Friday, October 21, 2005

Never mind the mainstream

I read something in a magazine yesterday that said the average American watches 8 hours and 11 minutes of television EVERY DAY. I had to read the sentence three times to be sure that I had not misinterpreted what I was reading. I shared the stat with my beloved and he had me read it again to be certain I was right.

I would find it amazing if our TV was on eight hours in one week. Where do people find this kind of time to watch TV? Do they get to watch at work? Is there that much that is interesting to watch? I have a hell of a time finding much that I am interested in personally. Granted we have the most basic cable plan available, which is more or less the local network channels and a few others. 25 in all I believe. Even so, part of the reason we gave up expanded cable was due to the fact that there was so little we were truly interested in watching. (And my beloved's problem with stopping himself from flipping channels despite the fact that he did not want to watch anything.)

I am well aware that we watch a lot less TV than many people. Those of you out there who know us well are aware of our constant crusade to decrease how often we turn on the TV. The most effective remedy has been moving the TV to the attic. Out of sight out of mind really does work. With the advent of TV series coming out on DVD so quickly we rarely watch prime time at all any more.

It was just startling to me to see that we are apparently way out there when compared to the average American. Not that I think that is really so terrible. I guess I just consider myself to be a fairly average person... nothing too exciting or strange about me or my family.

This is the second thing in the past couple of months to make me stop and think about the fact that maybe my views and taste in things is just a little farther out of the norm, average, whatever you wish to call it, than I originally thought. The first was my favorite radio station getting switched to a new (AND VERY CRAPPY) format because they were in the bottom three radio stations in KC. This was completely unbelievable to me. This station was the best, well not THE best. That award has to go to KFOG in San Francisco. But this station was a close second. It was and still is unbeliveable to me that not everyone or for that matter many people at all apparently thought the same.

So I guess maybe my ideas about and taste in certain things in not what you would call mainstream.

Not a bad thing I guess.

Just makes it hard to find something to listen to on the radio.


Ali said...

I prided myself in my lack of television watching until I realized how much time I spend on the internet. Seriously, the internet is my new TV. It feels less guilty because I'm, uh, READING but really, it's not that much different.

Ted Carter said...

There is also a difference between sitting on your butt blankly staring at the screen for eight hours, and doing things while the TV is on. I admit that the TV is on most of the time when we are at home, but my kids spend most of the time when they are watching doing SOMETHING else as well. In fact, these days Bailey would much rather get on the computer and find an activity than sit and stare at the tube.

I also think they get some sense of comfort from the familiarity of the shows that they watch over and over again. Life is pretty chaotic for kids; moreso than I think we really realize most of the time. Little schedule changes or things that don't go as planned are much more stressful to them than to adults who have gotten used to that kind of thing. It may sound strange to say that kids know they can at least count on cartoons, but I think there is some truth there.

I also look at myself; I grew up with the TV on all the time. I can remember spending many a Saturday getting up early to watch cartoons and not leaving my spot in front of the tube until way after noon. And now the ONLY show I feel the need to catch every week is ER. The time between when I get home and when the kids go to bed, I don't do much TV watching at all. And when we do watch TV after the kids go to bed, I usually feel the need to be doing something else at the same time.

Everybody's different.

Oh, and I'd look closely at what that study considers the AVERAGE American. Looking at our own schedule, I don't even think we are home and awake eight hours a day, so I have a hard time believing that most Americans are, ya know? I don't buy any statistics like that as fact anymore unless I have a detailed description of the methods for coming to that number.

Whoever said numbers don't lie was lying.

dan g said...

It's the World Series time of year, so I'm watching three-plus hours of TV anytime there's a game. Let me just say, watching that much television is exhausting. But I'm a trouper...