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Subject: A Call to Arms: Ditch your TV!!!! rss

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Martyn Smith
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Its fair to say that I am still rather new to gaming and yet I am increasingly feeling a part of the BGG community. This belongingness is especially acute when: a) I have a query about a game while I am playing it and there is ALWAYS someone out there who'll definitively give me an incisive answer. b) I need a recommendation for a particular game or a type of game. BGGers ALWAYS come up with the goods and haven't 'sold me a dud' yet...

So, in a gesture of goodwill and by way of a testimonial I would like to now call my fellow BGGers to action with a crusade that will free us from a terrible tyranny and unlock uncountable hours of quality time for our one-precious-life.

It really is quite simple:

Geeks of the BGG unite and get rid of your TVs!!!!!

I think that at one level we all know what a heinous waste of time the ol' cathode ray tube is and yet like a particularly pernicious drug we rationalise its use and thereby convince ourselves and others that, for us, its really not an issue.

If you respond in the following way then be warned, you may be almost too far gone to help:

While reading this post and entertaining the possibility of actually doing it, of getting rid of your TV you think/say:

"That's a bit draconian, I don't need to do that - I don't actually watch that much TV..."

This is the primary delusion under which most of us labour. Whenever I tell folk that we've ditched the telly, the invariable response (for 'response', read 'guilty justification') is that: a) they don't watch TV; b) they have it for someone else in the family: the kids, grandma, the dog - anyone but themselves.

You know, to be frank, I think I'd REALLY respect folk a lot more if they just fessed up and admitted it: "get rid of my TV - are you kidding? I just love that thing, its SO entertaining and I watch it every single night - its my main hobby..." Have you ever heard anyone, EVER say something even vaguely like this? Me neither and yet millions upon millions of us spend huge tracts of our precious time glued to this preposterous monstrosity.

I teach philosophy and ethics at secondary school and I get the kids to consider cultural influences in their lives. They all say that the TV isn't a huge one and so I get them to imagine an archaelogical dig at their home in 200 years time.

They have to excavate their living room and draw its contents and lay-out. They soon come to the realisation that almost everything about the room is centred on the TV. All chairs face it, its line of vision is never impaired and the consumption of food is encouraged while sitting dazed in its eerie and yet compelling glow.

In a constructive way this kind of fazes the kids and when they write up what the diggers would conclude about us their findings are usually full of pathos as they reflect on the totemic importance of this previously innocuous box...

We learn a little about Marx and his much-quoted adage that: "religion is the opiate of the masses..." It was an interesting insight and yet, we argue that this notion has been FAR surpassed by the all-encompassing and far more debilitating influence of the TV within modern culture.

The director of MTV was once asked how much he felt that his channel influenced its young watchers: "Influence? We don't influence them, we OWN them...!" Should we laugh or cry at this quote?

Okay, so I am ranting/rambling now so let me bring this thing to a head.

Since we got rid of our TV our lives have literally been revolutionised. I know that this sounds a bit melo-dramatic but no other term will do.

We now spend far more time talking together, as a couple and as a family. We no longer come home tired only to enter an even more soporific state through the passive and energy sapping vaccum that is early evening TV. We have caught up with more friends through the telephone and visiting. We are reading more books. I go out and exercise more regularly. And, of course, we are playing a LOT more games...

So, who is with me?

Who will take the incredibly bold step of actually DOING something about what they know to be true?

Who will join us as we extract ourselves from the all pervasive captivity of this most addictive and unrewarding of 'pass-times' (even this word is charged with dark nuance in this context - just imagine how much time, real-life, once-here-forever gone time we waste on this thing?)

Who of us will lay on our death-beds and croak: "I am so glad and proud to say that during my short stay upon this earth I spent six solid years watching the box..." ????? (this figure is apparently the UK national average of time spent watching TV in a lifetime - the figure, of course, will vary immensely - what do you think yours will be?)

I appeal to you my fellow gamers - among society's cliques surely we are one who, to some degree, who has already staved off the worst of TVs dreaded influence?

So, if a jobs worth doing its worth doing well - come with my wife and I down this path of MOST resistance and do something radical, powerful, life-affirming and life-giving TODAY...

I can categorically guarantee you that you absolutely will NOT regret it. Conversely, I can also guarantee that if you do nothing about this your TV will tighen its grip within the newly given safety of your pandering justifications for owning it and that you will indeed, sooner or much later, regret almost every single moment that you give to this wretched beast...

Also, please don't give your TV the ultimate accolade of 'shooting the messenger' by attacking me on its behalf. I am merely one crying out in the wilderness, offering you your life back, your games back, your family and friends back and much, much more gaming time back - is this really such a troubling message?

What should trouble us much, much more is just how difficult it is to jettison this supposedly unimportant part of our lives.

If it really isn't so powerful or influential why can't we just throw it aside more easily?

Switching it off just isn't good enough and you know it. If it really is so powerful and wasteful and dangerous why would we have it all in our homes?

Okay, I've said more than enough (MUCH more than enough I hear you cry!!)

So, let the abuse and justification begin - but for those with ears to hear and a strong will to act - let FREEDOM and LIBERATION reign and their sweet pleasures catch us up and fulfil our lives right here and right now as this one simple act of fortitude and courage changes almost every single element of who we are and what we do.

The question isn't really: Why should we do this? Instead, it should rather be: Why on earth WOULDN'T we do this?????????

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Wolfgang Zelller
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thechangingman wrote:
It really is quite simple:

Geeks of the BGG unite and get rid of your TVs!!!!!

Hear, hear!

We did this some years ago for the sake of the children who shouldn't grow up getting all that incredible junk and violence into their poor innocent heads.

What can I say: We all feel so much better ever since. We still have our home cinema in the living room which gets the occasional use (maybe once in a week), but all other TV-sets are gone for good.

Gaming (maybe our favourite pastime now) has profited most from the time and attention resources we have been able to set free since we got rid of the TV drug addiction.

So if you ever have been asking yourself how people find time for all of their DIY-projects, here you might have found your answer. At least it is part of the answer where the time for my projects have been coming from lately.

Do it. It may feel strange for some time (about 3 months for us) then you will adapt. And sometime later you might discover what important parts of your life you have regained.

To be honest: Being in front of the internet has also gotten much more time since ditching the TVs, but contributing to BGG is at least an active task involving more than just passively consuming content.
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My TV exists solely for me to watch movies and series on DVD. As such I do not watch TV-channels (my TV does not display any) but I do literally watch TV. Do I count?
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Phil
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Ditch my TV? What will I rig my PC to then? And where to shoot all those Nazis? Tztztz...
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Jacob Fulwiler
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Get rid of my TV? What would I do for the 25 - 30 days a month where I'm unable to play a board game?
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Le-Roy Karunaratne
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I don't have a TV licence (for you people who don't know what that is, I basically don't get any channels). It is used purely for DVDs and gaming. I allocate at MOST an hour a day to play on it on my own. This is usually actually about 1-2 hours a week (I find it really boring on my own). If I play with others I don't mind playing for hours on end as I am still socialising. Even so, this amounts to a maximum of 5 hours a week (I'm busy playing board games instead).
I don't watch DVDs, housemates do.

YES, I'm saying "I don't use it, others do". I know exactly what you mean, it is such a time sink. So I am being truthful, it is very rarely used by me. But I like to have it for when I do have people over and we want something more action oriented to play rather than a board game.

I can discipline myself to not go on it. I have work to do and people to talk to. So, I think it is good to have. In some cases it would be easier to remove altogether as it is a hard habit to break.

Mind you, BGG is a huge time-sink and I won't be ending this any time soon laugh
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thechangingman wrote:
Geeks of the BGG unite and get rid of your TVs!!!!


It's been six years now since I last watched TV.
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Frank Eisenhauer
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Our TV is not hooked up to any kind of receiver and therefore not able to display mindless television. It is however hooked up to our Mac, Home Cinema entertainment centre and WII to be used as a display. I haven't hads a "normal" television since 2001. Nowadays I seem to sink too much time into surving BGG on that same appliance.

Btw: The internet caters to my information needs way better than any TV News Station has for years.
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Russ Williams
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I think I last owned a TV around 1996 or so. I personally know so many people who don't watch TV any more that it's weird to me when I remember that most people apparently spend hours watching TV every day...
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Needle
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Now, how would I watch all my sport?
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David Robert
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Hear, Hear. An eloquently stated plea, and one which I can very much relate to. We terminated our cable subscription five months ago and I haven't missed it yet. We still have the actual television, but we use it in a more conscious manner ( for example, renting a DVD ). My wife and I spend more time talking and just sitting cosily on the couch together, simply enjoying eachother's company. We also play more boardgames, which is never a bad thing, ofcourse. A big fat thumb for you. A pity I can give only one.
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Getting rid of you TV might have had some importance five years ago, but now you'd have to get rid of your phone and computer too before you were truly isolated from that programming. I've arguably watched more "TV" since I stopped receiving broadcast signal to my actual television.
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Green Dan
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I'm often amused by the get rid of your TV argument.
I never see people saying "get rid of all your books" imagine how mush more time you'd have to do OTHER THINGS if you didn't spend all that time reading.
Get rid of your tracksuit and running shoes. Imagine how much time you'd free up to do OTHER THINGS.
Get rid of your board games. Oh, the time you'll find to do OTHER THINGS!
Chuck out your gardening tools, you'll find piles of time to do OTHER THINGS.

So, there are other things you enjoy more than watching TV. There are things I like doing other than watching TV. But I also like watching TV. I have freeview recorder box, So I can record things I like and watch them when I like. Also, my TV has an off button.
Now there are people who watch TOO MUCH TV. There are people who smoke TOO MUCH and drink TOO MUCH and eat TOO MUCH and spend TOO MUCH. That makes it bad. Thats why we say it's TOO MUCH.
Moderation is the key. Not all TV is bad.
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Jason K
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Been there, done that, ages ago. And don't miss the telly one bit.

The internet, however, now that's something I wouldn't be able to live without.
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Martyn Smith
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DeePee wrote:
My TV exists solely for me to watch movies and series on DVD. As such I do not watch TV-channels (my TV does not display any) but I do literally watch TV. Do I count?


Very much so, this is exactly what we do

I went without a TV for 15 years and then got one again two years ago but we are all profoundly bored of it.

We do, however, watch DVD box-sets (at the moment we're on In Therapy from HBO - highly recommended!!) we're just not hooked up to receive a TV signal...
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Martyn Smith
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nnf1 wrote:
Now, how would I watch all my sport?


Ummm, go to a live match?
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Mark Mitchell
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TV’s have had a hugely positive impact on society over the last 30+ years. It’s given people a fantastic range of documentaries; entertainment and a look at the world which particularly the less privileged have never been able to experience. As the new generations come along the emphasis is on interaction whether its computer games or the internet, the TV now is slowly being made obsolete and the poorer quality programming often reflects this as advertisers go elsewhere. However there are many people who still use a TV to watch films, documentaries, and wealth of shows that they download or are on demand so they have preference over what they watch.

TV’s are fantastic for education and if used in a sensible way can help develop understanding in a far more visceral way than a book. You are getting the technology and the programming and social uses of TV mixed up. You are referring to people who put the TV on and stare at it for 3 hours saying nothing while blanking out the usual work related horrors of the day, or plonk the kids in front of it because it’s the easiest thing to do. Yep this goes on but no more than someone playing EVE for 5 hours a day in a sci-fi world feeling like they are truly developing something tangible (apart from new relationships).

I will defend the TV as amazing hardware but will not defend terrible programmes which make me shudder in disgust; then again there is an off switch.

I prefer to say, keep your TV but use it wisely, you only get one life and don’t waste it watching Jordan milking her shallow existence for as much PR as she can get. Or poorly made American documentaries that repeat and pad so much that you’ll hear the same phrases and footage repeated ad nauseam.
It seems rather amusing that this post is on a Boardgame site which is essentially entertainment. Yes it’s a social activity but its quality depends on the game as much as TV watching can be social activity depending on the programme or film being watched.

I have to also add, for me, the biggest waste of time for millions of people is pursuing a dogmatic and restrictive approach to the human condition/reality..but that’s a can of worms that I’m going to leave alone here.

As a footnote,

HBO has produced some of the best programming I have ever watched. My advice is watch 'The Wire' a truly fantastic series. 'Rome' was also a pretty good collaboration with the BBC.

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taiwanite wrote:
Been there, done that, ages ago. And don't miss the telly one bit.

The internet, however, now that's something I wouldn't be able to live without.


And with so much TV content available on the Internet, how does getting rid of the TV really help? Now instead of having that rare family gathering in front of the telly to watch the Superbowl, the Olympics or a family favorite film, Suzy's watching Twilight on her iPhone, Dad's watching college basketball highlights at ESPN.com on his desktop, Johnny's in his bedroom having hacked Mom & Dad's pathetic attempts at filtering watching goodness-knows-what on his laptop and Mom's gone to Walmart to run up the charge card buying useless, shoddily made knick-knacks to fill the space the TV used to occupy. Big improvement, eh?

Two decades ago - pre-Internet - this is an idea that may have affected dramatic social change. Now? The djinni's not living in that big, rectangular bottle in the living room any more.
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Trent Hamm
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The game itself isn't important. Spending time intellectually jousting with likeminded folks is the real reason to game.
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We just have enough willpower to not watch the garbage. We have a television for the sole purpose of weather updates (weather websites are godawful for local updates) since we live in Iowa, which alternates between blizzards and tornadoes. Once in a while, we'll watch something on PBS.
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Trent Hamm
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The game itself isn't important. Spending time intellectually jousting with likeminded folks is the real reason to game.
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Greendan wrote:
I'm often amused by the get rid of your TV argument.
I never see people saying "get rid of all your books" imagine how mush more time you'd have to do OTHER THINGS if you didn't spend all that time reading.
Get rid of your tracksuit and running shoes. Imagine how much time you'd free up to do OTHER THINGS.
Get rid of your board games. Oh, the time you'll find to do OTHER THINGS!
Chuck out your gardening tools, you'll find piles of time to do OTHER THINGS.

So, there are other things you enjoy more than watching TV. There are things I like doing other than watching TV. But I also like watching TV. I have freeview recorder box, So I can record things I like and watch them when I like. Also, my TV has an off button.
Now there are people who watch TOO MUCH TV. There are people who smoke TOO MUCH and drink TOO MUCH and eat TOO MUCH and spend TOO MUCH. That makes it bad. Thats why we say it's TOO MUCH.
Moderation is the key. Not all TV is bad.


The content of books, running, board games, and gardening tools aren't interspliced with advertisements of shiny happy people making you feel guilty about not owning the hot material product of the moment.
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.I've got the microbadge to prove it.

I haven't had a TV in the house for something like 25 yrs...people treat you like you're in a cult when they find out.

I don't know how people find the time to watch very night....but then the internt is a big tim trap as well.
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Green Dan
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trenttsd wrote:
Greendan wrote:
I'm often amused by the get rid of your TV argument.
I never see people saying "get rid of all your books" imagine how mush more time you'd have to do OTHER THINGS if you didn't spend all that time reading.
Get rid of your tracksuit and running shoes. Imagine how much time you'd free up to do OTHER THINGS.
Get rid of your board games. Oh, the time you'll find to do OTHER THINGS!
Chuck out your gardening tools, you'll find piles of time to do OTHER THINGS.

So, there are other things you enjoy more than watching TV. There are things I like doing other than watching TV. But I also like watching TV. I have freeview recorder box, So I can record things I like and watch them when I like. Also, my TV has an off button.
Now there are people who watch TOO MUCH TV. There are people who smoke TOO MUCH and drink TOO MUCH and eat TOO MUCH and spend TOO MUCH. That makes it bad. Thats why we say it's TOO MUCH.
Moderation is the key. Not all TV is bad.


The content of books, running, board games, and gardening tools aren't interspliced with advertisements of shiny happy people making you feel guilty about not owning the hot material product of the moment.


OK, true. Couple of things there though:
a) I can resist adverts, my girlfriend and I budget really well. I work in marketing, so most of the tricks don't work on me. I would be really hard pressed to tell you the last thing I bought due to a advert. (really want Martin Wallaces next game though! Also, never seen that advertised on TV)
b) later in my post you'll notice I say mosy of the TV I watch is recorded, so I can now fast forward the the adverts. (which is a technology that will affect TV in an interesting way in the future).
Edit: C) one day I may even see an advert for somthing I like. Then they'll have done me a favour.
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Jonathan Brumitt
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I have two words that invalidate the OP's argument.


Shark Week.


In all seriousness, it's unfair to assume that there are no people who actually engross themselves in watching TV/playing video games/watching films. After all, people wouldn't waste money on film studies degrees (in all fairness, my bachelors was video production) if they didn't love film so much.

This argument also assumes every single person has something to do without TV's. Not all of us are married or live with roommates/girlfriends/boyfriends. I love board games, but I can't play them every day. While I could just use my computer for a lot of gaming, I'd be missing out on not only the economic efficiency of renting PS3 games, but the PS3 exclusive games that look to be amazing like Heavy Rain. Besides, as a TV and film nut, I'd get annoyed watching a beautiful Blu-Ray HD movie on a tiny 19 inch display.

My point is TV and Film are arts that some people enjoy readily and for very good reason. I'd rather watch Gran Torino on my beautiful flat screen TV than many other things. I don't watch TV to zone out. (I don't even have cable or an antenna. I just use it for boxed sets of TV shows and DVDs and Blu-Rays.) I watch it to engross myself in a legitimate art form I love.

So why wouldn't I get rid of my TV? Because it's my access to a form of art and entertainment I love.
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Mark Mitchell
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The Internet is not just a 'time trap'. How narrow minded is that? The Internet has vast opportunities for trade, communication and interaction between people. Sure if you gonna look at random webpages every day it would be, but for me and many others its an essential financial and communications tool. Its also a social revolution.
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Mark Mitchell
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Also how can you:

Quote:
I teach philosophy and ethics at secondary school and I get the kids to consider cultural influences in their lives.


When you don't watch TV? Also, how can you critique something in a balanced way when you obviously have such disdain and so little experience of it? I can't see a balanced discussion developing from that.

Also OP, just for a note you are a 'Producer' already by posting on this forum. You are contributing to 'wasting' my time discussing this issue when I should be working. You should be ashamed; like the MTV Director you now also 'own' me!. The hyperbole "A Call to Arms: Ditch your TV!!!!" suckered me in like a Tabloid. You sold me that piece of media, it's your fault! now work the ethics out of that!

p.s. Ironcially enough you are holding up a a video edit for one of the major UK media companies that I am currently working on.
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