Saturday, August 28, 2004

Yeah, what he said

After five years of self-imposed exile from all things flickering on the television, BBC broadcaster John Humphrys offers a sharp critique of current TV fare.

Our hiatus from television began in a similar fashion to Mr. Humphrys'. Upon our return from a few days at the lake last Sunday, I noted that the colours on the X-Box game (SSX Tricky) were much darker. Then, when we switched to television, we had sound, but no picture. I inserted a video - same thing. When Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets began to fade to black, I finally realized that our 15 year old television was finally about to expire.

My first instinct was to go and buy a new television. I'd been secretly coveting the flat screen TV with the built-in DVD player, and hoping that the old Magnavox would succumb to old age.

Then, I thought .. let's wait. I had been thinking about replacing the digital cable (at $75/month) with basic cable ($9/month) but hadn't gotten the monkey off my back around to it. I realized that I had a golden opportunity to launch a full frontal attack on the TV monster - immediately. On Monday, I detached the cable box, grabbed the clicker, and brought them back to the cable company. "Here you go", I said politely. "We no longer wish to have cable."

"Would you like to keep your basic cable?"

Steel yourself .. you can do this

"No, thank you."

We are only one week into our TV moratorium, but so far it is going well. Naturally, we still have our high-speed internet. It's vital for having videoconferences with my husband, who is currently stationed in South Korea. Hubby has also been ignoring the television, despite having free cable in his barracks room, and a tv tuner card in his computer.

The most amazing thing about the TV vacation is that my seven year old son has accepted the new status quo with nary a complaint. This morning, he did say that he was going to watch a bit of "invisible TV". It shames me to think of how many hours I allowed the flickering box to be his babysitter - precious hours watching the same episodes of "Stanley" or "The Wiggles" over and over again - precious hours that should have been spent reading, riding his bicycle, or chasing the butterflies in our back yard.

I suspect that a new TV/DVD combo might enter our house at some point .. but not for a while.

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