august 2003

click here for permalink August 1, 2003

I think I'm experiencing a delayed backlash from the information-overdose phase that peaked in September 2001 when I was spending an unprecedented (and undoubtedly ill-advised) average of 20+ hours/day within hearing/absorbing-range of 80+ cable channels...

...not to mention (even though I am) the incalculable amount of time I spent filling in the blanks (and discovering new ones) through online media sources. For the last two months, however, my daily intake of Current Events has been sharply curbed by the absence of cable television.

These days, working from home and socializing less frequently, I've found myself strangely in the blind-spot of Mainstream Media. What little in the way of Current Events — the Situation/the Information/the Story/the News — does manage to trickle down to me is an increasingly random collage of image fragments, in no particular order of proximity, significance or user preference.

If I'm not actively seeking it out, news comes at me from surprisingly few sources; word of mouth and the free weekly papers. I also take in, at a distance, the Vancouver Sun's cover stories — whatever's above the fold — and the tabloid-worthy headlines of The Province, as seen through their box windows.

I was a major television junkie, in retrospect... after a month had passed, I suddenly realized that not one person had mentioned a single television show to me that entire time. Not once. I used to always bring up whatever was on the night before... something from the news or Conan O'Brien or SNL or some commercial I liked or hated. I was constantly saying, "did you see that show about..." or "oh my god, it's just like that episode of..."

I've started to wonder if anyone ever really knew what I was talking about or if they were all just humoring me...

I actually don't miss it as much as I thought I would. I don't miss the incessant, subliminal injunction to panic. I don't miss having a top ten list of Most Hated Commercials replaying with a frequency that, especially in the case of Herbal Essences, should be regarded as a Human Rights Violation. I didn't even miss Will & Grace until three weeks had gone by and I suddenly had a craving to hear Karen's voice.

Most of all, I don't miss the exorbitant, take-it-or-leave-it-because-we're-a-monopoly cost of cable (although, for some reason, after two months without service I'm still being billed).

Sometimes miss the noise... I really miss Jon Stewart. Come September, I'll be in mourning for The West Wing — but, what am I saying? With cable, I'd be in mourning for The West Wing...

Anyway, I guess it was inevitable; being anti-TV is one of the dominant genetic traits on my Mother's side.