Entertainment Without the Corporate Manipulation
The negative effects of watching TV get worse every year. The content gets progressively dumber, more sexually gratuitous, and more violent.
TV has little redeeming value these days. Even if you watch channels that air more positive and uplifting shows and movies, you are still left contending with the non stop barrage of commercials that encourage you to waste money on things you probably don’t need.
Let’s start with the primary content you get from cable television, which can range from completely harmless (maybe even beneficial) to completely and utterly destructive.
For the last decade we’ve been bombarded by some of the most violent TV shows the world has ever seen. We’ve had Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead to satisfy the lust for violence. We’ve had 13 Reasons Why to glamorize the suicidal. Sons of Anarchy. American Horror Story. The list goes on and on…
A few years ago I set out to stop watching TV shows and movies that contained any kind of violence or dark themes that left me in a negative emotional state. I didn’t want to give up watching TV completely, so I opted to binge watch episodes of American Pickers.
The show was fun and interesting, and I liked how the characters seemed caring and gave people a fair price for the items they bought. What could possibly be wrong with watching a show like this?
The commercials, that’s what.
It dawned on me that after binge watching 4–5 episodes, I had also watched at least a dozen commercials, most of them leaving me with the feeling that I needed pharmaceutical drugs, an expensive weight loss plan, and a good online dating service.
Am I overweight? Do my erections look like a deformed cucumber? Should I sue someone for asbestos exposure? Do I need a blanket that I can wear around the house like a bath robe?
A typical one hour TV show can expose you to enough commercials to make you feel like your life has no meaning.
If the TV show or movie doesn’t make you question every aspect of your life, then perhaps the commercials will.
Now getting back to the TV shows and movies themselves. They can be just as bad as the commercials after all.
The destructive and violent images that air on TV are more graphic and disturbing than ever before. Visuals that would never have been allowed just twenty years ago are now common place.
Graphic violence and sex are so mainstream that most people are becoming desensitized to them.
News outlets used to explain to viewers that the video was “too graphic to show on TV.” Now they just show it anyway.
Before you chuck the TV out the window, let me propose a “middle path” for learning to enjoy entertainment without being violated by the soulless corporations that want to flood your consciousness with sex, violence, and mindless consumerism.
First, cancel your cable package. It’s expensive, you cannot escape the commercials, and you probably don’t watch 98% of the channels you get anyway.
As the old Bruce Springsteen song goes, there’s “57 channels and nothing on.” Only today we’ve got way more than that, and still there’s nothing on.
Second, subscribe to streaming services that have positive shows you want to watch without all of the commercials. The money you save from canceling cable can be used to pay for subscription-based services that let you watch quality entertainment without the relentless assaults on the psyche by the corporate overlords.
My own life improved dramatically when I got rid of commercial-ridden cable TV and switched to a few subscription services.
With no commercials, no graphic violence, and no over-the-top sexual gratuity, I found myself with a much more positive outlook on life. And I found myself more content with my life exactly as it was.
I’m not arguing for a puritanical approach to entertainment. Nor am I arguing for an ascetic lifestyle devoid of digital media.
Rather, what I advocate for is a more selective approach to how we consume movies and television, one that doesn’t leave us vulnerable to the corporations that want us to “consume, conform, and obey.”