Sunday, 23 September 2007

Switching Off

"Television, drug of the nation
Breeding ignorance and feeding radiation"
The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy

Last night I made the decision that I am going to spend a lot less time watching television. This earth-shattering decision came about for 3 reasons:

  1. There is bugger all on television worth watching.
  2. I am sick of what passes as news and entertainment today, and even sicker of advertising - in particular the current political campaigning, which is only going to get worse.
  3. Winter is over.
This does not mean that I will be cutting out television all together. I will still be watching Spicks And Specks, The Chaser's War on Everything, Summer Heights High, Difference of Opinion and the occasional episode of The Simpsons. I will also keep an eye out for interesting documentaries such as Decadence: The Meaningless Of Modern Life and Get Up Stand Up. Apart from that, the tv will be turned off.

Having made the decision, I grabbed a book and spread out on the couch. I soon became aware of how not-silent my apartment is. Despite having no stereo or tv blurting out noise, there was still a constant hum emanating from the appliances that share my living space. I went around and unplugged everything that could be unplugged - the fridge and my pc were the only two devices left connected (the pc was in the process of burning a dvd). Doing this reduced the hum significantly, although the thermostat in the fridge meant that its basal drone kicked in and out occasionally.

I settled back on the couch (this time with a glass of scotch) and resumed my reading. But I could still hear humming, and its source was out of my control. I could hear the traffic on the roads outside, the low bass of cars idling on my street, distant tones from my neighbouring apartments. I thought to myself is this now what passes as silence? Have we become so accustomed to filling our lives with sound that we don't notice the constant noise that surrounds us? The electronic pitches, buzzes, hums and drones that fill our living and working spaces and go on ceaselessly are now accepted as silence? Is this the new rhythm of life?

My inner-country-boy longed to be on my uncle's farm, far away enough from civilisation to hear nothing but the wind in the pines and the scurry of nocturnal animals in the dark. My inner-hippy longed to be back in Cape Tribulation, nestled in the rainforest with the sound of the waves slapping on the beach in the distance. My inner-yuppie was too busy mourning the loss of the television.

How silent is your silent?

In case I don't post between now and Thursday: Difference of Opinion looks at tween-marketing this week - something parents need to become aware of fast. For background info, check out Two Knives and Imaginif.

Songs played while writing this entry:
"Hey Jealousy" Gin Blossoms
"Say It Aint So" Weezer
"Tremora Del Terra" Illuminatae
"Schoneberg" Marmion
"Animal" Pearl Jam
"Civil War" Guns N Roses
"It Doesn't Matter" The Chemical Brothers
"Standing On The Outside" Cold Chisel
"Hot" Purveyors Of Fine Funk
"Defiant" Christopher Lawrence
"Global Machine" Temperature Drop


cooper said...

My silent is not so much. Not only do I live in a city, though much smaller now than NYC, the building is old and quite full of groans.

I grew up wit so little television, at least until high school, that I easily fo without it for weeks at a time. I am starting to watch a few things now but wouldn't miss them terribly. I like to fall asleep watching cspan at three in the morning.

Two Knives said...

Thanks for the link, and for the head's up on Difference of Opinion. I'll be watching the discussion on their site.

Joh said...

I quit watching lots of TV a while ago and really don't miss it. I probably watch less than 2 hours a week. I love reading though and the net.

I listen to music sometimes. The place I live is quiet. Not much traffic noise, occasional neighbours kids playing, train a couple of times a day and the noisiest things are the chooks next door and the birds in the trees.

flametree said...

Cooper - I like buildings that talk, they have character imo. I've been surprised at how easy it is to go without tv once you start getting in the habit of switching it off.

Two Knives - no probs, you raise some great points on your site so I'm happy to promote.

Joh - want to swap houses? I get a lot of kookaburras around my place, but they compete with all the other sounds.

A Bowl Of Stupid said...

I hear ya' kid.

That's how it starts -- before I started traveling, it was a slow progression: first, I got rid of my huge mega-cable TV thingy, then cable TV all together, then the TV itself, then the house the car and everything else.

Yep, I'm sure I'll run into you in Paupa New Guinea by this time next year ;)

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