Seeing We Live in Public a second time has brought up a wash of TV memories. If you've caught me in a belligerent mood at a party you know my two favorite things to faux-brag about are my unbelievable introversion (everyone just sees me in extrovert mode) and the fact I haven't owned a TV for 15 years.
I have a deep hatred and aversion to television and the content and media produced and distributed on/with it. Of course, there's a much longer story to this. You can't hate something, unless you've loved it.
I don't believe I consumed more TV than average - probably less. I spent much of my prime TV watching years in Iowa - where we were lucky to have 3 or 4 channels. But I did spend loads of time from when I was 10 until 14 consuming television - many hours every day. Prior to then, it was cartoons and nature programs. A few Harryhausen stop animation and fantasy films. Around that time TV networks and cable really took off. I remember when Nickelodeon was launched and when MTV used to play music videos. (I still remember seeing Axel Rose crooning and swooning about his sweet child.) I'm a gourmet cook and can whip up the most complicated dish with only a few sips from the Joy of Cooking. That comes from my years of watching Jeff Smith's Frugal Gourmet. I had perfected chocolate souffle when I was 13. My absolute favorite show was You Can't do that on Television. Even then, I was attracted to the interrupters. It was horrible Canadian Television with lots of green slime. But better than anything created in the US.
Shortly after that time though, something shifted. It was about the time I discovered philosophy and decided I wanted to be in control of who I became, not shaped by the world around me. At that time, I became selective of the media I consumed. Already I started the long and tedious process of re/unwiring my programming. Of course, first you have to realize what your programming is. There was also the added challenge of being an adolescent girl of divorced parents living on her own.
I didn't say goodbye to the tube until college. Of course, I just switched drugs - preferring the interactive black and green BBS chatrooms and limited 5 line profiles to passively watching programming. When 12 baud dial-up was unbearable I saved up the money from my art modeling gig to buy a 28 baud modem and installed it myself. I briefly had a boyfriend who studied in the broadcasting and TV group and one late night conversation led me to the realization that those who create the media do not consume it. You couldn't. You had to be beyond it. That's when the nail went in my TVs coffin. I wish I could say I took my 13 inch out to the backyard and introduced it to my sledgehammer or used it as target practice - but I wasn't into guns and violence at that time. I merely sold it.
That was 15 years ago. Since then, my TV interactions have been few and far between. I never bought another one, although for about a year, I rescued a huge push channel, big box TV from the street and left it on my Berkeley front porch pointed out to the street with the "snow channel". It was some form of art or rebellion or commentary on something deeply philosophical I forget about now.
The television is very powerful - because it programs you. The internet is the same. The media may be different, but the activity it does is the same. You watch, you learn. Mirror neurons. Creating and building neural pathways. You become/evolve what you surround yourself with. Television isn't in my trusted network.