FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Technological Addiction

by

Didn’t the ancient Greeks—Plato or Aristotle—recommend that all things be done in moderation? Leave it to those ancient Greeks to hit the nail on the head, because that advice (along with “Know thyself” and “Payback is a bitch”) comes very close to falling into the category educated people might call “wisdom.”

Not to be snotty, because it’s obvious that those ancient philosophers knew what they were talking about, but if Greece had followed its own advice, it wouldn’t have suffered that embarrassing financial meltdown traceable to “immoderate”—indeed, insatiable—greed, and wouldn’t be facing the dreadful austerity measures it now faces. But I digress.

Because the dictum, “moderation in all things,” makes eminent sense, it raises an entertainment question: How much television is “too much? Is that even a fair question, or is it too subjective to be meaningful? Because if we believe there is such a thing as “too much” TV, by whose standard do we make that determination? Do we ask a psychiatrist? A professor? A CEO? Do we ask the Greeks? As far as I know, there is no mention of television in the Bible.

Consider: If we take the view that we can, in fact, watch “too much” TV, then what’s our cut-off point going to be? Forty hours a week? Fifty hours? Fifty hours sounds excessive, but believe me, it can be easily done, even in Athens. Conversely, if we insist that “too much” TV is simply a construct invented by snobby people, does that give us permission to watch as much as we like? Can we watch 90 hours a week without guilt?

Of course, this problem derives not from some character flaw, but from technology. This is totally a technological dilemma. It wasn’t that long ago when there were only three major networks (ABC, NBC, CBS), along with a sprinkling of local stations. Moreover, with VCRs not yet invented, there was no way to record a show for later viewing. We either saw it live, waited until summer to see it in re-runs, or we missed it (and were forced to do something other than watch television).

But today, with cable TV, the networks not only number in the hundreds, but we can record shows for later viewing. We not only get to see any show we like, we can plan our day or week (or life) around them. We can rent movies, have movies mailed to our home, and stream movies. Not only movies, but TV shows, and not only relatively recent TV shows, but vintage TV shows. For crying out loud, we can go on YouTube and watch shows from the 1950s and 1960s.

The problem with television is that there is too much of it. Too much great stuff, too much good stuff, too much crap, too much in-between. And because all the new stuff is gushed over by the critics, it naturally makes me want to see it. I want to see everything. There was a time when the notion of “binge-watching” would have disgusted me. Today it comes dangerously close to defining me.

David Macaray is a labor columnist and author (“It’s Never Been Easy:  Essays on Modern Labor, 2nd Edition). dmacaray@earthlink.net

David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is How To Win Friends and Avoid Sacred Cows.  He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

May 22, 2017
Diana Johnstone
All Power to the Banks! The Winners-Take-All Regime of Emmanuel Macron
Robert Fisk
Hypocrisy and Condescension: Trump’s Speech to the Middle East
John Grant
Jeff Sessions, Jesus Christ and the Return of Reefer Madness
Nozomi Hayase
Trump and the Resurgence of Colonial Racism
Rev. William Alberts
The Normalizing of Authoritarianism in America
Frank Stricker
Getting Full Employment: the Fake Way and the Right Way 
Jamie Davidson
Red Terror: Anti-Corbynism and Double Standards
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, Sweden, and Continuing Battles
Robert Jensen
Beyond Liberal Pieties: the Radical Challenge for Journalism
Patrick Cockburn
Trump’s Extravagant Saudi Trip Distracts from His Crisis at Home
Angie Beeman
Gig Economy or Odd Jobs: What May Seem Trendy to Privileged City Dwellers and Suburbanites is as Old as Poverty
Colin Todhunter
The Public Or The Agrochemical Industry: Who Does The European Chemicals Agency Serve?
Jerrod A. Laber
Somalia’s Worsening Drought: Blowback From US Policy
Michael J. Sainato
Police Claimed Black Man Who Died in Custody Was Faking It
Clancy Sigal
I’m a Trump Guy, So What?
Gerry Condon
In Defense of Tulsi Gabbard
Weekend Edition
May 19, 2017
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Getting Assange: the Untold Story
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Secret Sharer
Charles Pierson
Trump’s First Hundred Days of War Crimes
Paul Street
How Russia Became “Our Adversary” Again
Andrew Levine
Legitimation Crises
Mike Whitney
Seth Rich, Craig Murray and the Sinister Stewards of the National Security State 
Robert Hunziker
Early-Stage Antarctica Death Rattle Sparks NY Times Journalists Trip
Ken Levy
Why – How – Do They Still Love Trump?
Bruce E. Levine
“Hegemony How-To”: Rethinking Activism and Embracing Power
Robert Fisk
The Real Aim of Trump’s Trip to Saudi Arabia
Christiane Saliba
Slavery Now: Migrant Labor in the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia
Chris Gilbert
The Chávez Hypothesis: Vicissitudes of a Strategic Project
Howard Lisnoff
Pay No Attention to That Man Behind the Curtain
Brian Cloughley
Propaganda Feeds Fear and Loathing
Stephen Cooper
Is Alabama Hiding Evidence It Tortured Two of Its Citizens?
Sheldon Richman
The Real Danger From Trump is Ignored
Jay Moore
Learning from History: Resistance in the 1850s and Today
Matthew Stevenson
Down and Out in London and Paris With Macron, May, Trump and Gatsby
David Jaffee
Rolling Back Democracy
Fred Gardner
Irrefutable Proof: Russian Election Meddling Documented!
Jess Guh
Neurology Study Reveals What We Already Know: People of Color Get Worse Healthcare
Joseph Natoli
A Culture of Narcissism, a Politics of Personality
David Rosen
Politics and the Agent of Social Change
Ian Almond
The Secret Joke of Our Democracy: Britain’s Elephant in the Boardroom
Andre Vltchek
Revolution Vs Passivity
Erik Rydberg
Stop the Jordan Cove LNG Project #NoLNG
Vijay Prashad
When Israeli Fighter Jets Almost Killed Nehru
Christopher Brauchli
The Certified Trump
Chuck Collins
Congress Wants to Cut Your Health Care — And Billionaires’ Taxes
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail