Friday, April 26, 2002

Kill Your Television V
Andy Dehnart loves television. He also loves grassroots movements. But he does not like TV Turnoff Week. In his thoughtful essay about the "stupidity" of TV Turnoff Week, Andy brings up several solid points -- turning your TV off does not a revolution make, TV is not the cause of our societal problems, and TV actually has some value. So instead of turning off his television, Andy is documenting every single TV show he watches this week.

While I agree with many of Andy concerns with TV Turnoff Week, I'm curious how he feels about other mini-movements such as Earth Day, Bike to Work Week, Buy Nothing Day, and so on. Most of these days and weeks are designed and promoted to do just as Adbusters intends with TV Turnoff Week -- to remind people to be mindful of how they live, to open up some space and time for various activities (even if that's limited to introspection and reflection, the "thinking" that Andy mentions), and to bring public attention to the related issues.

You know how it goes: Every day is Earth Day. That's the point. People should bike to work every day, not just during Bike to Work Week. People should work for companies that encourage and support the presence of children, not just drag their female children to the office on Bring Your Daughters to Work Day. (On the flip side, corporations should design family-friendly work environments.) And people should consider their passive and unproductive television programming consumption all the time. Yes, TV has value. But only if you use it as a tool -- not as a palliative for an unrewarding life. And I think TV itself is more of a palliative and Band-Aid fix than TV Turnoff Week is.

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