We have rabbit-ear TV, and now that Uncle Sam is about to cease shooting radio waves through the air, in addition to finally removing our tinfoil hat we look forward to enjoying as much of a vacation from the boob tube as we can stand.
We’re not going to miss broadcast. What are we losing besides Two and a Half Men and the yammering of local anchorpersons telling us our medicine cabinet/doormat/household pets may kill us? An electronic companion? They have robots now that vacuum your rug. We can talk back to that just as easily.
We have seen your cable and it does not impress us. For years we were told to get with the program, that it would open up a whole new world of provocative television art and nudity. And what do we see when we’re housesitting? For the most part, the worst of broadcast and more of it: reality television shows, political commentators, infomercials. The good shows we can get on DVD. And after the shock of tits on TV subsides (somewhere around 1990), the porn just isn’t that good. Such random pleasures as cable offers — like the surreal, narcissistic programming on public access — we can get on the internet, where our balky connection will make sure we aren’t wasting too much time. If we were surfing this stuff with a remote, we’d probably never get any work done…
We appreciate also being part of a select club. When Washington pushed back the due-date on digital TV, they got millions more people to get with cable, leaving less than three million of us off the bandwagon. What sort of people? Some are dead and undiscovered in their trailers; some are rendered incapable of simple tasks by mental illness; some are hopeless drunks or drug addicts; some are smile-and-a-shoeshine guys who expect one of their more-together friends to hook them up. Our kind of people, in other words; natural bohemians! That Nielsen reports our number also includes many black and Latino TV owners appeals to our multiculturalism. You stand with the plannish, anal-retentive people who pay their bills before their phone is cut off and buy in bulk at Costco, squares.
Occasionally we’ll probably turn on the old Toshiba and watch the static, for old times’ sake. But we’ve given regular TV access the best part of our lives — in fact, all of it. Now that the government has helpfully intervened to remove us from it, we’ll take the opportunity to look at life through fresh eyes — maybe even go outside and talk to people. We’re sure they’ll be happy to discuss the thing we just saw on YouTube. Image by R. Cobb.
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