Are We Oppressing Ourselves?

This story was originally going to be called, The Greatest Oppressor in the United States? It was just going to be me bashing television and television watching in general. But, then I though about it some more and realized the greatest oppressor is not television but the greatest oppressor is us. In oppressing ourselves I mean we are holding ourselves back from achieving things. Why haven't we had another "Age of Enlightenment" since the eighteenth century? Maybe it's just me, but I haven't heard or seen any new ideas, new approaches or great revolutions. It's easy to blame an inanimate object for these problems and not blame ourselves. But we make these decisions, we all make choices. We have all these freedoms and seem just to waste them.

I know for a fact I have been oppressing myself. How many times has this happened to you? You have something to do it's not critical but you've been putting it off for some time. But this time, you've made the decision you're going to get it done and over with today. You get home from work determined to do it but think to yourself well I just need to unwind for a minute or two in front of the television. The minute or two turn out to be an hour or two and now you've got to start dinner or go pick someone up or do something else. Now you've yet again put off the thing you were supposed to do. Just other day I must have wasted probably 6 to 7 hours in front of the television watching... I can not even remember what it was. What I do remember is realizing somewhere in the middle of those 6 to 7 wasted hours that I could be doing something, anything other than sitting here. I could've been reading the books I have on my bedside table just waiting to be read. I could have been drawing, paying bills, shaving, just enlightening myself somehow. How quickly the thought disintegrated from my mind once the commercial was over. Think about it for a second, this isn't just me doing this, if just 50% of the people in the United States do this exact same thing it's just sad. It really depressed me so much that I'm giving up television for a year. I know it will be tough for me not to sit in front of the television, but I just can't justify it anymore. I'm going to try to keep a daily journal of what I do to avoid sitting on the couch watching television and I'll post any struggle I had that day or anything interesting that happened as a result of this experiment.

David, May 23 2005 8:34AM

Sounds like a good idea Paul. However, you might want to wait until the season finales for 24 and American Idol. Hell, you might as well throw a Frontline episode in the mix.

paul, May 23 2005 12:31PM

lucky for me I never watched 24 or American Idol. but it is a good time to try this out, all the shows seasons are ending.

David, May 23 2005 12:51PM

My point is that you'll need to resist finding exceptions. They are my Achilles Heal. Best of luck!

Sandie, May 23 2005 1:46PM

That's a great experiment. Please continue to post on Gutsy about your experience. I curious if you will feel more fulfilled from the extra time it gives you to do other things. Will you feel out of touch on pop culture topics? Will you break down on a bad day?

Also, does watching movies on DVD count?

mark, May 23 2005 2:26PM

i'd like to know what you accomplish with the new lump of free time. exactly what are you doing during those moments of liberation?

i cut back my television watching (very slightly) earlier this year and built GUTSY (don't laugh at that sandie because you know i'm not around any more for Alias). couldn't figure out how other people found time to do so much more than just their work. now i have a glimpse.

godspeed on your quest. you have an audience.

paul, May 23 2005 2:51PM

i don't know if DVD watching should count? i would say no just because i don't watch many DVD's as it is. the last DVD i watched was 2 months ago-the spanish film, The Sea Inside - i'll be writing a review for this film soon, the DVD just came out here in the states. i actually saw it all in spanish with no sub-titles. i didn't know it was going to be released here.

i'm also curious to see what i'll accomplish with all this free time. i have a bunch of things back logged that i need to do. i have 3 paintings that i promised my girlfriend. i have a mini-comic that i started about 3 months ago but put it on the back burner. also have a book called Before Night Falls written by Reinaldo Arenas that i have been reading only Sunday mornings around 7am-9am. but it's been taking me way too long to finish. plus i have two other books that i have to read called, A Tale of Love & Darkness by Amos Oz & Nickel and Dimed i forget who the author is.

anyway that should get me started and fill in my free time for a couple of months at least. who knows i just might go crazy and just type crazy stories on Gutsy to entertain my newly warped self.

Ann, May 23 2005 4:28PM

Would you consider either putting your TV away or at least unplugging it?

paul, May 23 2005 4:52PM

i would but my girlfriend might have an issue with me doing that. i told her what i was going to do and she said fine just as long as i don't have to miss any of my shows you can do whatever you want.
hows that for encouragment.

there is no way i can unplug and put it away i wish i could it would make it easier for me. but alas i'm just going to have to resist the temptation by sheer will power. believe me if i some how i break down and start watching television my girlfriend will run to the computer log on to Gutsy and rat me out.

mark, May 26 2005 6:55PM

haven't heard anything from your girlfriend yet so assuming the tv hiatus is still a go.

i feel a little embarrassed by my 3-hour binge last night with both american idol and alias. my stomach hurts a tad.

Ann, May 26 2005 10:54PM

Mark: you remind me a LOT of Bo Bice.

mark, May 27 2005 7:47AM

it's my southern upbringing and long golden locks of hair isn't it? and don't get me started on how much i like to sing along with skynyrd. mark sure likes the skynyrd.

mark, Jun 9 2005 9:58AM

any follow-up, paul?