Turn Off Your TV and Turn on Life
I haven’t had a television since I left the U.S. in late 2015. And I don’t miss it. I realize that isn’t a very long time, but I think the lifestyle change I’ve been wanting to make for a long time has finally taken root.
TV is an outdated medium that homogenizes people and uses mass manipulation techniques to turn people into consumers.
Beyond that, after having spent over a decade of my life working in the news business and another half decade (beyond K-12 mandatory indoctrination) getting the prerequisite rubber stamp to join the ranks of the media, I slowly came to realize the energy I wanted to spend doing good for the world was being instead being used to satisfy corporate agendas.
I was making a decent living, but in reality I watched a business transforming into a parody of the prophetic 1976 film Network. At the time I didn’t know it, but the great beast was dying. Before the rise of the Internet in the 1990s and its eventual supplantation of the mainstream media as the go-to source for information in the early 2000s, the only truth most people knew was what they got over the tube, to paraphrase Howard Beale. As we all know, the manipulation, half-truths, cover ups, and drive-bys that were the staple of that industry for decades have now been exposed.
Lucky for us, the Internet has been a Libertarian’s dream from its inception, with minimal governmental interference and a completely free exchange of ideas and, for the most part, truly free speech. The beauty of the Internet is information doesn’t have to pass through a gatekeeper at the network or your local news station. Although, the corporate-government complex is working to clamp down on the freedom we enjoy on the Internet, of that you can be sure.
Beyond the free exchange of information, and importantly for us minimalists, we don’t have to be subjected to the constant barrage of advertising designed to make us feel inadequate if we don’t have the latest car or the latest fashion. Love him or hate him, shock rocker Marilyn Manson made an astute point about the media that has always stayed with me. While I am by no means a fan of Michael Moore’s politics, he did present a very insightful interview with Manson following the media’s attempt to scapegoat him for the Columbine tragedy. The text of that interview follows, and it makes a very valid indictment of the media.
Here’s what Manson said after the media figuratively tried to burn him at the stake using baseless claims after the Columbine tragedy.
Marilyn Manson: The two by-products of that whole tragedy were, violence in entertainment, and gun control. And how perfect that that was the two things that we were going to talk about with the upcoming election. And also, then we forgot about Monica Lewinsky and we forgot about, uh, the President was shooting bombs overseas, yet I’m a bad guy because I, well I sing some rock-and-roll songs, and who’s a bigger influence, the President or Marilyn Manson? I’d like to think me, but I’m going to go with the President.
Michael Moore: Do you know that on the day of the Columbine massacre, the US dropped more bombs on Kosovo than any other day?
Marilyn Manson: I do know that, and I think that’s really ironic, that nobody said, “Well, maybe the President had an influence on this violent behavior.” Because that’s not the way the media wants to take it and spin it, and turn it into fear, because then you’re watching television, you’re watching the news, you’re being pumped full of fear, there’s floods, there’s AIDS, there’s murder, cut to commercial, buy the Acura, buy the Colgate, if you have bad breath they’re not going to talk to you, if you have pimples, the girl’s not going to fuck you, and it’s just this campaign of fear, and consumption, and that’s what I think it’s all based on, the whole idea of keep everyone afraid, and they’ll consume.
Based on that alone, there’s a great reason to turn off your television. It makes people pursue meaningless lives of consumerism and materialism.
Kicking the Habit
Even with the Internet bulldozing the Cathedral of lies the television news industry was built upon, the average person STILL watches 4-5 hours of television a day. That is an enormous investment of time. Just think of what else you could be doing with that 28-35 extra hours of time a week.
I gave up television and found I had all sorts of time to spend on things I always complained about not having the time for in the past. Like…
- Learning how to cook
- Spending time with family and friends
- Learning a second language
- Learning how to dance
- Creative writing
How much personal growth could you realize by ending your television programming?
In addition to the bullet points above, I found I had fewer impulses to buy things I didn’t need, upgrade technology that hasn’t lived out its useful life yet, buy new cars and trucks I didn’t need, and eat out all the time. (Recreational eating is a BIG problem in the U.S. I’ll be writing on this more in the future.)
I came to realize advertising was making me do all those things. How many bad life decisions is advertising driving you to make? How much control do they exert over your life via the consumer culture they’ve created?
Won’t you join me in cutting the cord? Life is better when you aren’t exposed to consumer and political propaganda all the time. Turn off TV fantasies and turn on real life experiences.
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