Sunday, October 14, 2007

On Television

We have a single television at home, and it's not even PIP (picture in picture). It's deliberate. I know all the design rules which say you shouldn't put one in the living room. Well, I don't have a den or a dedicated media room. So into there's very little choice.

I made my mind up about this when I was a teenager. And to think that at the time, we only had 5 channels! We had a television set in every bedroom and hardly saw each other except during meals and on the drive to school. It was kind of frustrating having 5 siblings and no one to talk to. I swore to myself that if I ever had a family, we'd live in a small house with just one TV! All the better to bump into each other all the time.

Then cable came along. With just the cost of a subscription, there was a myriad of channels, commercial-free, available 24 hours a day. It was chaotic for awhile. I used to watch HBO late into the night. I had missed a whole era of cinema and music starting with the birth of my first born until the youngest started going to school. And although it's a whole new programming out there and everybody's older, Nickelodeon is still our default channel.

It's a daily practice in democracy. And censorship. We vote and decide what we watch. It doesn't matter who gets the remote first. Sometimes, we consult with just to agree ahead of time.

We learn a whole lot more from watching a gamut of shows. The whole family knows what's going on in local showbiz (my fault!). I watch MTV and the UAAP games with the kids. They know Wolfgang Puck and I've told them who Hannah Montana's dad is.

Although this arrangement works for us, we altogether spend a whole lot of time in front of the boob tube because of it. Studies have blamed television watching to aggressive behavior, autism and obesity, among others. Frankly, I hope this isn't true:

Interestingly, the studies found that it doesn't matter what people watch, whether it's "The Simpsons" or "McNeil/Lehrer," or "Murphy Brown" or "Nightline": the more television you watch, the less literate, the more stupid you are. Source.

As to subliminal messages from television, there's enough theory for a two-hour Discovery Channel special. In the meantime, I'm keeping my fingers crossed and picking up a book.


  1. I love watching television and I don't think I became more stupid than I already am because of it. In fact, I've learned so many things from watching tv shows that I wouldn't have learned from books. But then again the time I've spent watching those tv shows could have been spent doing something to save the world or studying rocket science.

  2. Uhmmm... were you just on the defensive? Bato-bato sa langit...:) Think about it, we could've changed the world all that time diba?