We’ve Turned off The Tube

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Thanks for the image Boothe!

The endless assault of crap – and commercials – finally pushed us to do the unthinkable: We cancelled cable. We now have no TV – other than when the DVD player is running.

In our case, this saved $50 a month – $600 a year.

Think about that a little. We did. After five years, we will have saved $3,500. Money that would have been spent on paying to see and hear ads at least 30-40 percent of the time – and crap almost 90 percent of whatever time’s not devoted to the deluge of peddling that is TeeVee.

I’d put up with $50 a month if we got commercial-free TeeVee. But I’ll be damned if I pay $50 a month to get what ought to be free (the commercials).

Before cable, you put up with the commercials because that’s how the networks made money – and made TeeVee programming possible. You got the content – the shows – for free. Well, at the cost of having to watch (or mute through) the commercials. Is it not incredible that they – “they” being the cable and satellite shysters – have convinced most people to pay for what they used to receive for free?

We also grew to resent the way cable/satellite TV “packages” their offerings – forcing people like us who don’t give a fig about fuuhhhhhhhtttttball to subsidize literally a dozen-plus versions of ESPN instead of letting us pick and choose only the channels we want. There is no technical reason why this cannot be offered. You can, for example, buy channels like HBO and Showtime a la carte. Why not also the Science and History channels? Why do I have to help fund fuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhtball? Not everyone in this country is a jock sniffer.

So, sayonara. We’re Netflix (and Hulu) people now.

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21 COMMENTS

  1. I almost want to believe in the Jungian mass-consciousness…or my version, that our brains are subtly linked in some weird quantum way.

    Because we just gave up cable and then satellite two years ago.

    It’s as though all of “us”–the awakened–are cleansing ourselves, preparing for the coming trials.

    There are a very few things I still want to watch; The Walking Dead, because I’m a sucker for zombie movies. Futurama because it’s fun, and not saturated with NWO memes.

    I refuse, in fact I revile, shows like Modern Family, Homeland, etc. They are so plainly propaganda.

    It started with Archie Bunker; “look everyone at the ridiculous white male conservative! See what a buffoon he is!” And ever since then, the male character is inevitably the comic foil, the boob, the idiot, the incompetent. The women hold it together; the hapless men are overgrown children.

    Fuck that. I won’t invite that poison into my house.

    My goal is to reclaim the dignity, the true manliness, of the people who actually BUILT this country 250 years ago. The sheer genius of Renaissance men like Jefferson–we’re shadows of such men, but we can become that again.

    • “My goal is to reclaim the dignity, the true manliness, of the people who actually BUILT this country 250 years ago. The sheer genius of Renaissance men like Jefferson–we’re shadows of such men, but we can become that again.”

      I have that dream also.

      We’re lucky enough to live a short motorcycle ride (about an hour; almost all of it on the Blue Ridge Parkway) from Jefferson’s lesser-known country abode, Poplar Forest. I visit once a year – in the same way (and for the same reasons) that Elvis fans go to Graceland.

      Poplar Forest is owned by a private conservancy and rarely crowded (as Monticello usually is) and much more intimate. Because there aren’t people everywhere (most of them Clovers who would have Jefferson in chains if he were alive today) you are more able to tune into the spirit of the 18th century and of Jefferson himself.

      If you’re ever in the Lynchburg area, you ought to take a few hours to visit.

      http://www.poplarforest.org/

  2. Switched to over-the-air only 5 years ago.

    Tivo makes it bearable – never watch commercials again.

    And Amazon video lets me purchase most cable shows commercial-free and have them automatically pushed down to my Tivo (e.g. The Walking Dead).

    A used TivoHD with lifetime service is as low as $250 off ebay…

  3. Congrats eric,
    I didn’t blast the tv but 3 years ago I had it while my wife and i were watching “Fringe” on friday night, it was a bad week and they repeated the same commercial 3 times in a row. I quietly went down to the garage, grabbed the hedge clippers, cut the cable line behind the tv and grabbed a book and a beer and sat down with a smile.
    wife was pissed, went upstairs to watch the end of the show, ended up having to replace the cable and we still “subscribe” for now. I am tortured with it, so I torture her with my incessant complaining. Eventually I will win.
    netflix is definately worth the $8/month in my opinion.

  4. We gave up cable, then satellite, years ago. The money saved has been enormous and, quite frankly, being freed of the constant commercial barrage on my senses has been a relief. When, after a few years, I’d gone on a business trip, I turned on the idiot-box in the hotel, the quick-cutting visual and auditory “assault” was mind-numbing! Simply turning the volume and seeing it dead silent was a revelation in itself. Last year I tried out NetFlix but after three months I gave it up as well. It became another narcotic once the initial thrill was over. A time-sponge that my kids used as another excuse to not do anything. So I cut it off as well. The TV is now back to its role as video playback device. I tell the kids that if they really want something like satellite TV or a cell phone they’ll have to come up with the cash on their own and then see just how much it really costs.

  5. Bravo for you Eric! We gave up TV years ago (when we were still homeschooling). We concluded the mass media were dumping mental and spiritual garbage right into our house…with our blessing no less! We also concluded that if it wasn’t good for our children, it wasn’t good for us either. That was just what came in over the airwaves; I never even dreamed of paying for cable or satellite. Like you Eric, we have a DVD player and we watch movies when we want to. But overall the “boob tube”, or “idiot box” if you prefer, stays off. There was a reason why my grandparents used those names to berate TV (even back in the days of Andy Griffith and Lawrence Welk).

    I still remember my grandfather sitting with his back to the infernal device and his good ear turned away from it too. He would read trade magazines to keep abreast of the latest automotive developments (he owned a repair shop) and read the Bible. He never proselytized and really didn’t have much to say unless you asked him something (he told me we have two ears and only one mouth for a reason). Now, years after he has shed the mortal coil, we’ve discovered he was an introspective and philosophical thinker and he wrote down some of what he believed. He was a deep thinker; not a TV junkie.

    When ours minds are continually assaulted with electronic mass-mind noise and mental pabulum, it’s hard to hear the quiet inner voice that leads to deep insight like that. I am convinced that constant blaring mental noise through all forms of mass media is the key tool of the PTB to hold the masses enthralled. The former control tool of the elite, “the church”, can’t hold a candle to the “boob tube” for creating diversion and maintaining fear amongst Boobus Americanus.

    I am very thankful that my parents and grandparents limited my exposure to the “idiot box.” They made me go outside to play, ride my bike, explore the countryside and be creative. They encouraged me to ask questions, and then made me go look things up for myself. One develops critical thinking skills that way. I am convinced that TV goes hand in glove with publik skules for successfully conditioning a good portion of the populace into good little reactive (i.e. flat worm like) consumer-citizen-worker drones. The best thing each of us can do for our brain is to strictly limit our exposure to this execrable mind control device. And we especially need to cut off any outside feed to the “boob tube” that we can’t exercise total control over and leave it off.

    • No different than TeeVee is the Internet with millions of “channels” or the ubiquitous smartphones with people, head down, pecking away oblivious to everyone around them or babbling inanely like junkies itching for their next fix.

      • I’m from the text era of the internet. However even the video era of the internet is far different than the television. The television is programming. It is gate keeping. The internet has no such control and that’s why we are told to fear it.

        I cannot imagine having to send away for books and travel to far away libraries for all things I can get access to online. The fact most people use the internet to share cat pictures is a shame. It’s a direct information bypass route for as long as control can be fought off.

        Get rid of the control and TV could be good too. It’s just a tool. There is no reason that TV couldn’t be used to present a four hour meaningful program on history, science, etc.

        • “here is no reason that TV couldn’t be used to present a four hour meaningful program on history, science, etc.”

          There are some good programs of this type – problem is, they’re suffused with (and constantly interrupted by) aggressive, annoying and repetitive commercials.

          I fart in their direction…

        • My pre-internet days came from setting up a MajorBBS system in my house! I don’t have any other experience as far as a text only type of Compuserve service.

          You’re absolutely correct as far as the internet is concerned. I can’t imagine life without the freedom to express ones opinion, like here, now that we have it. Dancing babies, singing chipmunks, and cat pictures are no threat.

          What I absolute “despise” is paying for satellite television and being bombarded with commercials that, when you stop and think about it, you’ve “paid” to suffer through! That’s sick! So not only do the providers milk you for subscriptions they’re likewise getting paid money by advertisers to peddle to their captive audience.

          Same goes for TV “packages” where you’re obviously paying for dirtbag channels that you have no interest in subsidizing. Ex: MTV pimping gang-banging bastards and their cribs, and likewise worthless “entertainment”, when all you want is the ghost of what it once was decades ago: music videos, dammit!

          The first satellite provider that delivers a-la-carte personalized programming with the option for commercial free could very well make a mint.

          • Per month for say the history channel you paid a few cents. That’s why there are commercials.

            The channels themselves don’t get much from your subscription. The cable companies do.

            A condo building can get a bulk deal from a cable tv or satellite service and they charge per unit per channel. So it would be like 35 cents per unit for the history channel or something. So how much is the cable channel actually getting from a person? That’s why they have commercials.

            A-la-carte will never happen in the regulated environment unless the political process says it has to. Most everyone only watches a few channels and the companies know it. The only way to get a-la-carte is to get a bulk deal. Then you pick the stations everyone in the bulk deal gets. So it’s 40 cents for discovery channel, 38 cents for USA, etc and so on… (numbers are made up loosely based on my memory from years ago, I have no clue what the prices are now)

    • Amen, Boothe!

      I kept it around for too long – only because I sometimes enjoyed the Science, Military and History channels. But then, you can get most of the programs aired on these channels via Netflix – and sans the commercial onslaught.

      I’ve always much preferred a good book and a cat on my lap anyhow.

  6. I unplugged my TV in 1972 and never turned back. Today I find TV programing, especially commercials, to be insulting. I will not eat in a restaurant or bar where a TV is playing. Instead of sitting mindlessly in front of a TV more people should try thinking, just for a change of pace. A healthy brain needs exercise and a TV doesn’t provide it.

  7. It’s when you start to hit the mute button that you realize how much of your time is pissed away on commercials. Hit mute and you just sit there in silence like a chump. I’d love to see the direct TV in our house go to hell but the sports fans gotta have it. I’m fine with just the Roku box.

  8. I know they charge $5-$10 more a month for a DVR box, but with it I don’t watch commercials unless I want to. My DirecTV DVR even backs up a bit after fast forwarding through the commercials.

    • The tsunami of commercials – especially the ones that repeat in a single cycle of commercials – pushed us over the edge. No more “ask your doctor about loquacia” (or whatever the hell it is). No more having to see that Progressive woman – the very sight of which made me want to blast the TV with my .45!

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