culture snob part deux

5 Dec

I probably alienated you all with my anti-television post.  But now that I am in my forties, I am trying to state my opinions unapologetically.  They aren’t facts necessarily, but they are facts about me, and while they could change, it’s been forty years, and well, who am I kidding?  I am not exactly becoming more tolerant as I age.  If you are my real friend, I hope that you love me (or tolerate me) anyway, and if you were just referred by someone, I am so sorry you missed me in my younger years.  I was a lot easier to get along with then.  From what I can remember through the rose-colored haze of time.

Back to television and my snobbery.  I have had a grand, extended cable package and so, my choice of options was wide.  But nothing ever really held my attention.  The real problem may be the Attention Deficit Disorder that I am convinced I suffer from (probably like all mothers).   It is not in my nature to sit down and tune in.  There are bills that are late; there are clothes in the dryer from last week; dogs want to be walked and fed; children who want to be read to or at least listened to, maybe even bathed;  school pictures to be ordered, the kitchen should be swept; my bed isn’t visible anymore under the pile of books that I am reading; light bulbs need to be changed; coats hung up; closets cleaned; floors vacuumed!  I am becoming stressed out just writing about all this.  When I become stressed, I can hardly concentrate on some show about housewives more desperate than I.  They may all be having affairs and high drama in their neighborhoods, but their houses are so clean!  Where do they find the time?

I am just not suited for television.  Whether it’s a vestige of  my television-impoverished childhood or a product of my temperament, I just can’t do it.  Someone once gave me a book called 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.  I wonder if he imagined the pressure that caused?  I have that book on my shelf, but I haven’t opened it because I know that I will be a failure.  I don’t even know how long I will live, but what if it less than 1001 days?  Even if I read a classic a day, I would fail.  And who has time to read a classic a day anyway?  War and Peace?  That has, like, a million pages.  There’s just no way to get it all done!

And for every hour that I spend watching television, it’s an hour that I am not even doing the things I want to do – like write my grandmother or re-read Pride and Prejudice or Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre.  Not to mention the Faulkner that feels required by virtue of my Mississippianism and love of literature.  I have read a lot of Faulkner, and let me tell you – those novels require some concentration!  But I still want to re-visit them and appreciate what makes them great.

You see, it’s not television, it’s me.  I have had a relationship with TV.  It just didn’t work out.  I have a fear of commitment that is perhaps pathological.  I’m just afraid of the opportunity costs.  What am I trading in for that hour of “relaxation”, which you see by now, isn’t the least bit relaxing to me?

If I do decide to commit to something, I want it to be something critically acclaimed; enriching; deep; that leaves me enthralled and impressed.  The Ken Burns National Parks series on PBS did that, and I was glad to have seen it, but my mother forced me to watch it.  She was right – it was great.  I don’t mind having a television for occasions like that, but I know myself by now – it’s been forty years, after all, and without someone actively saying “sit down – watch this,” I just am not going to do it.

So, please, be patient with my lack of knowledge of current events or Black Friday sales or this season’s American Idol.  And I don’t know how Snookie wears her hair or why Celebrity matchmaker kicked that girl out of her office.  I trust that y’all will tell me if it’s imperative that I know.  Thank you.

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