Monday, November 07, 2005

Choosing: The Internet Over Television

We live in the northeast, just outside of Boston. The winters are cold and sometimes long, with the furnance humming from mid October to mid March, and pretty regular into April often. We heat with gas. Katrina. Soaring fuel prices predicted for this winter. And so because my income isn't tied to the cost of basic necessities, to keep things in budget balance, the money for heat has to come from somewhere.

We have broadband and standard cable and phone service from Comcast. We needed to cut something and the choice came down to television or Internet.

We cut the cable television.


T.v. doesn't matter much anymore. The Internet is more useful and more meaningful in our lives than anything television has to offer. Television is just so many commercials interrupted by dramas that are mostly trite, news we've already learned of, scripted reality, movies edited to mush, and comedies where even the laugh tracks don't think the punchlines are funny.

Sure, there's some good stuff, nothing's all bad. But there's not enough good stuff to choose t.v. over the Internet. And the stuff that's really good is on DVD without the commercials. We don't need t.v. for current events. We follow the news online and in newspapers. And we get to know on our schedule. I want to know the weather, I don't have to wait until 11:22 pm for the local news to decide to show me what the weather will be in the morning. I can find out what I want to when I want to know it.

T.v.'s all push. And of lot of what it pushes, more and more of it --from the Today Show to local news hyping the weather or the latest shooting or the latest car crash to shouting heads on cable news-- is noise.

The Internet isn't all sweetness and light, but it's more varied. And it's not just push. We --my family and I-- are part of the info-makers and infor-sharers. On the Internet we connect with friends and colleagues and students. We do research; we play; we visit; we explore. We write, we inform, we analyze, we create, we entertain.

So really, who needs t.v.?


At 8:37 PM, Anonymous Matthew Bunce said...

Nick, this has been an argument of mine for the past few years. You have outlined it almost exactly.

It just becomes clearer everyday to me that television does not have much of a place in my life because I have no need for it. I have not had a television in many years, and really never think about it.

and now, with iTunes, I can watch desperate housewives--which ricks my fantabulous queer world every week.

At 5:50 PM, Anonymous iconolith said...

You have hit the nail on the head, Nick. TV is dead.

We made the decision at our house recently to axe our television and set up our entertainment around a frankenstein workstation that will play our DVDs, access the internet, and stream our music and podcasts.

It is a decision that transpired much in the way the cancellation of our land-line phone service happened. Why do we need these location/time-dependent services? They don't fit into life anymore.


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