The IB And Me

The Hall of Fame Game, the inaugural contest in the 2005 NFL season, was last night. I didn't watch it. I don't have a televison. On purpose. August, 2004 represents the 3rd year in a row that I have lived free of an in-house idiot box. Not like I haven't seen any television in three years, but not at my house. There are some days when I miss it, like Sundays and Monday nights during the fall and winter or during the first two days of March Madness (or however long my team is playing), but for the most part, I'm cool without it. I wasn't born this way, though. I first started to become television independent one summer during junior high. I was watching TV while a brawny thunderstorm rumbled through, taking the power with it. When the lights came back on, the television didn't. My mom was like, "I told you to cut off that TV, didn't I?" So she decided not to buy one until the end of the summer. Fortunately, we had lots of books, magazines, and records. That was the summer that I first started learning how to draw. At that point, I knew I couldn't go back to endless hours of television viewing. Now, this is probably not for everybody. It certainly isn't for anybody who doesn't have access to information from some other source. Everybody needs to be able to be able to find out what's going on in the world. Just about a month after I had gone TV free, 9/11 happened. If my ex hadn't called me and told me, I would've gone all day, oblivious to the whole thing. I might have noticed that there weren't any planes flying, but it probably would have taken a couple days. Even after I got the call, I tried to log on to the New York Times, but of course they were getting so much traffic that my little dial-up couldn't get through, so I wound up having to walk to my grandmother's to see what was happening. Even aside from the informative purpose, I can respect that everybody doesn't share my preferences in entertainment. That's cool. That the average Black family watches 70 hours a week is not. What did Flav say? "Why'on'chu back up from the TV! Read a book or somethin'! Learn about your culture!" If there's one thing that could get me cussin (and there are a lot more than one, let me tell you), this is it. There's nothing wrong with watching some television, but keeping that joint on as a steady stream of smoke hazing up the room, that's bad news. What really gets me is the line people give me when I step to them about it: "There's educational stuff on TV." I have a stock answer too. "Yeah, but that ain't what you be watchin'." Anyway, I see this as an opportunity for bridge building between the right and the left, but more than likely it would only lead to more wall-building. Let some conservative make a big deal about cutting off the television, and all you would hear from liberals is complaining about people being holier-than-thou and trying to make moral judgements. Let some mainstream liberal groups (because there actually are some groups that advocate this, and I think they are left-leaning) come out with the exact same message and conservatives would counter with arguments about liberty and personal responsibility; eventually there would probably be an article describing the economic consequences of such foolishness. Meanwhile, my people are awash in mind-numbing, vapid representations of abnormal normality. I bet even the Jesses, as long as they don't know what the other has said, would agree on a 35-hour a week cap on television viewing. Just leave Madden out of this.