Improve life, Kill your television

By Gus Bode

The Pitt News (U. Pittsburgh)

(U-WIRE) PITTSBURGH – What would you do with several extra hours magically added to your day?

Imagine:You could spend more time with your family and friends. You could catch up on all that reading you’ve been meaning to do, learn fusion cuisine and take up the ukulele.


You could finally get into shape. You could take time to appreciate the blissful Zen art of doing nothing. Your health would improve, not to mention your brain power, social skills and eyesight.

With more time on your hands, you’ll have more of the earth’s most valuable commodity to do with as you please.

What would you pay for such a miracle? $100? $200? One zillion dollars?

Well, have I got an offer for you. Send no money, not now, and not ever, not even $19.95. This offer is good anytime, there is no payment plan, and I’ll never send you any further installments for you to peruse at your leisure. It’s so simple, even a child could do it.

Throw it out the damn window, take a sledgehammer to the screen, unplug it and enDumpstulate your idiot box.

Television is a soul-sucking, time-wasting, humanity-erasing demon that serves no valuable purpose. It’s a scourge. It’s been dumbing you down for years, and you probably aren’t even aware of it.

I dare you just to turn it off for a week. One week.


If you allow yourself to stop bemoaning the loss of your daily “Three’s Company” rerun allotment and simply adjust, you will be amazed at what the lack of psychic pollution can do for you. You might even have a thought or two.

Once you stop the flow of drivel bombarding your mind, you’ll wonder how you ever lived with all that noise. Yep, noise. That’s all it is – visual static, intellectual fuzz.

When’s the last time you learned anything useful from the boob tube? When were you ever uplifted from something you saw?

And by uplifted, I don’t mean manipulated into some maudlin morass of emotion over a sad puppy getting rescued from a mean ol’ curmudgeon by some heroic cop. I don’t mean having a false emotional response ripped from you by a laugh track or swelling major chords. I don’t mean learning about Pam Anderson’s struggles as a single mom.

When has television ever changed your life? When has a show ever caused you to rethink your worldview?

I don’t own a television, and I won’t. I’ve been television-free for about eighteen months now, and I’m horrified every time I have the misfortune of encountering it. I’ve been in groups of friends – intelligent, fascinating folks – and watched them all disconnect, disengage and gape at a damn box for hours at a time and consider this quality time spent together.

I’ve had the unbelievably disheartening experience of visiting my family when some far-flung and seldom-seen member was around. All we did was sit in the same room, occupy the same space, breathe the same air and maybe eat the same popcorn and laugh at the same indicated spots in the laugh track – then the relative packs up and drives off and isn’t seen again for a year or more, when the same hollow ritual is repeated.

Television is killing us all in half-hour increments. Our children are raised by a soulless box and don’t know how to jump rope or ride a bike.

Take my advice – eradicate the stultifying influence of television from your life, and the beginning of this column could have been the last infomercial you ever endure.

And that alone is worth a slew of easy payments of $19.95.