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 “Nightshift: 270 Factory Stories.” He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

Weekend Edition
February 5-7, 2016
Jeffrey St. Clair
When Chivalry Fails: St. Bernard and the Machine
John Pilger
Freeing Julian Assange: the Final Chapter
Garry Leech
Terrifying Ted and His Ultra-Conservative Vision for America
Gary Leupp
Is a “Socialist” Really Unelectable? The Potential Significance of the Sanders Campaign
Andrew Levine
Smash Clintonism: Why Democrats, Not Republicans, are the Problem
William Blum
Is Bernie Sanders a “Socialist”?
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
We Can’t Afford These Billionaires
Jonathan Cook
The Liberal Hounding of Julian Assange: From Alex Gibney to The Guardian
George Wuerthner
How the Bundy Gang Won
Mike Whitney
Peace Talks “Paused” After Putin’s Triumph in Aleppo 
Ted Rall
Hillary Clinton: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Vijay Prashad
The Fault Line of Race in America
Eoin Higgins
Please Clap: the Jeb Bush Campaign Pre-Mortem
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Invisible Epidemic: Radiation and Rising Rates of Thyroid Cancer
Andre Vltchek
Europe is Built on Corpses and Plunder
Jack Smith
Obama Readies to Fight in Libya, Again
Robert Fantina
As Goes Iowa, So Goes the Nation?
Dean Baker
Market Turmoil, the Fed and the Presidential Election
John Wight
Who Was Cecil Rhodes?
David Macaray
Will There Ever Be Anyone Better Than Bernie Sanders?
Christopher Brauchli
Suffer Little Children: From Brazil to Flint
JP Sottile
Did Fox News Help the GOP Establishment Get Its Groove Back?
Binoy Kampmark
Legalizing Cruelties: the Australian High Court and Indefinite Offshore Detention
John Feffer
Wrestling With Iran
Rob Prince – Ibrahim Kazerooni
Syria Again
Louisa Willcox
Park Service Finally Stands Up for Grizzlies and Us
Farzana Versey
Of Beyoncé, Trudeau and Culture Predators
Pete Dolack
Fanaticism and Fantasy Drive Purported TPP ‘Benefits’
Murray Dobbin
Canada and the TPP
Steve Horn
Army of Lobbyists Push LNG Exports, Methane Hydrates, Coal in Senate Energy Bill
Colin Todhunter
“Lies, Lies and More Lies” – GMOs, Poisoned Agriculture and Toxic Rants
Franklin Lamb
ISIS Erasing Our Cultural Heritage in Syria
David Mihalyfy
#realacademicbios Deserve Real Reform
Graham Peebles
Unjust and Dysfunctional: Asylum in the UK
John Grant
Israel Moves to Check Its Artists
Yves Engler
On Unions and Class Struggle
Alfredo Lopez
The ‘Bern’ and the Internet
Missy Comley Beattie
Super Propaganda
Ed Rampell
Great Caesar’s Ghost!: A Specter Haunts Hollywood in the Coen’s Anti-Anti-Commie Goofball Comedy
Cesar Chelala
The Public Health Impact of Domestic Violence
Ron Jacobs
Cold Weather Comforts of a Certain Sort
Charles Komanoff
On the Passing of the Jefferson Airplane
Charles R. Larson
Can One Survive the Holocaust?
David Yearsley
Reading Room Blues
February 04, 2016
Scott McLarty
Political Revolution and the Third-Party Imperative
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail