The last time I lived in a place with a TV and cable was last June, when I lived for a few weeks with my parents before moving to Israel. The time before that was . . . let’s see now . . . 1998. It’s not that I have any particular religious objection to television. It’s just that I think it’s a waste of time. And besides, it’s mesmerizing. If I had one, I would watch it all the time, and never get any work done. It’s bad enough, how much Solitaire I play, but if I had cable, I for sure would never do anything interesting or productive (such as this blog).
Tonight I went to babysit for some friends, and was so excited to find that they have TV! Because sometimes, you know, a girl wants to be mesmerized.
So I watched TV for about 3 hours. Of that time, 30 minutes was spent watching a rerun of Friends, which was funny. And I caught the last five minutes of an intimate interview with a career General in the Israeli army, about how he balances his work with his family life, which was engaging in its own way because the interviewee was thoughtful and intelligent. Other than that, I was appalled to find that out of all those cable channels, none were offering anything that was entertaining or informative in any way. It was all drivel. Overwrought detective stories; fashion shows; drama programs in Arabic, French, Russian, and I think Spanish and German; tonight’s winning lottery numbers; a Hebrew version of Who Wants to be a Millionnaire; soccer and basketball games; an old episode of “Behind the Music” about Britney Spears; and an interview – I am not kidding – with Heidi Fleiss. I sat there flipping through 30 or 40 channels, feeling my brains turn to baby food.
If this is what people are watching for hours every day, no wonder the world is falling apart. We’re becoming stupider, and we like it.