Monday, March 20, 2006

Satellite Television: an Allegory?

I received a notice from my home owners association not long ago, and for once, it wasn’t a bad notice. A local satellite distributor was offering a discount rate on digital satellite TV good until 2008, with no installation or equipment fees, and no penalties for leaving after 1 year. Now, I’m a basic cable kind of guy. I need basic cable, but not much more. However, this offer represents a saving versus the basic cable I have, plus much more product. This was an offer I wasn’t going to let pass me by.

So, the installation comes and goes, and I’m happy to have the new system (it takes much better advantage of the sound system I already have in place). Part of this offer is the usual hook to get addicted to more products – all the Stars channels for free for 3 months. And of course, a free preview of the HBO and Cinemax programs for an undetermined amount of time.

So, my Saturday afternoon and evening becomes ‘stare at the boob tube’ time (my wife was away at a conference all day and into the evening, after which she went strait to bed). I watch various movies and such on the ‘free’ previews – National Treasure, Catwoman, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Sin City, Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban, Spider Man 2, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, some of those Cinemax ‘after dark’ programs, etc.

I couldn’t help but notice a bit of a parallel between some of the reading I’ve done, discussed, and the content of various genre message boards. National Treasure = The DaVinci Code (or any formulaic, surficially entertaining but shallower than the average puddle, book), Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is self representative, Catwoman and Sin City = comic books, Harry Potter and LotR as themselves, and Skinemax = vampire erotica?

I further think on things, and begin to appreciate more why I generally prefer reading to watching TV. You see, even with all the new channels and options, some time soon, it will feel like there is nothing interesting on TV (I need not discuss TV’s destruction of imagination). This is not a problem I have with books. There is always another book I want to read.
I did not watch TV on Sunday.

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