Many of you know that BJ and I elected some years ago to turn off our cable television. We had satellite for about a year once when I got weak. It was during football season, okay? Give me a break—I “needed” to see my hogs! But then we just kept it for a while longer—or, until we moved. We had cable when we were with Mom and Dad, and we had it in the dorm at Ole Miss, but, as a rule, since around 2001(ish), we don’t have television piped into the house whether cable or satellite.
That’s not to say we don’t watch the idiot box—we do. We just choose and are more selective what we want to watch. We have a subscription to Netflix—which costs a little less than our cable and satellite monthly bills did—and we have a long list of movies and television shows that we choose to see. We’ve watched about 6 seasons of Smallville this way, as well as others. Simply, we don’t let the networks dictate what we watch.
A lot of people we talk to have a hard time comprehending the idea that we don’t have television. But generally, their reactions remind us that we made a good decision: television is such an overwhelming facet of American life; many don’t know what they’d do without it. And many spend far too much time in front of it.
Why did we turn the tv off? We found that there was so much trash on television and there were inappropriate advertisements during shows that were touted as either for kids or for families. I know that I’ve written before about all the beer ads during college football games (and then colleges complain that they have alcohol problems on campus—duh), but there are plenty of others—watch enough tv and you’ll see them. Back around that same time, Nickelodeon even embraced concepts we found diametrically opposite of what we were trying to teach our kids.
BJ and I found that we grew incredibly closer—heck, we weren’t spending all our free time in front of the television. We talked more, talked and played with the kids more, etc. It was a good move for our family.
Do we miss it?
Sure. Sometimes. It gets tough for me during college football season. Other than that, I would watch the History Channel or Discovery. The biggest thing we miss is the weather—I guess you could say we have been weather junkies at times. We even miss some of the news—but absolutely do not miss all the political hatred [actually, that was one of the biggest issues when we turned it off) But even now, we can get all that from the internet. And hopefully, within a few weeks (meaning, when I figure out how to do it), I’ll have my internet weather and news coming across my tv.
How’s that for progress?