TV Turn-Off Week

The idea is simple: take your TV, your DVD player, your video iPod, your XBOX 360, your laptop, your PSP, and say goodbye to them all for seven days. Simple, but not at all easy. Like millions of others before you, you’ll be shocked at just how difficult – yet also how life-changing – a week spent unplugged can really be.

But there’s a lot more to TV Turnoff Week than shaking up your relationship with passive entertainment. It’s all about saying no to being bombarded with unwelcome and unhealthy commercial messages. It's about saying no to unfettered corporate media concentration and to the democratic deficit that results. And it's about challenging the heavily distorted reflection of the world that we see on the screen, a reflection that is keeping us ill-informed and unaware of the very real political and environmental crises that we all currently face.

According to Adbusters.org, the average person in the US watches 4 hours and 35 minutes of television per day, and the average US household has a television on in the house for 8 hours per day [Nielson, 2006]. I know for a fact that our TV isn't on 8 hours, or that we watch 4.5 hours of TV a day, but we probably watch an average of an hour of Star Trek or Firefly on DVD per day. Or, Josh will, and I'll be up working in the kitchen or and the computer, and will sit down and watch with him for a half-hour or so. The aforementioned headband got done during a couple episodes of Firefly.

So, end of story, I don't have a TV-watching problem (I've actually threatened to put the TV in a closet, but I doubt we have the closet space), but I know we all can improve somehow, so this week, my very little TV-watching, I'll try to cut to zero. I'll read instead. Or go on a walk. Or cook. Or blog... beware! I might even try to turn off the breakroom TV a couple times at work and see what happens... unless there's another Twilight Zone marathon on the Sci-Fi channel. Then it stays on. Perhaps I should get one of these.

Could YOU give up TV for a whole week, cold turkey? What would be hard about it? Anyone wanna join me?


beth said...

First of all, HA to the universal remote keychain. That would have been awesome to have in high school when watching those oh-so-exciting educational films.

And second, I could most likely give up my episode of M*A*S*H per day, but I'm not sure Olivia would be willing to part with Bob and Larry... :-P Maybe if I took her outside before she woke up from her nap and she woke up with a puppy AND a kitty AND a cookie... :-D

Aluicious Crumley said...

I don't think we'll find this too difficult- every day is no TV day here.

Joanna said...

mrs.crumley - I knew you'd say something like that.

Beth- It's never too early to teach your children the evils of television!


Alisse Goldsmith said...

or you could just live in ireland for four months... and then its almost like every week is unplugged :) but seriously, i have definitely spent more time developing relationships in person rather than through email, and i read more newspapers :)

Kristen said...

I'll give up TV with you. I'm not sure it'll mean much, since I generally don't have time, with ISD. But any free time I happen to find, I won't spend in front of the TV.

Joanna said...

Yeah... with ISD, It should be TV Turnoff Semester :) When Josh read this post, he laughed- he said "You? Give up TV for a week? This will be like a normal week for you!" so... I suppose I'm going to have a "normal week", and am challenging everyone else to consider their TV watching

Ashley said...

I generally turn my TV off during the summers, when all the shows are repeats. However, if I turned off my TV this week then I would illegally download the episode I missed of my favorite TV show (since all the episodes build off one another, I would have to watch it before next week's show). And that wouldn't be good. I think I could turn it off except for that.

Paul and I always enjoy a good episode of Futurama or Perry Mason on DVD. There are also 3 or 4 shows during the week that we like to watch, but I don't generally worry about missing one unless it's critical to understanding the next episode. (See! I'm not as addicted as the last paragraph made sound.)

Matt said...

Most days are no-TV days for me at home... except for a few minutes of Bob the Builder or Curious George in the morning before work. And The Office on Thursdays.

Yesterday we watched the entire PBS Sunday morning lineup (Design Squad, Bob the Builder, Thomas the Tank Engine, George Shrinks, Zoboomafoo, Sagwa) because Eli and I were both sick and missed church.

I'm subjected to an hour of TV during my lunch break at work, which I could do without. I generally try to find something else more engaging to do while it's on. Like playing a board game or card game with co-workers.

But you already knew that.


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