Tuesday, September 21, 2004

(T)hought (V)ampire

That's the euphemism a Usenet personality used to deploy when referring to television. While I'm not that bad, I do admit to being tired of having this glowing box on at all times, each and every day. We're genuinely trying to have less TV on in our home these days, although we won't go "whole hog" and ditch the thing entirely. For one thing, the new Star Wars DVD set would be useless without the teevee.

What bugs me more about TVs is that they're everywhere nowadays; it seems that nearly every place of business has to have one, and the eyes just naturally gravitate toward it, no matter what. The damn thing is freaking seductive, and there have been more times than I care to admit when I've been sitting in a waiting room of some office or business somewhere with a book in one hand that I'm really enjoying and a TV on the wall showing some show that I don't like, and damned if I don't find myself staring slack-jawed at the damn "glass teat", as Stephen King likes to call it.

In a truly disturbing development at The Store, a TV has been installed in our cafe section. This is my favorite part of the store, a place with tables where one can eat whatever one gets from the pizza bar or the salad bar or the sub shop or whatever and "people watch". I eat my lunch there just about every day. But now there's a TV hanging from the ceiling, and it's tuned to the normal crap: news (FOX, which adds insult to injury), morning talk shows, and so on. I don't know what's worse: that Tony Danza has a daytime talk show, or that we actually had it on in The Store yesterday morning. (Presumably, he would have been on this morning too, had not ABC News intervened by televising the President of the United States addressing the UN. Talk about the blind leading the blind...but I digress.)

And then there's the computer, which is in its own way a "glass teat": I now do all my writing on the computer, including my stories and my novel and my reviews and my blog posts. Writing stuff and reading stuff on the computer, shows and movies on the teevee -- life seems, at times, to be a variant of "Musical Chairs", centered on a different glowing box. Maybe this is why I hope and pray that the compact disc doesn't die a horrible death of obselescence as we charge full-bore into getting all of our entertainment over our phone lines or broadband connections: because I'd like it if at least one essential facet of my life, my music, wasn't dependent upon a glowing box for its existence.

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