Thursday, April 11, 2013

The 97%

I heard on the radio this morning that 97% of all American homes have cable/satellite subscriptions. The cable companies are worried, because 2 years ago that number was 99%.  My heart goes out to them.

Seriously though! My little family hasn't had a TV or cable subscription since 2009. I hardly feel "cut off" or "out-of-touch." I get 90% of my current event/news through the radio, and yea, I'll admit it, that's heavy skewed towards NPR, because I get the most news for my 30 minute drive time. Local stations do some talk/news in the mornings, but then I have to sit through the fart jokes and inane banter to learn that a local manufacturer is letting 100 people go. The rest of my news comes from blog reading and occasional Daily Show episodes.

We do watch some "TV." But, not through the legal and heavily commercialized methods. (Hulu, Amazon and Netflix streaming, things like that.) We're pirates. Straight up. We stream from independent sources everything we want to watch. No commercials, no country boundaries, we like our limited viewing time to be self directed, and free from commercial messages. We watch a bunch of BBC shows, and have been known to check out Australian, Irish, New Zealand and Canadian shows too. There are even a few American shows that have a writing level above the 3rd grade and subject matter than doesn't offend us and we'll watch those occasionally. We watch a lot of documentaries, and cooking shows, with a healthy smattering of adult animated shows, (Adult Swim type stuff, Bob's Burgers and Archer and Southpark, etc..) Come to think of it, we're not even bound by the current year of programming, Dave watches reruns of Dr Who and Red Dwarf from the 80's.

The toddler watches a lot of YouTube cartoons. He watches train cartoons in Russian, and an animated  toddler show called Pocoyo in Spanish. He loves to watch kid-made videos with Thomas the Train toys. He loves the old silent Pink Panther cartoons too. And the classic Donald Duck stuff.  Between the ad blockers on our Linux Mozilla browser, and the methods we use to watch programming, I'd say Rowen has seen only a handful of actual ads in his first 4 years of life. That does make me happy, even when I would rather see him with a book or outside. :-D

Dave and I don't see many ads either. And we don't watch any of the mainstream news.  (And yes, Fox is as mainstream as media gets.) It makes for a surreal experience when we go to a friend or relative's house and get a dose of actual TV programming. It's really weird.  The commercials seem hyperbolic, and disturbingly repetitive. The "news" shows seem more cartoonish than anything else, with their equally hyperbolic pitch and the spastic pop-ups selling other TV programming, and those weird scrolling tickers with random twits of information. I'm always itchy to turn it off after the first 5 minutes of it.

I'm telling you folks. CUT THE CORD.  If you want to live a simpler, more productive life, CUT THE CORD.  If you want more time for projects and exercise and family, CUT THE CORD. If you want to lessen the corporate and governmental influence on your life, CUT THE CORD!

You'll likely go through a withdrawal period as your brain, your habits and yes, even your hormones, adjust to the quieter, slower, more pleasant pace of self directed media consumption. It's totally worth it though. Your wallet will thank you, your butt will thank you, your brain will thank you, and perhaps someday your children will thank you.

Live your life folks; watching shows on a TV doesn't count as a life, it barely counts as an activity. Mostly, it's just brainwashing, and a waste of your hard earned money.

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