Russell wrote about this here. I don’t own a television and I haven’t for probably about five years. I definitely don’t miss it and anytime I’m at someone else’s house and the TV is on, it totally weirds me out. All of the manically-flickering images and lights and sounds make me anxious and I have trouble concentrating.
That said, I feel like wasting my life away on the internet is probably only marginally better. On one hand, I think it’s less passive and my brain doesn’t have to deal with the same level of product placement and violence and hypersexualization of women that you see in even just a few minutes of television. But I also think it’s a huge time-sucker and life is short and there are a lot of awesome things I could be doing besides checking my email and all of your blogs every 12 seconds.
I also think it’s kind of creepy how dependent I am on the internet. Several times, I’ve tried to go one full day without going online and I found it impossible. I’m a slave to my email like many people are slaves to their cell phones– people expect to be able to reach you almost instantaneously. I’ve also completely forgotten how to get directions, look up phone numbers, or get any sort of information from any source other than internet. I came home a few days ago to see a pile of telephone books on our porch. They are currently being used to prop up our couch. Last night, our internet was out and I needed to get directions somewhere and I thought, “What did people do before the internet?”
Oh yeah. Maps. Atlases. Encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauruses, phone books, cookbooks, photo albums… libraries. Remember those? I barely do. My kids won’t know them at all.
Thinking about all of this suddenly depressed me. I don’t want to raise my kids in a world where we run to the shiny box every time we want to know something. I want bookshelves filled with real books with spines and dog-eared pages. Sure that information isn’t quite as up-to-date as what you’ll find on the internet but we all managed with it for quite some time, didn’t we? Websites go down, power goes out, people post misinformation… books may not be as up-to-date but they are more reliable. And I don’t recall ever seeing an advertisement in my old Roget’s thesaurus but I can’t say the same for thesaurus.com.
I want to pull a cookbook off the shelf and know which recipes I love best, not because they’re saved in my “bookmarks” but because they have the most coffee spilled on them. I want the pages to curl at the corners from years of use. Sure, there aren’t as many options in a paper cookbook but sometimes I suspect that the endless options our digital world provides create more anxiety than benefit. There are 481 recipes for chocolate cake on allrecipes.com. A google search for +”chocolate cake” +recipe turns up 1,110,000 hits. No wonder many of us feel overwhelmed by choices and “sucked into” the internet. Maybe there’s something nice about pulling out your favorite cookbook and saying “This is the only chocolate cake recipe I have and it’s a really fucking good one.”
web comic provided by nataliedee.com