The TV and I

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To paraphrase Li Bai:

All the birds have flown and gone
A remote control hangs leisurely by
We never tire of looking at each other
Only the TV and I.

The birds have vanished down the sky
Now the last channel flicks away
We sit together, the TV and I
Until only the TV remains.

I grew up watching television, and to a certain extent, I was raised by it.  My parents were busy, hardworking folk; and while they were both able to provide for us and be the best parents one can hope for, I learned pretty much everything from TV.  TV took care of me as much as I took care of it.  All I needed was to keep one of the TV sets warm, and the thing gave me endless hours of entertainment.  I watched TV while studying, I watched TV while writing, I watched TV while eating, and I watched TV before I went to sleep.  TV, to me, is the intelligence box; it was the center of my universe.

The TV is almost always certainly on.  I could watch anything: noontime variety shows, cooking shows, televangelists, live concerts, children’s shows, cartoons, wrestling, soap operas.  TV didn’t kill any of my habits, it just gave a whole new dimension to things like reading and writing.  TV is my habit.

I don’t know how to turn the machine off, if not for the fact that it should always be turned on.  Images, sound, action… they should always be somewhere in my space, simulated as they may be.  Maybe it’s because I don’t get much of it, that I make the choice of surrounding myself with images and sounds and action that are only made possible by the creativity of others, as well as electrical impulses.  Somehow, I’m imprisoned by the very thing that sets me free from the drudgery of daily life.  The very object that I find freedom in is the very same object that imprisons me.

There will always be those travels to places I’ve never been, and the coverage of events of things I can never participate in.  Flights of fancy, travails with fantasy, things that make TV Land a utopia.  Cartoons, sports, newscasts… things that attach me, yet at the same time detach me, from the world.  The very machine that can make a genius out of every one of us is the very same machine that can make an idiot out of every one of us.

The thing will always be about noise, about incoherence, about reflecting life.  In a perverted way, yes, but those things that appear on TV are not reflections, but interpretations, of the world.  The least I could do now is stare, and hope that all of this is real.

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