Monday, April 23, 2007

TV turnoff week


image courtesy of: http://adbusters.org/metas/psycho/tvturnoff/

Yes, it's that time of year again, ladies and gentlemen, time to turn off your t.v. for a week. This annual event asks us to tune out and step back for a week to reflect on the role that television plays in our lives. Whether you watch for one hour a week, or 10, or 50, television is innundating your psychic space with commercials and other ideological goodies. The result is a profound polluting of mental space and subtly increasing urges to consume.

In the continuing spirit of Earth Day, turn off your t.v. (and DVD player and on-line t.v. shows, etc.) from April 23-29 and see how it feels. How will you feel when you miss your favorite show's new episode? How will you feel when you don't have the t.v. on as background noise? How will your children react when deprived of televisual stimulation? For the past 6 years, I have participated in t.v. turn-off week every year that I have had a t.v. It's always caused some frustration- what do I do when my roommate wants to watch t.v.? What about the third-to-last episode of "Friends"? What about the t.v.'s in the gym?- but it has always been an intriguing and meditative frustration.

Think of it as a detox for your mind and psyche. Take all the time and energy you would have spent in front of the t.v. and focus it into another activity- exercise? cooking? getting together with a friend? hiking with your mom? finally tackling that long-neglected knitting project? writing a letter to your representative? staging a protest or boycott? organizing your files? taking those boxes to Goodwill? trimming your kitty's nails? writing another chapter in your novel? leafletting? It's fun!

Oh, and for you people who don't have t.v. to begin with, you have my admiration. Take this week to lend a hand and drag someone you know away from their televisions.

Who knows? You just might see an unusually large number of blog posts from me this week!

Links:

TV turn-off week main page

Adbusters.org

Something fun to ponder with all your extra time: True Cost Economics


image courtesy of: http://adbusters.org/metas/psycho/mediacarta/

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21 comments:

KleoPatra said...

Eyew, TV. As you may (or may not) know... i have a TV but it gets no stations, only for DVDs when i have a friend over. i haven't watched it in years... except when they have it on in the newsroom and it's in the background...

i'm not "holier than" any thou(s) out there... i watched so much of it as a kid! But truth is, i have in my fairly recent past, a very yucky mean icky cruel freaky (you get the picture!) ex-beau to thank for my penchant of loathing TV. (He watched it 18/7... the six non-hours being when he slept...) This is awesome, TV Turnoff Week. i'm already on board!

springsandwells said...

Oh thanks for sharing this.

I grew up without TV, until I was 14 years old. It was actually pretty hard at the time, although I am grateful for that now. One lingering effect though, is that TV can *really* suck me in.

When I lived alone, I had no TV - and I LOVED it. I did so much reading, and just loved the quiet of my home.

Then, I moved in with Musty and his giant TV. I have tried MANY times to recruit him to participate in tv turnoff week, but he is most certainly not motivated or interested. He loves to watch tv (the news!! ugh!)- while he plays guitar. It's a lot of noise. I guess it's one of the comprimises of a relationship.

On the rare occassions that he goes out of town, I always enjoy keeping the TV off - even when I might be tempted to turn it on. A TV fast of sorts.

I hope you enjoy your TV free week - ours is blaring at me right now! :)

Celine said...

interesting! don't know if I have the guts to do it. sides, I'm catching up a little late, because I didn't know and the boob tube was already on yesterday. I feel bad now!

runswithdog said...

I did without a tv for about 3 years when my kids were toddlers. Believe it or not, the reaction from people really mirrored the reaction I get about my diet. It seems that some people will take a personal decision and turn it around into a criticism (needing defense) of themselves. You know, the 'you're vegan? Well, I don't eat much meat either, only a little chicken and seafood when I go out' type of comments. The same thing happened when people heard we didn't have a tv. I was, all of a sudden, treated to lists of what little tv people watched. Trust me, it was amazing to hear how many people claimed to watch the McNeil/Lehrer News Hour! :-)

Kati said...

Yay! I put a link up to this yesterday, too. You know what they say, great minds link alike. ;)

Judy said...

Thanks for posting this. I'm going to try and do my best, but I can't guarantee anything :)

I actually lived without a tv for about 2 years, and it was great. When I did eventually get one, I didn't have cable, only the fuzzy free channels, which meant that I didn't watch much anyway. The one time that I missed it the most was when I was home sick in bed, and I would have given anything to watch a movie. Even still, I don't watch much. The occasional Food network show, and that's pretty much it.

scottishvegan said...

Hmmm…I think it’s a great idea and I know I watch too much tv. We DVR the shows we watch so that we at least can skip through the adverts because they drive me crazy, but being perfectly honest I know there’s no way I will do this! If I did do it I would probably just go to the movies instead..he he he!

aTxVegn said...

This would be so hard for me! I don't really "watch" tv except for local news, but I have it on all the time for noise and I can't go to sleep if it's not on. I sound sick - I should really try this!

laura jesser said...

I love it. Bob and I don't have TV, so I only watch it when something is coming on that I think is worthwhile enough to merit me going out of my way to hunt one down. Usually a PBS special or something like that... I'm like Kleo, I watched WAAAAAY too much as a kid and now that I don't have it I feel so "liberated" that maybe I will never go back! This is awesome though - wholehearted fist-pump action going on here!

Fairly Odd Tofu Mom said...

I grew up without TV too, and only rarely felt I was missng anything (I adored The Partridge Family and always tried to watch it at friend's houses...heehee). For the most part, I was far too busy for TV and still am.

My kids weren't too concerned about NoTV Week, but when I tried to change it to "No Screens Week" and eliminate the cmputer also, we all started to get twitchy fingers...

Can't say I didn't try though..

Urban Vegan said...

Cool idea--a detox/substance injection for your brain!Dr Weil often talks of doing "news fasts." (I'm a news junkie, so this is hard for me.)

I actually truly don;t watch much tv other than cooking shows. People talk abotu TV shows at work and I feel so out of the loop--but not in a bad way.

curmudgeon said...

I thought I didn't watch much tv, only tuning in for movies and discovery channel, but a couple of weeks of cutting it out completely has yielded enough time to do some major cooking and writing. Even started a blog.

Theresa said...

I watched WAY too much tv until I went to PNG and lived without it for 2 months. I didn't miss it! Then when we moved house, we didn't get a tv. It's too easy for me to get sucked into the morning news, or the 2-hour block of Simpson's or whatever, and not get any work done. I want to finish my PhD before the scholarship runs out, so I don't plan on getting a tv any time soon. It's great!

We do watch the occasional movie on the laptop, and listen to the nightly news on the radio, but I don't feel like I am wasting my time when we do that.

Carrie™ said...

I didn't know about this either and watched TV last night. It was something recorded from two weeks ago - does that count? :o)

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

This'll be easy for me! We have tv, but no cable or dish and channels don't come in. We do watch dvd's every once in a while. Sometimes I feel like I'm from another planet & totally out of pop-culture b/c I have no clue what people are talking about half the time. I'm good with it! :o)

Neva Vegan said...

Thanks for posting this. I had been doing it without realizing it this week as I got very inspired about a painting (slow work though, don't expect to see a finished product any time soon). However, it's Friday nights that always get me though, since it's relax with the hubby time.

I'm increasingly finding ads to be very intrusive and I think they have changed ads a lot from what they were like when I was little. So many are embedded in movies and shows now for one thing. The ads during commercial breaks are at a louder volume than the show and I think they are trickier, trying to use our psychology against us. Some ads are very clever though, it's just a shame all that creativity goes into ads!

Neva Vegan said...

Oooh, more, in reply to Springs and Wells. I also grew up without much tv and lived without one when I was single. But I have a tv loving husband. I also have her side effect--I cannot tune it out very well, I get so drawn in. People who grew up with tv can often just treat it as background noise, but since I don't have a tolerance, it's harder for me.

Emmy said...

That's really admirable that you're going tv-less for a week :)

meesh said...

Great post! I'm also a big fan of turning the darn thing off. I went without a television for about two years, then moved in with someone who wanted cable. It was so weird! I couldn't believe the amount time I could waste watching re-runs of West Wing and Law and Order. And all those commercials! Blech.

Now I'm back to rabbit ears (so I can get the news) and my dvd player when I want to see a movie. I get a lot more done. :)

Almost Vegetarian said...

We recently went without a TV for the better part of a year. It wasn't on purpose. But we got rid of the old one and didn't get around to replacing it for some time. We didn't miss it all that much. And now that we have one, we watch, maybe, 3 - 4 hours a week, at most. Outside of the news and one or two shows, it just doesn't hold that much of interest for us. In fact, we most use it to watch rented movies.

Cheers!

Dori said...

I think this is a great week to honor. I know many people ponder on how I am able to accomplish so much. I really am not a super hero.... I just don't watch TV.