Photo: -zlaki- (Getty)
For decades now, there has been an inherent wiring in people that has them constantly gravitating further towards idiocracy through their cable television. While it may seem normal to lay wastefully connected to the boob tube simply because everybody with a hangover does it for consecutive seasons of “Game of Thrones,” cable is, in fact, not something we need.
As consumers, we are constantly fed ideas of material importance for things that add little to no value to the quality of our daily lives or self-worth. Just as silly as big, shiny diamonds being held as measuring sticks for a person’s love and devotion to their spouse is the belief that cable is something we cannot live without just because everybody has it and doesn’t question it. But that’s about to change in less than a thousand words.
To begin, let’s establish the facts. There are two types of TV watchers in this world: 1) those who watch their favorite show before moving on with their day and 2) those who endlessly channel surf praying they’ll stumble upon something remotely interesting, like “Unsolved Mysteries” dating back before TVs had remotes – anything to keep them from going outside, exercising or doing something constructive. Sure, we like to think we can help solve these unsolved mysteries, but it’s merely another form of procrastination from an otherwise potentially fruitful lifestyle.
According to Neilsen Company, approximately 1.5 million households dropped their cable services altogether in 2011. That statistic may be due largely in part to the rise of Netflix and Hulu subscribers, along with the growing number of free streaming content online. More importantly, it points to people shifting away from the absurd idea of having more than 900 channels to choose from, with anything from Spanish language “Disney on Ice” to reality shows of people watching cancelled reality shows, a truly mind-blowing new realm of deeper viewer remorse.
Take a moment to imagine your life without cable; what would it look like? Perhaps it would be filled with large amounts of fresh, organic produce surrounding you as you lie poolside with curvy Brazilian women caressing your perfectly groomed mustache and whispering compliments in your ear about your impressive lack of tan lines. If, however, you can’t picture how you would fill the holes of your life previously covered by your local cable provider, then there’s something missing that you might very well need to seek out. As you inevitably lie in your deathbed surrounded by family, you hope their most recurring memory of you isn’t how dedicated you were to not missing an episode of “General Hospital” throughout your life’s entirety.
Oh, and don’t forget the hours of pain and frustration of trying to actually make contact with your cable provider when it all goes to hell. This likely cause of heart attack, stroke, and first-degree murder is the most unconsciousness activities of man, which he can immediately eliminate from his life without a shred of regret. Of course, this may all seem a tad extreme, and an opposing argument may arise inquiring as to the harm in immersing oneself into a few hours of cable television enjoyment after a long day of work, so let us elaborate further.
In 2011, the average American watched more than 20 hours of cable each week, the number one leisure activity of people over the age of 15, according to the Bureau of Labor. While that might not sound like much and although there may be nothing wrong with briefly tuning into your favorite shows between work and hobbies, cable has cleverly become more of a hobby replacement than anything else. What may seem like only a couple hours each day slowly builds into a large portion of your life. On the average, you’re consuming nearly 1,100 hours of mindless cable each year; not exactly small change.
Cable shows have gotten so good at either making quality episodes that resemble long-term movies that we can’t stop watching, or making senseless topics into shows so horrific we can’t look away. Which is why we need to pump the brakes and reevaluate our cable intake. With subscriptions like Netflix and Hulu, viewers can get exactly what they want when they want it at a huge fraction of the cost, and then be done with it, leaving no room for aimless wandering through seven different channels of Lifetime originals.
“But what about my news and sports!? We men must have our news and sports!”
Here’s a startling revelation. Internet subscribers can read news and follow sports online, subscribe to podcasts or even buy an Apple TV with a reasonable sports package for the price of one month of cable. Sports fanatics can go to a bar and watch the game, have a beer with fellow compatriots like the olden days, or use the money saved to go to get wildly drunk and attend a few games in person. Take advantage of the resources at hand instead of always being an all-consuming consumer.
Living vicariously through people out of your living room is not how life was intended to be lived either. Instead of being inspired by people and characters that don’t exist, why not try going out in the real world, away from the irony of reality TV, and getting inspired by someone who’s doing something unique and pure for once? It’s bad enough that Hollywood is full of people being fake for a living; we don’t need people pretending to be fake people, too. That’s just a whole new level of absurdity.
Potentially wonderful things can happen outside your living room, so go explore the terrain and see what you can dig up. Instead of devoting yourself to surfing through daytime talk shows and late night infomercials, take a class covering something you’ve always wanted to learn or take a trip someplace you’ve always wanted to go. You aren’t going to come back and find that life has changed more than you can handle. Just take photos of your travels and post them immediately so it’ll seem like you were never missing from the world for a second.
Humanity today is more advanced in ways we never dreamed possible, but still we hang onto old paradigms without questioning their existence. It’s not so much that we need to remove TV from our lives as much as we need to remove pointless TV, which is the fundamental basis of cable. You know what you like, so watch that and leave the other 890 channels to the people who haven’t caught on.
So before you go watching slow motion reruns of “Breaking Bad,” trying to replicate their meth recipe and ultimately blowing your basement to smithereens, take a moment to consider your alternatives in a world full of endless activities and beautiful women. With summer rounding the corner, you’re not too far from the produce-filled poolside life of a genuinely happy, cable-free mustached man.