Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Lost Art of Television Watching

I remember exactly when it happened: two years ago. I sat down at my television set, and my loyal friend, the Talking Head, asked me to go somewhere else. "Don't just watch the programming, interact with the stars!" the Head said, "come to our website, and find out more". It's like they didn't want me to sit still and watch my "disasters a second" for my three-hour allowance a night.

It was a decade after the end of the show about nothing, networks started expecting us hard working folks to stop watching television and go to an "Internet" for bonus features and content. (that's right, "an" Internet). First, it was our books, our movies, and our music; now our cathartic experience inducing cathode rays are being turned into data. Major broadcasters are forgetting to program us, and expect us to explore content and give our opinion on their blogs.
Is nothing sacred?

I have no kids. No wife. No cottage. No personal charming story to appeal to your emotions, however another couch potato does: let's call him "Cricket". 

Cricket is the owner and operator of a business. He has two children and a lovely wife, let's call her Carol. By the time he returns from work, showers, hangs out with his kids, and maybe stretches; he's physically exhausted. Then, the National News asks him to "Go Deeper", while we sits eating his dinner. Small children can't be blamed for getting heavier, but now his chill time is asking for more of him?

There is no more sitting back, tuning in, and uhm.... something else. Now, our reliable rubber ball, bouncing on our screens for years, wants us to catch it, turn it around and examine each error on every side; or worse yet have to learn how to juggle that ball with two others that magically appear out of a series of tubes. 

Our meditation time in front of the good ol' talky box is under attack; like a small child asking questions while you're on a phone call, our focus is drawn away from the best content television has ever produced. We're expected to be tweeting (on while watching, as if our discussions and peasant squabbling could have an affect on ratings.

If this were the Sixteenth Century, would we be talking with someone in a far off land, like Florida, about whether or not Iago would be able to get a handkerchief to Cassio and Desdemona? Would there be, "Behind the Blade: The Rise & Fall of Othello"? 

Have no fear. You can't read or watch any content on the "Internet" without ads on the five-minute mark, or dissecting each paragraph you read. It's free, though. We pay in the time it takes to reach these extras, and we don't even get the full experience. Sure there is an option to recall and search the every piece of data anywhere, at any time, but: so what? Our time is stretched so far, it's like it isn't the most limited resource we all share. 

As Bill Gates said, “Television is not real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs”.  However, in an age when more and more of us are working on our laptops from coffee shops, the last thing we want to do  is reach for it while we are enjoying our time in front of the TV, ignoring the people we love. This Holiday season, resist the urge to update you're favorite scene from Chevy Chase's Holiday Vacation. Instead, keep the enjoyment of Home Alone in your house.   

Jordan Keats lives in Victoria, BC, and wrote this while listening to Beck's Record Club, reading poems from Leonard Cohen's Book of Longing, and trying to focus on an article by David L. Ulin from the Los Angles Times Online about Reading from 2009. He's a Communications and New Media specialist with a love for coffee, and a lifelong dedication to Chen Style Taijiquan. He gives way too much of his spare time to:


Nota Bene: After sending this article to dozens of newspapers, and receiving no response in return - I've decided I don't want anything to do with them either. What are THEIR qualifications for publication? 

So you want to be a journalist?

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Posted via email from Jordan Keats is Pre-Posterous

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