm currently at my parents house, I'm sitting here watching The Daily Show and The Colbert Report and yeah, it's kinda nice. I also wouldn't mind watching the new Futurama when they come out. However, a lot of this stuff you can find online, and the rest, well... I can wait to see it later.

To be honest, I don't really mind being out of the loop on Lost or whatever the hot new show is. And I certainly don't miss...

The commercials
This is probably the biggest thing that I absolutely don't miss about TV, as I am currently experiencing. Commercials are largely irritating. This is compounded by the fact that for the last four years, I've pretty much been watching DVDs. I haven't had TV at all for over two years. I've gotten used to a slower paced, narrative visual medium. Things follow more or less logically, and fast editing is basically only used for scenes that are supposed to be anxious, exciting, or generally intense. So when I see commercials, all I can think of, essentially, the drug-taking scenes in Requiem for a Dream. It puts me on edge. Having this happen randomly in the middle of a narrative is disturbing, especially when it keeps happening.

Plus, as we all know, commercials just don't make sense. It's sort of like a Mitch Hedberg joke:
A friend gave me a drug for attention deficit disorder, because he's afflicted. But I'm not. So what happened to me is I suddenly had an extra-long attention span. People would tell me a story, and it would end, and I'd get all mad. "Come on, man! There has to be more to that story!"
Seriously, though. I'm trying to figure out what the hell the commercial is all about and what the story is and, of course, it's already on to the next commercial that makes even less sense.

Okay, so maybe I'm not freaking out and having a bad trip whenever commercials come on. I'm able to deal. But I do notice myself getting anxious. Yeah, I'd get used to it again. But I don't want to get used to it.

A waste of time
This is the biggest reason, because ultimately, I don't hate TV (just commercials). In fact, I find it somewhat addictive.

And that's the thing. I have a mini library of books, a huge collection of DVDs, Netflix instant streaming, a bunch of video games I have yet to beat, and the goddamn internet. Do I really need another thing to help me procrastinate? Really?

So yeah, I probably would've finished this post earlier, but I was watching Good Eats on the Food Network at my parent's house. Just sayin.


  1. Wait -- no television? How... how, how is that POSSIBLE!?!?! :P

  2. Seriously, good post. I'm not trying to be pompous by not watching TV either. I actually just HATE commercials as much as you do. I have a Tivo, so that helps, but I rarely use it (it's mostly for Jess). Equally problematic for me, likewise, is the productivity issue. Between Hulu, Netflix, and 100% legal file sharing there is no point to paying for cable.