Sunday Jan 21st
THOUGHTS ON TELEVISION.......
At last, a fresh cold day with lovely winter sunshine. Cycled to Sutton to return book to library - they have a box where you can drop it in when the library is closed. Back for Mass where I was only just about in time and slid into a pew where a nice girl shared her hymn-book with me. The 11.30 in our parish has all the sung parts in Latin with a rousing Credo and Pater Noster led by the choir.
In today's Mail on Sunday (not a paper I usually read, but I bought a copy to see what it was like) the splendid Peter Hitchens urges everyone simply to get rid of their television sets. The mindless,vulgar and inane rubbish that pours out most of the time is depriving millions of the power of normal commonsense thought and speech, to say nothing of reducing their capacity to read.(All this sparked, of course, by the "Big Brother" debacle....the horrible programme has actually threatened our relationship with India....)
Well, I've been grateful for TV at various times and of course I have used it often enough: as readers of this blog will know, I've taken part in TV debates on issues ranging from the Holy Father's Regensburg speech to the future of Church schools. But....we don't have a TV and I don't want one.
I once sat on a (charity) committee where the ladies had to organise things around watching the Wimbledon tennis on TV, and where any suggestion for an evening committee was met by squeaks of "Oh, but that's my night for..." "ooooh, do you watch that? Well, my favourite is...." I was one of the few women with a full-time job and they all regarded themselves as frightfully busy.
"How do you cope without a TV?" "What do you do all evening?" We talk, read, write things, deal with letters, enjoy music, have friends round. We go to talks and concerts and meetings , visit friends. We go for evening walks. We make buttered toast and have mugs of chocolate (winter) or barbeque sausages and sit by lantern light in the garden drinking wine (summer). We use the Internet and the radio and (very occasionally) watch a DVD on a TV monitor which isn't connected to a TV set. (This involves reorganising the furniture and setting the thing up specially as we have no nproper space for it).
I grew up with TV, watched a lot in my teens, and know very well that it has its part in family life. I remember with huge pleasure the children's TV programmes that were part of a happy suburban childhood and often full of good things (messy recipe for Blue Peter chocolate-biscuit cake was a favourite for years...). But with the invention of video and DVD, with radios and computers and IPODS, do we really all have to have our lives programmed by TV operators and their agenda? Isn't it time to move on?