Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Hello Out There in TV Land!

I'm not a TV addict by any means. While I was in seminary I rarely watched TV. I had no time! During the day I was either in class or at work, and in the evenings I was either in class or studying or spending time with my son. TV was one of those things I gave up during seminary, like contact lenses, obedience training my dog and building my garden railroad.

I never was a big TV watcher. In high school I'd watch Emergency!, and my mom, my sister and I had our Sunday evening habit of 60 Minutes and Masterpiece Theater (yeah, the whole family's geeks--and proud of it!). And on one memorable occasion, before the days of stereo TV's, the local PBS station simulcast Bernstein Mass--I stayed up late to watch it. But mostly, it was the movie of the week if it was good, maybe Jeopardy! or the morning news shows when we had a blizzard. Otherwise--meh. I was a reader.

This was true for a very long time. My roommates and I didn't have a TV in our room in the dorm, and my ex-husband and I were married for four months before we got a TV. Then we went overseas where all we had was AFN (since I wasn't fluent in German). It wasn't until my son was about a year old, during Desert Storm/Desert Shield, that I started watching TV regularly. By that time, AFN was showing the morning news shows (at noon in Germany, but still) and Nightline and kids shows in the morning. We had our lineup of Nightline, AFN news, Sesame Street, then at noon the Today Show. Even then, I didn't have to see it every morning.

Shocking secret and possibly TMI--I never had a TV in my bedroom until I got together with DP. She always had, and so we did (we also each brought a TV, so we had one for the bedroom).

Now? It's the Today Show in the morning (rarely all of it; usually part of it in the middle), and then sometimes Dr. Phil or Ellen in the afternoon if I need a break. The news in the evening, with Jeopardy!. After that, I've found myself watching more TV than I want to admit, especially the reality shows... I know they are edited for maximum drama and slanted to make you like or dislike people at the drop of a hat, but still... Amazing Race and Biggest Loser and The Apprentice and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Three Wishes...but NOT Martha Stewart's Apprentice (that's a whole 'nother rant!). And Thursdays, the congregation knows not to call unless it's an emergency--Will and Grace, The Apprentice, ER... Of course, on Wednesdays there's West Wing and Law and Order.

So what is all this in aid of? I'm wondering if it's a good idea. Perhaps the very fact that I'm wondering means it's not good. I can rationalize it and say I need to keep up with popular culture and what my congregation is interested in, but that's what it is--a rationalization.

I am a reader--I get up early to get reading done. I read during lunch. So why am I so wrapped up in TV?

Is it escapism? It's easier to passively sit and watch TV than read or work (there's always something I could be doing). On the other hand, usually I've escaped by reading.

Is it because DP likes TV? That may be part of it--on the other hand, she's as likely to spend her evening updating her website or baking as she is in front of the TV (except Thursdays, of course!).

Well, I don't have an answer right now. But for sure I'm going to get off the computer and read (until time for West Wing, anyway...).


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terri c said...

Just wandered over from revgalblogpals; love your stuff; what denomination are you? I'm a seminary student, MCC. Your post brought back fond memories of 'Emergency' (imagine). All best to you, TO, and DP.

Rainbow Pastor said...

Hey Terri--
I'm MCC as well. Where are you attending seminary? I went to Wesley in DC.

LutheranChik said...

Greetings, RP! Come visit my blog sometime!

I too find myself watching more television now than I ever have before, despite my best attempts not too...actually, I multitask -- watch TV and play on the 'puter. (Although right now, I'll have you know, I am watching Michael Wood on PBS, exploring Ethiopia to find the historical Queen of Sheba. So this is education.;-))

Clarence Darrow--Beyond Scopes and Leopold & Loeb

Personalities fascinate me--people do. One way I try to understand history and places is through people--which is why I love good histor...