Break the control… step away from the screen

Joshua W. Newman

The entertainment industry controls our lives. Our clothes, our speech, our actions, our interactions – all based on television and movie characters, scenarios, soundtracks. Our emulation of these idealistic morals and values has gone so far over the top that some people get trapped and simply don’t know where to go.

Unfortunately, there is no solution to be offered. I love TV, hell, I just finished watching the second-to-last episodes of “Entourage,” “True Blood,” “Dexter,” “Californication”… the list continues.

But beyond our copy-cat agenda – that many of us don’t even realize exists – the television, as an invention, creates a portal through which we can lose ourselves indefinitely. We can sit on our comfy couches and watch three consecutive episodes of “Law & Order” and have no idea three hours just went by. I’m not going to get into commercials, because that’s an entirely different opinion column.

Think about how unmotivated and how incomparably lazy we are because of the tube. The same argument can be made with all the entertainment available on the Internet including Facebook, YouTube, Hulu (for streaming shows/movies), etc. At least with the World Wide Web we have the ability to be socially and professionally interactive.

But before I lose my thought, how active were kids and students our age in the pre-TV era? Most of us can probably ask our parents. They’ll give you a speech about how they walked uphill in the snow to and from school and watching television was a privilege obtained only after homework and chores were completed. Only THEN could you watch the black and white blurry figures scamper across the screen while you adjust the antennae to clear the picture.

Well here’s my call to action… we should all get off our lazy asses and do just that. Every time you reach for the remote control, think to yourself, “could I be doing something more productive?”

The answer is undoubtedly “yes.” There is always something more important to do than watch TV. Gym, homework, how about looking for a job, you seniors in the crowd?

Just try dropping an hour or two of TV each week or each day, whatever works.

Although I’m sure I have strayed from my original point, technology can be a great device or an addictive fortress. It is only up to us to decide.

November 16, 2008


Joshua W. Newman

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