The papers tell me that crime is down, in spite of the recession. I think crime is down BECAUSE of the recession. That, combined with the switch to digital tv.

Okay, dig it: We have a perfectly good analog tv. Can’t use it to get television stations. Had to get a converter box. Didn’t get the signals strongly enough. Had to get an indoor antennae that looked like the Starship Enterprise. Worked for a while, although we couldn’t get the channels we actually watched. Then, one day, we could no longer get ANY channels. Now we have a perfectly good analog video player.

Take all the people who, like us, have better things to do with their money than buy a roof antenna and have it installed on the chance that it will bring in the signal, take all the people who didn’t get an indoor antenna, all those who didn’t get the converter box and all the people who didn’t just go out and buy a digital tv, all the people who can’t afford satellite or cable or who, because of the recession, had to give up satellite and cable, and what do you have?

Fewer people watching television. Fewer people being fed a constant stream of violence and, what I think is worse, a constant stream of commercials saying or implying that they’re losers unless they have certain Stuff. You have people having to interact with other people, experiencing the humanity of other people, learning first-hand that people aren’t losers or winners based on Stuff–or even losers/winners, but people.

We have friends who, as a couple, chose not to have television while their kids were growing up. One of the kids once complained, “We’re Amish with electricity!” But the kids are very centered, very focused on finding who they are and what their paths are independently of fads and pop promotion. Coincidence? It might be. We had tv, although we limited time and programs, and our kids are also centered and focused.

So maybe my brilliant analysis is a lot of hooey. As one of our kids’ friends used to say, “Prolly so.”


writing prompt: Have a character who is addicted to tv or to one particular program have to miss it for a week or a month. Don’t let him/her learn how much better life is without it.