Tuesday, June 24, 2008


A couple years ago I felt it necessary that I turn off the TV. My basic TV viewing was Cable News (a lot of Cable News), Food TV, Discovery Channel and some weekend golf coverage. I know, many will think zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. But that's not the point. So, I turned it off and have only turned it on occasionally to catch Food TV and Golf, but every so often I will tune into a couple minutes of news to just see what's up. All that to say, I have watched so little TV I pretty much tell others that I don't watch it anymore. I can't tell you the last movie I watched.

I don't fully know if there is a connection with the fact that since I turned it off I have experienced a season like no other to this point in my life. There has been more peace and I have been more at rest over these past two years then I ever had been before.

So now to the weirdness. Last Sunday night I decided to go join my daughters, just to spend some time with them on their turf as they watched The Disney Channel Movie: Camp Rock. We were about 45 minutes into the movie when I became very aware of the fact that I was feeling very agitated and on edge. I haven't felt that way for a long time. As I sat there trying to figure out what was going on, some thoughts came to mind from Neil Postman's book
Amusing Ourselves To Death. I decided to get up and walk away from the TV and it was about two hours later before I was feeling myself again.

I have no way of being absolutely certain that what I am about to share was what I was experiencing. But my gut tells me this is exactly what was going on.

"The orchestration of press, radio and television to create a continuous, lasting and total environment renders the influence of propaganda virtually unnoticed precisely because it creates a constant environment." Jacques Ellul

The Controlling Voices that I blogged about quite often many months ago and my constant request of; Explain All These Controls, which actually turned out to be a prayer, led me to turn off the TV.

I heard a TV News anchor once say that he was taught in Journalism School that tv news and regular programming (sitcoms, movies and such) was just filler for the real programming....the selling of products. Honesty can be really refreshing.......

Here's what I think has began to happen in my life over the past couple years. The constant unbroken flow of propaganda has been breached. I do not live under any illusions though that propaganda no longer has any effect on me. It's all around us, and living completely outside it's influence seems to be unlikely. But all we need is to find enough freedom for a little crack in the matrix to form and then the hope of breaking free/r becomes a possibility.

Here is a video that captures some of how propaganda works through TV. I have people ask me quite often why I think the news and so much of the tv programs and movies are full of disturbing images/content? Could it be that selling products and controlling our behavior becomes much easier when we are in a constant state of fear and agitation? I think that's very possibly what is going on.

It had been a long time since I had heard this old news slogan, which isn't used anymore as far as I know, until I read it in Amusing Ourselves To Death a couple years ago. Check it out in this video....NOW THIS


Sue said...

I love this post.

Loving your freedom, my friend.

I watch a bit of TV here and there, usually non-commercial, but I don't miss cable at all. I do, however, enjoy partaking of a movie, and some of the same stuff comes through even in movies. But once you're inoculated, at least you can start to see it.

Did I mention I love the freedom in this post? :)

Grateful Girl said...

Thanks Kent! We've been observing the same things lately and today I am calling to have DISH turned off. We realize how the media and big corporation bombard us with BS. It's not real. And propaganda, don't get me started there... Great post and Thanks for sharing your take and experience..

Holy Chaos said...

wow! i believe that youa re right. i think I am going to strat turning on the tv more.

do you children watch tv?

Kent said...

holy chaos, it's good to hear from you. It's been a long time.

My children and my wife do watch TV...a lot of it. They are free to make that choice.

Jennifer said...

We've been without t.v. for....I don't even remember the last time I watched t.v. in my own home. It really is amazing how much freedom there is when getting unplugged.

One funny side effect is that now most of the programming leaves me feeling irritated. I do miss Discovery and some of the educational or AMC movies, but I'm glad to be rid of the bombardment.

I think this can carry into reading too many books, listening to too much radio etc... we live in such distraction we (meaning our civilization) hardly know how to think for ourselves anymore.

Kent, you and your girls might like The Mysterious Benedict Society which is a book my kids and I read. The kids are all chosen to spy on a man who is sending subliminal messages through children. As we read it, the concept made me think of how inundated we all are in this mass media culture.

Jennifer said...

Sorry! I had to end that comment quickly so I didn't end it gracefully. Hope your weekend is relaxing in that nice water feature.

Sue said...

That is so cool, Jennifer.

Aida said...

Kent, I couldn't agree with you more. I don't watch television. Actually, I don't even know how to operate the TV remote although I will watch movies on the thing. My husband watches the news and educational stuff. If I sit with him, at times I can feel fear rising up in me so I try to keep as far away from the thing as I possibly can.

Free Spirit said...

Love it!! Yes, A couple years ago, I spent the entire year free of television, and it changed my life. I watch VERY little now, only cause it doesn't have the same pull for me now, that it once did. Also, when my husband and I married, for that first year, we put the TV up in a closet for the first 9 months of our life together. I believe we still don't know all the benefits from that time we used to just be together, without TV's influence.

About the video: I wonder if that's what we'll see when we die, on our way, passing from this life to the next. I'm sure of one thing: We SURE won't miss it (TV)!!

Sue said...

Well, this post and comments has inspired and encouraged me. I love hearing the stories of people who have switched off the idiot box. The changes are pretty astounding, aren't they?

Kent said...

I know I feel better and having stepped back from it has helped me take a critical look at it. This is one of the most profound things from Amusing Ourselves To Death. I was able to work through and understand the problem created by attempting to determine what is true by watching tv and how the very nature of tv keeps the truth from ever being known about any situation...especially the news. Even if all the info. you are given is accurate (which it rarely ever is) it is only a tiny picture of the whole and this will always make it impossible to really know what is going on or what has happened and yet often the opposite happens...we draw conclusions and become convinced that we are now informed and are possessors of the truth.

Jennifer said...

Doing the diddy dance, whatever that is...it just wiggled out of my fingers. :) It is SO cool!

When we watched t.v. I used to wonder what people did instead of watching t.v. and now I wonder how I ever had time to sit in front of a box for hours. Now we watch movies on our computer and I do love movies, but only watch one or two on weekends or maybe one during the week if I have a late night.

Freedom, talkin 'bout freedom..dadadadadeedeeda...