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Television and the simple life

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    I chose to live a more simple and sustainable life back in the 1980s, and I’ve found it has affected my relationship to TV. First to go was the commercial channels because I found the adverts totally irritating. I don’t want loud people shouting at me to buy something I don’t need (and if I do need it, it doesn’t need to be advertised). The ads used to infuriate me.

    Then, in the early days of Foxtel I decided to get it, thinking it might be worth it to pay for programmes just to avoid the ads. Then of course they brought in adverts on Foxtel, so because of that plus the endless repeats, I ditched it.

    I met Alice Walker once (The Color Purple author), and she said she has a ‘media free month’ every year. She turns everything off to give her imagination a chance to spring to life again. I thought that was a great idea, so I did the same. Then one year I checked the TV programme listing at the end of the month and found nothing worth watching, so I didn’t turn it on again. Six months later I relegated it to a wardrobe in the spare room, and it’s stayed there ever since. Eight years now. I watch perhaps a dozen DVDs a year if that, but no TV at all.

    One of my favourite toys is a ‘TV-B-Gone’, which I use at restaurants etc., where we’re trying to talk and there’s a TV blaring that nobody is watching. One press of the little button and the damned thing is turned off.

    Has anyone else found the same kind of progression as you’ve gone along this journey of simplifying?

    My brother recently came here from Alice Springs, so I did some house hunting to give him an idea of prices etc. I was gobsmacked at amost all of the houses, with TVs in every single room (sometimes more than one in each room), some of them the size of the wall screens in Orwell’s 1984. And in all of them the furniture faced the TV, like pews in a church facing the altar. I find it quite terrifying actually.

    Most of my friends are also into voluntary simplicity (whether they call it that or not), and while most have a TV, they’re small and inobtrusive, and several are tossing up whether or not they’ll bother going to digital TV. None of them has a plasma TV or a large flat screen TV.

    My brother has a huge plasma TV in the lounge and a massive flat screen in the bedroom, plus a 60-odd-cm TV in the study. He and his wife have all the latest and greatest furniture, every gadget imaginable, a home gym they could sell entry tickets to, and they would never buy anything second hand (and are horrified at the idea of freecycle). Repairing something doesn’t come into their heads. They discharged their bankruptcy a few months ago and can’t wait till they can get credit again. The first thing they plan to get is an even bigger television set.

    There has to be a connection here. What do others think?


    Well, as you asked , here’s my tentative 2 cents worth ……..I am not sure what you mean by ” a connection”. Do you mean between TV and consumerism ? Has to be, but whilst respecting your life style choices I guess your brother and his wife have every right to make theirs, not that you have in any way said they don’t. Others constantly make choices that differ to our own and I think we just respect that whilst accepting them as people and sometimes valued friends.Sometimes something major or minor happens in our life that gives us cause to review our choices , as I am sure has happened to many of us on here.We may make big changes, small changes or no changes.Or did you mean a connection between TV and a “simple” life? Personally I am very grateful for TV and the chance to choose what I will watch.On Sunday I review the coming week’s offerings and circle the programmes I want to watch, apart from the news – my choice so as to quickly know what’s happening in the world – for example the new science series on SBS is excellent.Casalenta, my apologies if I misunderstood your request for our opinions.I love the sound of a TV -B-Gone gadget!! Do you just click it under the table and no-one knows why the TV suddenly dies? My pet hate is TV in banks.


    I agree with you about tellies especially the adds always being sooo loud. We haven’t ditched the tv altogether, I would in a flash but DH is keen on watching the news. As we are on solar we have learnt to be very selective though.


    I agree with what you write. The TV is one of mans greatest inventions but its now so full of nonsense that all I tend to watch is mostly ABC & SBS news & current affairs. Andrew Bolt is moving to C10 on sunday mornings and whilst I disagree with a lot of what he rights, I love hearing his honest truth not some censored commercial script that will please advertisers and the fragile egos of TV execs, so I will give that a shot as well.

    ballamara post=309284 wrote: As we are on solar we have learnt to be very selective though.

    Maybe we should all be on solar so we sit & watch less and actually get out there, be active and talk to people.


    In the last few months I have rarely watched TV, haven’t kept up much with the news aside from if I happen to be in the car when it’s on, or in the newspaper sometimes… and I love it!


    A young woman I work with is renovating the bathroom and putting in a flat screen TV that can be viewed from the spa bath:silly: . I thought she was joking at first and laughed but she was for real :blush: :blush:


    I was meaning a connection between watching TV and consumerism – it makes us want stuff we hadn’t previously thought we wanted. Of course it’s up to my brother and sister in law to live as they please, and I’d never try to tell them otherwise. It’s surprising though how often they tell me what I ‘need’.

    TV-B-Gone is great. It’s basically a universal remote. I keep it on my key ring.


    Hello and welcome to ALS casalenta.

    I tend to watch ABC news channel, if anything. Rarely will I even think of watching the commercial channels, and if I do, I regret it in a moment.

    I tend to use it mostly for DVDs.

    But now, having read your thread, I’ll need to go and purchase a TV-B-Gone …. dang.. even in here I find myself relegated to buying something… lol

    (thats a joke, by the way :))

    Shangri LaShangri La

    Andrew Bolt – now there is a reason to get rid of the tv or at least whatever channel he is on


    Mrs Wombat went pale when I suggested no TV, she is heavily into soccer………:laugh:


    Pink AngelPink Angel

    Seven years ago I turned off the television after going to bed one night and thinking “What happened with the evening?” I had done absolutely nothing except glued in front of a TV. I also noticed that my son’s were so fixated with it, that a bomb could go off in the room and they would not notice.

    I am not into a simple life, my objective is to live a life with as little carbon footprint as possible, eating organically and getting my life centered around a permaculture system.

    My boys were six and three when it happened. They have subsequently grown up not watching TV and they are so much better for it. We watch a DVD when we want to. Or go to the movies, but the rest of the time, they spend amusing themselves and using their brains to do so. Their imaginiation is really outstanding and they can make a game out of anything they find in a garden or room. They do not even ask for TV.

    Mind you, when we go out and visit someone who has a TV and they are placed in front of it, the same fixation resumes!!

    I catch up with the news on the internet, or a paper if I feel like it.

    I feel so much better without TV in my life. I feel that I am not wasting my time being mesmerized into a stupor and feel that I get so much more done now.


    All I’m going to add is that folks think that are are having some down time by watching tv or reading on the net then think again. You want down time then you need to stop. Go outside just sit or lay down and relax . Our minds have not evolved to be constantly stimulated all the bloody time .


    I’m too preoccupied with watching the comedy festival on channel ten right now to give my utmost attention to this post!  😛


    kimble post=309334 wrote: All I’m going to add is that folks think that are are having some down time by watching tv or reading on the net then think again. You want down time then you need to stop. Go outside just sit or lay down and relax . Our minds have not evolved to be constantly stimulated all the bloody time .

    I totally agree with that, especially the go outside. If you want to sleep well at night spend an hour or so outside, just listening to the night sounds and letting your imagination wander. I also wonder why so many people feel the need to be ‘entertained’ all the time.


    I don’t think TV is intrinsically evil. It’s just another option for relaxation at night after a day’s work on the property. Some nights we turn it on, many others we don’t. I’m presently engrossed in a $1 book I bought at a charity shop called Sons In the Saddle by Mary Durack (the follow-up to Kings in Grass Castles). It makes me think how wimpy we are today. Other nights we go out with the spotlight and check on the koalas. And sometimes, just lay flat out and look up at the stars and wonder, and wonder…. as Kimble suggested. The main thing is not to get into a rut, no matter how comfortable it feels. Variety is truly the spice of life and a 7-day diet of TV doesn’t give us that. Just my 2-bobs worth….

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