Re: Living Below Your Means (was: Re: The Pause that Refreshes)

Date: Sat Jun 17 2000 - 10:46:17 MDT

In a message dated 6/10/00 8:36:26 PM Central Daylight Time, writes:

> I know that has played a big part of it for me. When my kids were born, I
> knew I didn't want them raised in front of the TV like I was; so I
> the cable TV subscription. It has been about 4 years since we were able
> get network TV in my house and I have found that this has had substantial
> benefits:
> (Fortunately) the only channel that our set can clearly pick up is PBS.
> there is a channel that I *do* want my kids to watch its PBS. Not having
> been raised on typical Saturday morning TV, they don't miss it. In fact
> they actually *enjoy* watching PBS, but (naturally) not enough to veg out
> front of it all day. Not being subject to continual commercial ads, they
> don't fall for every toy, fad, whatever marketed to kids by TV advertisers.

I know that Bad TV can have a Bad Effect on kids, but I wonder about how this
works. I know I watched a lot of standard network TV when I was a kid (cable
didn't exist yet). I really don't think TV was any better then than now.
"Leave it to Beaver" and "Batman" and "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." certainly
weren't Masterpiece Theater. And Saturday morning cartoons were laced with
potent kid-oriented advertisements, to which I know I wasn't immune (I HAD to
have G.I. Joe and Mat Mason toys).

My mother, especially, did orient us to the GOOD TV that was available. I
well recall as some of my fondest childhood memories sitting with her and my
brother and my father watching each new Jaques Cousteau special as they were
aired (it helped that Rod Serling was the narrator - surely the coolest guy
on TV when I was a very young kid). Mom would translate the chatter of the
crew of the Calypso and blush when the producers didn't edit out some of the
kind of talk one naturally hears among deckhands because they figured
Americans wouldn't be able to understand the French.

Fond childhood memories aside, I naturally came to find television less
interesting than the stimulation I could find in books and people. No one
told me to do this explicitly, I'm sure. Why?
> This has ended up saving us tons of money. First the cable bill (~$40/mo.
> for programming that I hardly enjoyed anyway). I have also found that
> out of the loop in terms of current cultural trends has saved me bucks
> [snip]
> Suffice it to say that, even if they gave it away for free, I'd never get
> cable TV hooked back up. Plus, I spent the money I'd otherwise be
> on TV on a high-bandwidth net connection, which I also find more useful
> enjoyable than I ever found TV to be.

There is some price you pay for this choice. I don't think I lose much by
not watching network TV, but we watch a LOT of movies on cable. Although
there are a lot of truly terrible films made, there are also many, many very
worthwhile ones. Film has been the hallmark art form of our age to date. It
acts as a powerful lens through which some of the brightest minds of our time
have expressed themselves.

Oh - and fashion can be fun, too, you know. It's nice to get dressed up and
put on a show every once in a while. We are monkey-men, after all, and
display and pageantry are also important means of expression. Those great
Texas philosophers, ZZ Top, were on to something, I think.

       Greg Burch <>----<>
      Attorney ::: Vice President, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide -or-
                                           ICQ # 61112550
        "We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know
        enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another
       question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species."
                                          -- Desmond Morris

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