February 27th, 2007
Media Choices

According to recent research, Americans spend an average of ten more minutes a week watching TV than they did five years ago. They spend forty minutes more a day than they did a decade ago.

On the flip side of the media coin, books sales have been steadily declining. Logic says that perhaps TV is replacing books as a favored form of entertainment. Scratch that, I’m sure TV has already replaced books as such.

The truth is that there are many competitors for the attention of our eyeballs. Not only are there TV and books, there are movies, the Internet and computer/video games too.

I admit I’m a big Internet junkie. I’m on the ‘Net a lot. Movies are another downfall of mine. I love to watch movies both in the theatre and at home. Computer/video games hold little interest for me.

And TV? We actually don’t have TV. Well, we have a TV, but it only gets one channel and we only watch one show. That would be Survivor. Yes, yes, I know. It’s one of my guiltiest pleasures. Otherwise, we don’t watch TV mostly because of the commercials. Commercials just freak me out, man. Most of them treat the viewers as if they have the intelligence of a three-year-old and others are just flat out frightening. Dancing bears and toilet paper, anyone? Mucus throwing parties in your sinus cavities? Shudder

We do Netflix some shows, however. Right now our favorites are Battlestar Galactica, Deadwood, & Prison Break. We just started watching season one of Desperate Housewives too (blessedly without commercials). We’ll see if that show makes the cut. I absolutely loved Dead Like Me, Angel, Buffy and Firefly when they were on. (Bring back Dead Like Me and Firefly, you TV producers! They never got a fair shot!)

However books will always remain my favorite form of entertainment, and the reason reaches further than the fact I write them. Why? Well, read my last blog and you’ll understand.

When I watch movies or TV, everything is handed to me on a silver platter. They allow me no opportunity to create a world in my mind and fill it with my own sights, sounds, smells and tastes. TV and movies offer me no way to use my imagination. They don’t transport me the way a good book does. They usually don’t immerse me so deeply that I can’t hit the stop button and I end up watching all night, regardless of the fact I’ll be exhausted the next day. I can always flip off a TV show or a movie and not regret it. I can’t always close a book and not regret it. I never finish a movie and then instantly say, “I want to watch it again!”, the way I’ve closed some books, turned wistful for a moment, and then flipped to the first page again.

Movies and TV are wonderful and entertaining forms of media, but I guess overall I prefer the imagination expansion that reading allows me.


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