Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009

Do Without

On the afternoon of the 2008 Olympic opening ceremonies, our television died.  It died of old age.  It was 15 years old and had gone through three moves.  The tuner has been fried for 10 years (somebody spilled a liquid that dripped into the back).

We decided we would save up for a new television.  Not another 27 inch heavyweight hulk, but a really BIG flat-panel High Def Wonder.  We figured we could get one by Christmas.

We went to a nephew's wedding in North Carolina in September, the car needed major front-end work in November, and we have a hefty tax payment coming up.  The High Def Wonder got put on the back burner.

And then, about a month ago, I began to think the unthinkable -- Since we've gone six months without a television, maybe we don't need one.  I tried to think about anything that I felt I missed out on in those six months and realized that even if there was something I might have wanted to watch, I didn't miss it.  There are many better ways to keep up on current events than watching television.  And a lot of my interests are the kinds of things that get ignored by television.

What finally pushed me over the edge was "Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without," a blog post by Russell Arben Fox.  He writes,

You want to be environmentally conscious and help conserve what resources we have left? Well, then quit buying all that expensive crap that gets shoveled out at us by the Powers That Be, crap that’ll have to thrown away as soon as you’re lured in by the next model car/range oven/purse/sneakers/lifestyle renovation/electronic gizmo. Resist change, cut back, slow down! Wear that sports jacket for another year! Exercise at home! Garden and eat your own food! Not everyone can do all of this; indeed, given how pervasively the habits of acquisition, competition, and consumption are threaded through most of our daily routines, most of us can’t do most of it. But here and there, we can and should make a stand, however wired our professions or home lives may be.

Our television seems a good place to take a stand.  Media is the engine of consumerism in our society.  The television culture turns everything and everybody into a commodity (but that's another post).

"We will do without a television."  There, I said it.  Let's see how it goes.

Unresolved Issues:
Colin Firth - Kathy really enjoys the five hour BBC Pride and Prejudice that features Colin Firth as the best D'arcy of all time.  Is there some way we can still have Colin Firth in our lives?

DVDs and Videotapes - we have a lot of them.  Do we invite ourselves over to the neighbor's house to watch our classic Fred Astaire movies?

Still working it out,