Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Passivity Examined

Last month we broke up with our cable company. We were paying an outrageous amount of money each month, and after watching them offer everything but oral sex to new customers, while telling us to basically bend over when we tried to reduce our plan to something more reasonable, we said good bye. Now, for the first time since, oh, 1979, I don't have cable TV. It's weird, but not in a bad way. See now that we have a baby, and a new car payment, we needed to tighten the budget somewhere. We are not extravagant people, so most of our spending is necessary, but it became clear that every show that we follow on the old boob tube is available online, and most of them are free. So cable was the logical victim. So far I'm not missing it, though I think Mrs. Marius might be. I did just have a bit of an epiphany, though. Our television consumption has shifted from passive to active. It's strange to think of TV as anything but passive, but the simple act of watching a show online requires deliberate, albeit minor, action. We can no longer just turn on the box and become couch potatoes, mindlessly pressing the channel up button until something causes a couple of brain cells to fire and we stay there for a few minutes or more. Now we have to decide that it's time to watch X; we have to log in, find the web site that carries X, and then watch. Granted I'm not going to be monitoring my standing heart rate while downloading the latest Mythbusters from, but it does strike me as interesting that an activity that has for nearly a century been considered one of the least active things you can do, when coupled with a technology that takes passivity to a whole new level, you get a requirement of deliberateness. I think I just blew my own mind. Namaste, y'all. Marius


H. Behnke said...

The only reason we have a T.V. wherever we go is for the x-box. I find shows way more enjoyable when I watch them on my own time online instead of when I randomly find them on T.V. Welcome to the club!

flurrious said...

Do you remember when cable first started and the big selling point was that there were no commercials because it was all subscriber-supported? That lasted for about a minute.

I'm not sure what it is about Seattle, but there is almost nowhere in the city where you can't get excellent over-the-air reception. I've never had cable living here, but everywhere else I've lived, I've had to have it because I got nothing but snow or the 700 Club -- God is the best antenna of all, I guess.