Thursday, April 28, 2005

My way, or not at all

I'm pretty sure I've been annoyed or exasperated at previous things San Francisco Gate TV critic Tim Goodman has written, though never enough to blog on it. However, he's spot-on about the smug, joyless, self-righteous goons behind "TV Turnoff Week": You are now soaking in TV-Turnoff Week, one of those eat-your- vegetables, big-vision ideas that turn out, in the end, to be asinine. Really, it's a stupid idea. Unless, of course, you're addicted to television like crack. And since that's the default cliche plastered on TV for 50 years or so, it must be true, right? You're either reading the New Yorker or you're in dirty underwear sitting on a ratty couch completely spellbound by "My Wife and Kids." Why is do-gooderism so annoying? Why is it that people who can't control the universe or be kings or dictators or get through a dinner party without alienating everyone end up fronting groups meant to make you a better person? [...] Where's the responsibility here? Why can't people own up to their faults, their shortcomings? It's the smoking-gave-me-cancer or McDonald's-made-me-fat argument. Calls for personal responsibility, from one of the least-serious column positions in a San Francisco paper? That's just...neat. I remember being forced (well, strongly encouraged) in a high school English course to participate, at one point, writing a series of journal entries with the time not "wasted" on television. I refused, and wrote five pieces on why it was poorly-thought-out elitist idiocy, including a long digression calculating the estimated value of that one assignment on my final mark, in which I declared that losing the .0825% it represented was worthwhile. (That was more than a bit naive, as I ended up receiving full marks anyway, for writing the required number. Silly me; I imagined the teacher was actually reading them.) I resented the self-righteous attitudes of the campaign's proponents then; now, however, they're getting worse, partnering with executive toy stealth remote of sneering jackasses TV-B-Gone. Where the anti-TV zealots used to have to make their case persuasively, now they can do it by the technological equivalent of brute force. Thanks for elevating the debate, guys! (Via TV Tattle.)


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