From: email@example.com (Mumthra)
Subject: Turned off by Teevee
Date: 14 Apr 1999 00:00:00 GMT
[this is, like, a piece, or sumthin. comments encouraged]
I have received official notice that our elementary school is planning
to participate in National TV Turnoff Week. For seven days beginning
on April 22 we are ENCOURAGED to shun the tube as a family in order to
PARTICIPATE in this EXPERIMENT. There will be PRIZES and PROOFS OF
PARTICIPATION. This is all very exciting.
We aren't given any methodology for this EXPERIMENT, no data table to
fill, but rather we are expected to sign a pledge to:
-Watch no TV
-Encourage others to do the same
-Engage in productive substitute activities
-Develop new skills; have fun!
What exactly does the school have against television? Their letter
contends that children who watch "little or no TV" have better school
performance and "tend to...exercise regularly." This would exclude the
children who compulsively watch and mimic the exercise programs on
CHAMPIONING television is a waste of time, time that could be spent
WATCHING MORE TV. Television promotes itself so successfully that
public service organizations must be and have been formed to fight it.
TV Turnoff Week is promoted by TV-Free America, whose simply stated
mission statement states:
TV-Free America is a national, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization
that encourages Americans to reduce, voluntarily and dramatically,
the amount of television they watch in order to promote richer,
healthier and more connected lives, families and communities.
That's SO NICE! I am so glad that these NICE people want to enrich my
life. How does extracting the television from our midst accomplish
this? Simple! It gives us time to DO STUFF.
We are ENCOURAGED to "Break free of TV" and so "millions" of us shall.
We'll shed the shackles of commercialism and go to the mall instead.
What better way to experience richness and connectedness with our
fellow rebels? We will have conversations, sleep, read non-commercial
Stuck for things to do with those teevee-free hours? That's OKAY. We
have a list of 101 Substitute Activities to spark your imagination:
Number 8--paint something; number 10--plant something; number
38--start a bowling league; number 39--save money by canceling your
cable TV! number 79--invent a new game and teach it to your friends;
and number 101 have a big party to celebrate TV-Free Week!
Has anyone considered the COSTS? Number 102 might well be "check Mom
and Dad into the Perpetual Motion Recovery Program." All that kite
making and excursioning will leave flabby parents panting and pining
for reruns of South Park. All that conversation is likely to expose
long festering resentments that the television haze had helpfully
concealed. How many MURDERS has TV-Turnoff Week inspired? How many
divorces have been spawned during this orgy of unpluggedness?
Why not promote a Watch TV With The Kids Week? Discuss with them the
subtler manipulations of the advertising, play "Spot the Product"
during the commercials and learn something about standard police
arrest procedures from some of the fine documentary programs that are
Ask them why they think that most people find a sort of pleasure in
watching actors engage in dangerous and violent acts. Ask them to
compare and contrast the Jerry Springer Show with professional
Television isn't going to disappear if we avoid it; we may as well
face it squarely and complain directly to it like my grandmother
The tube isn't just a sinkhole that doesn't talk back, however. There
are plenty of things to learn from it, preschoolers learn that letters
are their friends and colors are people too. Young children learn how
to make friends with their dentists, and older ones can pick up dating
tips and valuable warnings that come from peers who, unlike Skippy up
the block, are successful enough to BE ON TEEVEE.
This was probably from Mumthra.
"So you'd have to take it on faith that it was in fact
a tentacle and not, say, a potato." --Jahweh Dave Lynch