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

May 03, 2016
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy Resumé: What the Record Shows
Michèle Brand – Arun Gupta
What is the “Nuit Debout”?
Chuck Churchill
The Failures of Capitalism, Donald Trump and Right Wing Terror
Dave Marsh
Bernie and the Greens
John Wight
Zionism Should be on Trial, Not Ken Livingstone
Rev. John Dear
A Dweller in Peace: the Life and Times of Daniel Berrigan
Patrick Cockburn
Saudi Arabia’s Great Leap Forward: What Would Mao Think?
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Electoral Votes Matter: Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders vs Donald Trump
Chris Gilbert
Venezuela Today: This Must Be Progress
Pepe Escobar
The Calm Before the Coming Global Storm
Ruth Fowler
Intersecting with the Identity Police (Or Why I Stopped Writing Op-Eds)
Victor Lasa
The Battle Rages on in Spain: the Country Prepares for Repeat Elections in June
Jack Rasmus
Is the US Economy Heading for Recession?
Dean Baker
Time for an Accountable Federal Reserve
Ted Rall
Working for US Gov Means Never Saying Sorry
John Eskow
The Death of Prince and the Death of Lonnie Mack
May 02, 2016
Michael Hudson – Gordon Long
Wall Street Has Taken Over the Economy and is Draining It
Paul Street
The Bernie Fade Begins
Ron Jacobs
On the Frontlines of Peace: the Life of Daniel Berrigan
Louis Yako
Dubai Transit
Bill Quigley
Teacher, Union Leader, Labor Lawyer: Profile of Chris Williams Social Justice Advocate
Patrick Cockburn
Into the Green Zone: Iraq’s Disintegrating Political System
Lawrence Ware
Trump is the Presidential Candidate the Republicans Deserve
Ron Forthofer
Just Say No to Corporate Rule
Ralph Nader
The Long-Distance Rebound of Bernie Sanders
Ken Butigan
Remembering Daniel Berrigan, with Gratitude
Nicolas J S Davies
Escalating U.S. Air Strikes Kill Hundreds of Civilians in Mosul, Iraq
Binoy Kampmark
Class, Football, and Blame: the Hillsborough Disaster Inquest
George Wuerthner
The Economic Value of Yellowstone National Park
Rivera Sun
Celebrating Mother Jones
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir and Postcolonialism
Mairead Maguire
Drop the Just War Theory
Weekend Edition
April 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What is the Democratic Party Good For? Absolutely Nothing
Roberto J. González – David Price
Anthropologists Marshalling History: the American Anthropological Association’s Vote on the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions
Robert Jacobs
Hanford, Not Fukushima, is the Big Radiological Threat to the West Coast
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
US Presidential Election: Beyond Lesser Evilism
Dave Lindorff
The Push to Make Sanders the Green Party’s Candidate
Peter Linebaugh
Marymount, Haymarket, Marikana: a Brief Note Towards ‘Completing’ May Day
Ian Fairlie
Chernobyl’s Ongoing Toll: 40,000 More Cancer Deaths?
Pete Dolack
Verizon Sticks it to its Workers Because $45 Billion isn’t Enough
Moshe Adler
May Day: a Trade Agreement to Unite Third World and American Workers
Margaret Kimberley
Dishonoring Harriet Tubman
Deepak Tripathi
The United States, Britain and the European Union
Eva Golinger
My Country, My Love: a Conversation with Gerardo and Adriana of the Cuban Five
Richard Falk
If Obama Visits Hiroshima
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail