How to use television for good

“How to Use Television For the Good of Your Family and the Greater Glory of God.” I’m sure my friends will be hooting with laughter at the idea of me pontificating on that subject, since my husband and I have been the owners of a television set for precisely six days.

Why the big change, after twenty-two years of holding out against the cathode ray tube? Because two days ago New Zealand television changed to digital transmission, and thousands of televisions, which still work but can no longer receive signals, are simply being thrown away. At the same time, we found out that we could get a DVD player with our credit card reward points. Thus we have acquired a DVD player and TV to match without spending a brass razzoo – and, quite frankly, I wouldn’t spend a brass razzoo on either.

It has been well said of television that “the medium is the message”. In other words, it’s the medium itself – the addictive, mesmerizing, mind-numbing effect of the flickering screen – that is the real problem, not the terrible programmes. Incidentally, the same could be said of schools: the lessons of boredom, frustration and powerlessness which they teach are far more significant than the content, good or bad, of the curriculum.

So here’s my top tip for how to make good use of your television: Get a large brick and heave it through the middle of the screen. If you prefer a simpler clean-up, just cut the cord. Or sabotage the dish, or whatever. Or you could consider restricting your destructive efforts and retaining the device to watch DVDs on. We’re looking forward to doing just that in ease and comfort, instead of sitting on top of the chest freezer, struggling with each other as we crane for a glimpse of a little strip of action on a computer screen. But I’ll be limiting it very severely – I keep telling myself. We don’t want to get too comfortable with it. We don’t want to forget that, in far more ways than we would like to think, the medium is the message.n-3 001


10 thoughts on “How to use television for good

  1. I love your idea of heaving a brick through the screen.

    I myself, don’t like cleaning. Our solution was canceling our cable. It’s not as dramatic, but it works!

    Thanks for this awesome post!

  2. I guess the same could be said for the computer. Now there’s a real time suck!

    Got to keep saying like the Apostle Paul, “I will not be mastered by anything.” :-)

    By the way, I’ve just put the finishing touches on an curriculum for grade school children to teach them how to evaluate media (TV, movies, etc.) and to be critical viewers. It’ll be released through my website next month as an ebook. My children (there are seven of them so far) had a blast going through the book and learning to see behind the hype to the literary elements of the story and what the deeper messages are. And all along learning to fine-tune their discernment.

    (Oh, I stumbled across your post via the Hope in Every Season Homemaking Blog Hop!)

  3. Good for you for holding out… and being able to control what everyone watches and when they watch! A little late, I know, by thanks for stopping by the Mom’s Monday Mingle… can’t believe it is Friday already!

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