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Saturday, September 27, 2008

TV or Nor To TV


Ah, that old b&w TV, lends itself to so many quips in the context of this election.
But things are too serious to joke. ©Nina Buesing Corvallo


We don't really do TV and above is a picture of how I watched the debate last night -- retro style.
Using this old TV reminded me of my childhood, balancing the antenna, trying to get a clear picture of the channel (only Channel 13 came in well last night - brilliant!).
Back in the 70's & early 80's (West) Germany only had three channels. Commercial breaks - if any- were in between programs, not during programs. And because the programming wasn't designed in 30 minute times slots & to accommodate advertisers, programs would have starting times such as 20:15 (8:15 p.m.) or 19:35 (7:35 p.m.).
I enjoyed watching television as a kid, I watched Sesame Street, The Muppet Show and, as I got older, the news & on Sundays I would often watch Tatort with my family.
(Tatort is a German crime-drama series and a weekly 2-hour event and its watching is tradition for many Germans.)
Otherwise I watched occasional movies on TV (which left me with a love for Cary Grant & American Films from the 70s ) and not much else.
I think that is plenty of TV watching. I consider myself lucky to not have grown up with endless channels and TV on demand. I spent lots of my time as a child drawing, reading, exploring, horseback riding, or playing -- alone or with my friends - friends I am still close to today. The weekends I spent with my parents sailing on a small boat, also no TV on board.
I am grateful for my outstanding & blessedly happy childhood (thanks Mom& Dad), one that gave me an inability to be bored and nurtured my imagination, something I think more TV could have stunted.
When I moved to France and later to the US as a teenager, I watched a lot of TV. Which was ok in the sense that it helped me learn French & English quicker. I saw endless re-runs of the Cosby Show, A Different World, Redford Files, Hart to Hart and many other shows (first dubbed into French, later in their original English versions). It became a constant companion and influenced me visually somewhat (see my interview with Patrick Romero).
Today, I practically do not watch any TV. If I hear that something is worth watching (like 30 Rock, Weeds, The West Wing, an interview, the conventions, etc.) I'll see it on YouTube, Netflix or perhaps at a friend's house. I still watch a fair amount of entertainment (Netflix is genius), but always on the computer, mostly while retouching. But more and more I turn to NPR now for company while I retouch or scan.
I like life without television or with little television.
When the husband and I travel we encounter TV, and sometimes it is a treat to watch news channels or PBS all night or find out & get sucked into something outrageous like Rock of Love, but then we return home, serenity returns. I know it is not for everyone, but if you suspect that life without TV might be for you, try it.

1 comment:

tema said...

I love NPR on the radio as well, and the television that I inherited from my grandfather barely gets any channels. I keep it for the rare occasions I get to watch movies.

I was glued to the debates on my friend's tv at her apartment in Harlem. We tried to get seats at the Apollo Theatre but there weren't any left.

Anyways, I like your tv photo!