Tuesday, December 21, 2004

trying to go without TV

We have come so dependant on the idiot box that our whole lives revolve around it: our language, our culture, our schedule. And it annoys me too that us folks in fly over country have to watch TV on someone else's schedule: either the Northeast or California. It is funny how the blue states dictate when "primetime" is. TiVo was practically meant for that vast swath of land between the coasts.

I find that TV makes me more upset than happy most of the time. Although it occationally makes me laugh, and for that I am greatful. But there is so much watering down of people, issues, and events that drives me nuts. It is as if our television has to be like our beer.

When I was in Europe they too focused on the mundane, but also spend a sigiificant portion of time talking about what was happening in Africa or the Middle East and the US. And it didn't take a military invasion for these people to learn about other parts of the world. Part of it is that, even when they do the weather report, they are reminded how close they are to Africa and Turkey and Russia. Their geography forces them to be conscious of more of the world than nearby states or Canada, or Mexico. The closest we get to that is a discussion of "El Nino" and a blurb about a horriffic set of deaths in China or Japan or some place along the ring of fire. But then the subtext of newscasters is, "well there are plenty of them Asians anyway, no big loss." Of course, when 5 idiots living along the Missippi in Missouri die in a flood, it makes national headlines, as if their lives are more precious than those who died in a Tsunami.

As for other weather phenominom, we occationally have "the inversion" in Salt Lake during the winter. This is when High Pressure traps all our pollution in the Salt Lake Valley (I watch the weather on TV). As a result we realize what selfish pigs we are for having to drive ourselves everywhere instead of using public transit, walking, or living closer together. After all, the Los Angeles Valley is about the same size, but they have quite a few more people living there. Of course, more people don't think about this and just complain about it, as if they had no part in it. Personally, I like the wake up call that the inversion brings, but my Parents and my Aunt and Uncle like to brag about how they literally live above it.

See, my parents live in Emigration Canyon at about 5,500 feet. So every winter morning this time of year they get to drive into the gunk. My Aunt and Uncle experience the submergence much later in their commute because they live in Park City, which is higher up and further away.

So like I said, I am trying to go without TV today and as much as possible in the coming days. So far, I have vaccumed up the living room and kitchen, listened to David Sedaris on NPR.org archives and read some "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim" stories (as well as read online and talked to my grandmother. Give me strength.

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