And I thought it was just me…

I admit I’m not as far along as the blogger who wrote this.  I still get way too wound up about certain news items, and when I do, it results in a spate of entries on this blog.  Likely this blog wouldn’t even exist if I didn’t.

But when it comes to contemporary pop music, fashion, movies, television shows, etc., I’ve been a dropout since the late 1980’s.  In fact, three or four years ago I finally gave up cable/satellite when I realized I was paying $500 a year for over 120 channels that I was not particularly interested in.  The switch to digital television has at least temporarily confirmed my retreat into the world of no-pay TV, since there are now even more free channels that I don’t watch (so why pay for a bunch more that I don’t watch?). 

I have no doubt, though, that sooner or later someone will make us pay for the extra channels.  At that point, I probably won’t have a TV anymore.  As it is, my TV  is only on about 3 times a week, and then only for an hour or two at a time.

This was not the result of lessons from childhood, when an elderly relative kept our TV on from the moment he got out of bed to the moment he got back in, less the hours he was at work.  He still does, only now it’s worse: he plays the TV and the radio at the same time.  He won’t pay for cable (guess I inherited that from him), so can’t get Fox News.  Instead, the right-wing radio screamers feed steaming crap into his ears while he watches pro wrestling, do-it-youself shows, “reality” shows, and whatever else on TV.  And he’s retired, so his viewing/listening has expanded to about 14 hours a day.  He also loves country music.  Country music gives me a migraine.  I’m not kidding.  All I need to do if I want a migrane is listen to a country music station for about 15 minutes, and then I’m in bed in agony for the rest of the day.

Yes, I know there are other forms of music around.  (Rap, for instance, which is almost as bad.)  In fact I have loved the Beatles from childhood, as well as other musicians.  But music awards shows?  Bah.  Just like the Academy Awards, they are nothing more than events that people wear expensive (and often quite ugly) clothes to.  I never see the movies that are being awarded whatever trophy and I never hear the music that’s being rewarded for sales.  I don’t know Brad and Angie from Jennifer or whoever is the latest burned-out teenage girl singer/actress/drug addict/whatever the hell.  It’s all meaningless to me.

Perhaps my current near medialessness (except for the Internet) is an adverse reaction to my early years, I don’t know.  But for the past few decades, my television viewership/radio listenership has dwindled to only a tiny fraction of that of most people.

This became a problem for me in an office I worked in that was full of Dancing with the Stars and American Idol freaks.  They also watched Oprah whenever they were on vacation.  Suffice it to say that I seldom had anything to add to the conversation there.  I was too busy trying to stay awake and/or keep from snoring.

Worse, during those years there was this morning show on one rock station that I listened to on the way in to work, and all “Shawn and Tiffany” talked about was what happened on various reality shows the night before.  One time I actually fell asleep and nearly drove through a red light.  After that, I permanently deleted that station off my pre-set button.

I did once happen in on this relative of mine when he was watching a reality show.  It was something about “models and geeks.” I glanced at it, and the “models” were mere pretty girls with big plastic boobs and lots of makeup (that is to say, not actually model-like at all unless you’re talking about the cheesecake variety), and the “geeks” similary looked like cliches: tape around the horn-rim glasses, snots hanging from noses, pant legs too short, mismatched patterns, etc.  And of course the “models” were all stupid and the “geeks” were all super-intelligent…where have we seen that  before?  At the beginning of the show, the announcer introduced it as a “social experiment.”  I couldn’t stop laughing for two weeks.  No, dears — a social experiment is a male model falling for a(n ugly) girl.  That you won’t see on any reality show because the “social scientists” in the programming departments don’t want to look at pretty boys with ugly girls, not even in the fantasy land of reality TV shows.

But honestly, I worry about people who watch shit like that.  I wonder if it corrodes their brains.  I also wonder if it is now impossible to make a list of merely 10 worst television programs of all time.

There was a study that concluded that only far right-wingers and left-wingers tend to be media drop-outs.  I don’t agree with that, since the far right in particular tends to use media as a sort of painkiller to block out the truth (if this weren’t true, Fox News would not exist).  I have observed this myself.  I think that what’s going on with me may be widespread across the spectrum.

But in the end, I don’t care.  My years working in the health field taught me that most studies are garbage, anyway.  The only media study I give a lot of credence to is the one that concluded that people who watch TV excessively tend to be fearful.  Well yeah.  I could have told you that myself without the time and expense of a study.  I’ve seen it first-hand.

These days, I only know what I see or hear.  And I don’t see or hear much in the way of movies, music, TV or radio.  I’ve honestly never seen Oprah, American Idol, or Dancing with the Stars.  I don’t watch awards shows.  I can’t name 3/4’s of the musicians I hear on the radio.  I seldom see a movie. 

And I don’t think I’m missing anything.