Friday, June 02, 2006

Witness zombification

cathode rae

"Well, to begin with, nobody, and I mean nobody, can talk a junkie out of using. You can talk to 'em for years but sooner or later they're gonna get ahold of something. Maybe it's not dope. Maybe it's booze, maybe it's glue, maybe it's gasoline. Maybe it's a gunshot to the head. But something. Something to relieve the pressures of their everyday life, like having to tie their shoes.
... All these kids, they're all TV babies."

- Drugstore Cowboy

For this interest of historic accuracy, I must admit this photograph, by all rights, should have me seated behind the glowing rays of the cathode tube just to the left of our ittybitty TV baby.

It's not a pretty picture, and something of which neither of us is proud.

Babies, all the books say, should NEVER watch TV before they are two. NEVER!!!! And we introduced her WAY too early. Her first friend was Elmo (who she quickly jilted for Ernie).

Sure, there are a lot of hazards one might surmise that might come from television viewing; the least of which include eye strain and an insufferable urge to pester parental units into purchasing a veritable fortune of otherwise forgettable merchandise.

There's THIS frightening problem, made even more fearsome because the study shows that 85 percent of the parents whose children were injured in this manner didn't know it was a common occurrence.

But let's face it, few of us are worried about a 40-lb hunk of plastic, metal and glass flattening our kids. We're concerned with whether television viewing will lower their IQs while increasing their wastelines and violent tendencies.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, however, we're also worried about whether we'll have to miss Sopranos because of Sesame Street.

This just makes me want to throw out our TVs ... All seven of them.

Jed puts his adult television addiction squarely on the shoulders of his mother, or more accurately his upbringing, which forbade television viewing early on and restricted it later in his development. Yet, he is proud of his resourcefulness in overcoming the boundaries keeping him from pre-teen zombification -- ruses which included writing a paper on "Why he should be allowed to watch television for the good of his education" and fashioning a replacement cable when his mother removed (and hid) the power cord while she was at work.

I, on the other hand, hail from a family of television connoisseurs -- hearty people who relished every second of "Barney Miller," "St. Elsewhere" and "My So Called Life." Our television was on non-stop whether anyone was watching or not. Oddly enough, television doesn't often hold my interest. I find myself turning it on as background noise so I can safely get lost in the warm glow of my computer. (However, unlike my husband, I don't credit my parents with my predilections.)

The truth is, neither of us is good at pulling away from any form of media once our interest is caught.

... But we're working on it, I promise.


Firestarter5 said...

I was a TV junkie for years. Then I discovered computers and the internet. Things have never been the same.

I still watch some TV, but very little. Unless it's LOST or 24 or House, chances are it won't hold my attention for long.

The internet however. Addiction may be to subtle a word.

Andrea said...

I had a TV fall on me as a kid. I was watching the Smurfs on Saturday morning and my parents were still in bed at 6 a.m., how dare they! I turned the volume up a smidge (pre-remote control and I just dated myself) and the TV pushed back an inch or so. So I pulled it forward to put it back where it was, but I pulled too hard and it fell on me. Luckily this was in the early 80s, when TV's weren't the mammoth sizes they are now so it was only something like a 26 inch TV, and much lighter without all the gadgets they have now. My sister, who had been in the kitchen getting a bowl of cereal, woke up my parents who came to my rescue. It's something we laugh about now because a.) I wasn't seriously hurt, just scared and b.) when they came out to get the TV off me, all they could see were my hands, legs, and ponytail sticking out from under it and my hands were squirming. C.) I described to them how Gargamel and Azreal were after the Smurfs at the time when the TV was pressed to my face and I could still see them and even kind of relaxed and started watching again. It's atrocious, I know, but I doubt we'd be laughing if the ending wasn't so harmless. Needless to say, our TVs are secured. I'm obsessive about it. Plus, with remotes, there's no reason for anyone to be that close to the TVs.

I've also been concerned with the amount of TV time I give Gabe. I've made a concerted effort to interest him in books and puzzles and playing on the floor while the TV is on in the background. I grew up without time restrictions and I'm not so much a slave to the shows as I could be, though TiVo is trying to change that. If the TV is on, I try to keep it on Nick at Night, so at least he's not seeing most of the crap on the tube these days.

Andrea said...

The TV falling on me kind of explains a lot.

Mom101 said...

The Kaiser Family Foundation has Nate pegged. People ask me how I'm able to get so much done - I say I gave up tv. (Then again, it's rerun season.)

toyfoto said...

Ok Andrea: C. will make me laugh all week. ... Thanks for sharing.