Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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03/08/2005: "Go directly to dead..."

There is a really depressing commercial I keep seeing for Direct TV. It starts with a little boy watching a black and white episode of I Love Lucy... he leaves the room and as he enters the next room (with another TV), he morphs about 10 years, and this keeps happening from room to room with progressively larger sets, until he hobbles into the last room, an old man, and sits down in his recliner in front of the last... colossal sized, life-altering color TV lit up like a shrine.

Sitting at his feet is a young boy, the same age as the boy in the start of the commercial, staring at the set with the same stupefied glazy eyed stare of the damned. Then the narrator says something to the effect that television is the most essential element in the cycle of life.

I think it strikes me as so terrifying because I personally watch an excessive amount of TV and this commercial is like watching someone's entire life waste away in front of a television within the space of a few seconds. What were the ad execs thinking with this thing? It doesn't make me want to run out and buy Direct TV, it makes me want to hurl my existing TV out the window and break out into the *real* world!!! (By the way, I once went out with a guy primarily because I liked his bumper sticker: "Kill Prime Time - Read a Book")

Oh wait, it's 11:00, I have to go...Jon Stewart is on! :blush:

Replies: 5 Comments

on Wednesday, March 9th, holly said

hee hee. My bicycle has that sitcker on it. People make fun of me because I only get PBS on my TV and sometimes I sit in a room with no sound at all and read books.

But Elise- you do other things with your life. I can't picture you not working on a painting and getting ready for a show just so you don't miss the thrilling conclusion of "The Swan" (which is evedently a legitimate excuse for not studying for an exam). I think this commercial you describe sounds a bit subversive- I like it!

on Wednesday, March 9th,">SB said

:( that's me!!! it is
not you, elise, wonderful artist and sailor and sharer of goodness with the world (this blog). TV is the most evil thing to ever blight our world..or i guess i should say, most dangerous!!! Kids need to be warned, reform movements are needed. For most people, making art, music, conversation, anything at all falls by the wayside when it is too easy to turn on the TV, then the computer. And time keeps on flying. thanks

on Wednesday, March 9th, Elise said

Holly, I think it's hilarious you have that bumper sticker!

You know, I used to not have a TV, then I had a TV but only PBS, then basic cable, then premiere cable, and recently I've considered moving to digital cable... it's such a slippery slope!

I never worry about missing a tv show primarily because I have TIVO and it records all the shows I like and I can watch them if and when I feel like it.

And generally I'm doing other things while I "watch" TV, like working online or painting (yes, I paint and watch TV at the same time!) I'm not proud of that...I wish I wasn't so adicted but I really am.

The power goes out here a lot because were on an isolated power grid and the station is on the other side of a major avalanche path from town. That's when I realize what a slave I've become, when the power goes out and I start to freak after about 20 minutes.

Anyway, thanks SB for the kind words. I agree with you about needing a reform movement. They've done studies showing that watching TV has a similar affect on your brain chemistry as taking drugs does.

Also, I wonder how prolific someone like Van Gogh would have been if he'd had TIVO!

on Wednesday, March 9th, holly said

I have had cable once in my adult life and I never watched it, so I cancelled it. But as a child, I was only allowed to watch about an hour of TV a day (and "cable TV" didn't exist back then, when giant lizards roamed the earth...). I think SB is onto something- the habit starts young, it needs to be nipped in the bud. Unfortunately, TV is a babysitter. And after a while, it becomes a necessary part of the daily ambience/soundscape. You're right- it is a slippery slope. As much of a techno-geek as I tend to be, I'm eternally grateful that I never got hooked on the tube. I'd never get anything done.

on Wednesday, March 9th, Elise said

My parents restricted my tv watching growing up as well, I think we got an hour or two during the week but certain programs like "Three's Company" was off limits.

I guess these days online gaming has overtaken tv as the biggest time suck for kids. I'm not sure that's any kind of improvement but I guess it at least requires some kind of active involvement.