From: (Mumthra)

Subject: Turned off by Teevee

Date: 14 Apr 1999 00:00:00 GMT


Newsgroups: alt.foot.fat-free



[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


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

television, naturally.


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

publications and...and...


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

wrestling programs.


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

always did.


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