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?