Monday, July 11th, 2011
112

What Kind Of ‘I Don’t Own A TV’ People Do You Have In Your Life?

You know the tone people employ when announcing that they don’t own a TV. Casually tossed off, yet firmly resolute; it’s the same tone that might be used to dispel any other unflattering misrepresentation (e.g., “Oh, I don’t have syphilis.”). The funny thing is that nobody ever actually asks the question, “Do you own a TV?”

Unfortunately, there are scads of people who seem convinced they’re blowing everyone’s minds with the announcement. Others, meanwhile, manage to keep TV-free homes without ever drawing attention to it. The mere fact of not owning a television does not make a person insufferable (although it certainly does help.) As with so much else in life, it’s the way that the information is conveyed that makes the difference. Sometimes it’s a pre-emptive conversational tourniquet, stanching the flow of any entertainment-related questions to come. Other times it’s a lifestyle signpost, the implications of which are murky at best. And then, of course, once in a while it's a sort of long-form birth certificate that proves one's subscription to The Economist.

In any case, once TV ownership is disavowed, what follows is a weird limbo moment where any number of responses seems appropriate. Do you:
• Empathize? (“I can plainly see why you choose not to own The Devil’s Box.”)
• Confront? (“DO YOU THINK THAT YOU ARE BETTER THAN ME!”)
• Condescend? (“Aw, you’re adorable.”)
• One-up? (“I don’t even know what televisions ARE.”)

It all depends on what kind of ‘I Don’t Have a TV’ person you’ve got.

The Pauper
First up, there’s the person who could probably afford a TV, but definitely can’t afford cable and so isn’t even bothering. To say that his apartment is spartanly furnished would be an exercise in understatement. It sort of looks like the white room in The Matrix (an allusion that many people on this list would claim not to understand). Managing to get along without television is the least of The Pauper's problems, though, and doing so is by no means a political or philosophical statement. The Pauper enjoys watching shows, but frankly, there are more pressing matters on his mind, like getting food and keeping enough clean clothes around to avoid looking like a hobo-clown.

Best response: Extend an open invite to watch TV at your place sometime.

The Shrugger
Not everybody is interested in the same things as everybody else. That’s a given. Some people legitimately have no interest in movies or TV shows and therefore have no need for a television. That’s the Shrugger. It’s not a matter of self-identification, just a personal preference. Perhaps her parents didn’t let her watch TV as a kid and then she never cottoned to it later on. She occasionally enjoys watching shows in a group situation, but just doesn’t really care for the experience overall, and it’s not that big a deal. She recognizes and allows that TV can be an entertaining diversion for some, and she doesn’t begrudge others their viewing habits. Neither does she have any delusions that by forgoing a TV she is making a bid for intellectual sainthood.

Best response: Smile and let her know she’s not missing that much (whether or not you believe this to be true).

The Efficiency Expert
Much like the Shrugger, The Efficiency Expert simply doesn’t have much of an interest in movies and shows, except in her case the indifference stems from an attitude that time spent on such frivolity is an irresponsible waste of a finite resource. By abstaining from that most highly engrossing of all pieces of furniture, she is making a statement that time is money and she's not leaving any money on the table. The Efficiency Expert may have the live-and-let-live attitude of the Shrugger, but may also take a passive-aggressive poke at those who squander their time by tuning in.

Best response: Change subjects, perhaps to the tax code.

The Professor
“You just don’t know, man. You don’t even know. Allow me to detonate some truth-bombs in your mind-shaft. Are you ready for this? Commercials aren’t the crap in between shows—shows are the crap in between commercials. Boom. Take a moment to collect the shattered fragments of your psyche. By turning on your TV, you are bending over in a manner known throughout the animal kingdom as ‘presenting.' Every moment spent sunk into your couch cushions, glassy eyes fixed on 'Total Request Live' or 'Beavis and Butthead,' you’re allowing the indoctrination to continue. You receive messages all day long and make the purchases that perpetuate this consumerist dystopia. The propaganda merchants have locked you into a zombie lifestyle that you aren’t even aware of. Baa, sheep, baa. I want to hear you say it.”

Best response: Pretend that you work for the CIA, and then “recruit” this person on a “mission” to destroy “Time Warner Cable headquarters.”

The Poseur
Of all known varietals of “I Don’t Own a TV” people, The Poseur is definitely the most likely to annoy. Even the most tangential subject matter will prompt this person to mention that thing he doesn’t own, and he seems to equate this lack of ownership with an enlightened, progressive ethos. He may or may not have a job or a band or whatever, but he definitely has a laptop and a thirst for entertainment. For the Poseur, the unspoken second half of the sentence “Oh, I don’t own a TV” is “but I frequently watch stuff online.” Not owning a TV is fine, volunteering that information unprompted is questionable, but doing so when you’re intimately familiar with the third season of "Mad Men" is unacceptable.

Best response: Agree that there’s definitely no way to be aware of the negative aspects of television and also own one. Bring up other messages best enjoyed without considering their mediums, like the football-playing of Michael Vick or the filmography of Roman Polanski. Make sure and let the person know that you only got your TV to better understand what was going on in your Twitter feed.



Joe Berkowitz edits books and writes stuff. He also has a tumblr.

Photo by zzkt.

112 Comments / Post A Comment

usernameguy (#6,640)

I once had a conversation with a shrugger (though he did like movies). We got to talking about baseball, and I mentioned that the minor league team in Albuquerque is called the Isotopes. I was all like, :D, and he was all like, :|. That's when I realized that not everyone my age has seen The Simpsons.

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

@usernameguy Could you look him in the eye after knowing that? I couldn't, I'd be too scared of the hollowness lurking in there.

SeanP (#4,058)

@usernameguy although I do own a TV, it's mostly for my wife and daughter. I guess I'm a shrugger too – mostly I'm just not that into it.

Aloysius (#1,808)

How about the guy who has a television set, and loves watching television, but can't force himself to get out his credit card and order some cable service already.

heroofthebeach (#2,280)

@Aloysius Unnecessary. Between Netflix and all the other shit you can get on your television for free, why pay more?

Megano! (#16,245)

@Aloysius Right? PS3 Media server is a beautiful thing.
I mean OMG I BUY THE BIG CABLE PACKAGE IT IS $200 A MONTH.

@heroofthebeach Because there's always THAT ONE SHOW that you can't get online. It's like they do it on purpose. I just watch it at my brother's house. ;)

Daniel.CLS (#12,167)

"The funny thing is that nobody ever actually asks the question, “Do you own a TV?”

Well, no one proably asks you that question because you have a TV. But about half the people I invite over eventually ask where my TV is. A good number of them proceed to harass me about not having one. That's a lot more annoying to deal with than the handful of people I have ever heard randomly start bragging about not having one.

@Daniel.CLS Thank you. I have gotten so tired of the inevitable question of "What do you do?" that I often just slink away from the topic. Now, I want to respond with "All the things you don't do because you sit on your ass for 30+ hours a week staring at crap you don't even like" but since I would not want to become a "Kind" of person, it's easier to just let it go.

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

@widestanceromance Aw, you’re adorable. I don’t even know what televisions ARE.

LondonLee (#922)

@widestanceromance What do you do then? Because, to be honest, after a day at work I look forward to turning my brain off.

zidaane (#373)

@LondonLee They make lists.

@Daniel.CLS But you are aware there's an invention called the television and on this invention, they show shows?

I'm sorry. I couldn't help myself.

Daniel.CLS (#12,167)

@Tina Steele Wiltzius@facebook Yeah, TVs are cool and people should get them if they want. I don't really care when people give me a hard time about not having one. I just thought it was a little stupid to pretend that "Why don't you have a TV"-people don't exist and aren't just as annoying.

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

@Daniel.CLS that's a reasonable complaint but the "you sit on your ass for 30+ hours a week staring at crap you don't even like" is where you went down that smug insulting road. I love watching baseball and x-files (cheesy show example) for about 8 hours a week, muting commercials when I can.

I have friends without TVs, so I'm allowed to make fun of the TV-less.

SidAndFinancy (#4,328)

@widestanceromance "It never occurred to him that one ought to do something."

– Ford Madox Ford

finguns (#16,217)

@LondonLee We have a TV (mostly because my husband and I both felt like assholes every time we told someone we didn't) but it is rarely on. For me, I grew up without TV, a function of living in the boondocks in the pre-satellite dish days. TV just isn't relaxing to me. It feels like hearing a lecture from a very boring teacher, I desperately want to tune out, but am terrified I'll miss that one detail that will show up on the exam. My husband, though, grew up with TV on all. the. time. and occasionally truly loves to turn it up, get stoned, and fall asleep in front of it. Different strokes, man.

@whizzard Actually, I'm the smug asshole, not Daniel.CLS. This is what I think sometimes, not say out loud, and it is in response to having reactions to my tv-less life border on the psychotic.

@Daniel.CLS I was just teasing you with a quote from Pulp Fiction. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTAh_ih8oCA At 2:00.

collier (#13,548)

@Daniel.CLS : I don't own a tv either. I paint, I knit, I sew, reupholster stuff, design floor plans for my future dream house, play with the dog, play with the parrot, play cards, play on the internet.

Oh, and I watch a fucking shit-ton of stuff on Netflix Instant and Hulu on my laptop.

Squid (#16,354)

@Daniel.CLS – Exactly. No one asks me if I have a TV, they just assume I'm familiar with some TV show, and then it comes out when I look at them blankly. Then they often act like I'm some kind of mutant. Which is fine, that doesn't actually bother me. Some friends say I was raised by bears. None of it makes me wish I did have a television, either.

taigan (#11,267)

@LondonLee I veg by reading. Every now and then I read something literary or in the nonfiction family, but mostly it's mass market fiction for me. I find that much more engaging than most tv programs, although I do watch the tv or Netflix when I'm knitting/crocheting and need some sound in the room.

mishaps (#5,779)

As an Old, I can assure you that the Poseur was just as annoying before he could watch things online.

City_Dater (#2,500)

@mishaps

My lord yes. He would inevitably invite himself over to the home of TV-owning friends whenever something popular and much-discussed was on, and then be all "Oh, do you watch this? You know, I don't even own a TV and have no idea what the fuss is about, but I'll just sit here and keep you company."

Bittersweet (#765)

@mishaps: The worst these days as an Old and a Mother is the "We don't own a TV" parents who invariably believe you're a terrible caregiver for letting your kids watch TV. Their kids are invariably the ones who come over and want to do nothing else.

finguns (#16,217)

@Bittersweet This. Kids from houses like that are the ones who get in my car and pitch fits and whine to watch something, even after my own kids tell them our car's "TV" only works on long trips to grandma's house and that it won't come on for the 7 minutes it takes to get to school. And even worse are the "we don't own a TV" parents who believe it is entirely appropriate to let your 4 year old watch some scary as shit Japanese anime cartoon on their laptop during a playdate. My kids' school seems to be full of those assholes, which makes me wish I could find Dora themed toilet paper with which to TP their indie sanctimonious houses in my free time lying awake after the adrenalin rush brought on from hearing my kid in the throes of another anime-induced night terror.

hockeymom (#143)

The Poseurs are the worst. Smug, condescending and often, no fun at all. Frankly, I don't care if you don't watch TV. I also don't care why you don't watch TV (well, I do care if the reason you don't watch TV is because you can't afford a TV. Because that's not good).

In my non-scientific studies I have not found a correlation between lack of TV viewing and intelligence.
I have found a correlation between lack of TV viewing and being annoying as hell.

Werner Hedgehog (#11,170)

I live with a TV set, but mah Old Lady is the one who handles the remote and manages the Netflix queue. I'll hang out and watch and enjoy it just fine, but I'm really ambivalent with regard to these things. I'm like a 'shrugger' but not completely disengaged.

MattP (#475)

"I don't have a smartphone" is fast becoming the "I don't have a tv" of our time.

Tuna Surprise (#573)

@MattP – Alternatives:
I'm not on Facebook
Why I deleted my Facebook account

iantenna (#5,160)

@MattP i was totally smug about not having a cell phone until, like, 2004. nowadays, i compulsively check my email while pooping. from one kind of asshole to another (no pun intended).

Tyrantanic (#13,751)

@MattP those of us too poor to afford cable are also likely unable to afford a data plan

LondonLee (#922)

@MattP Oh great, now I have to get a smartphone just to avoid turning into one of *those* people?

SeanP (#4,058)

@Tuna Surprise although I haven't actually deleted my Facebook account, I've been tempted. Not because I'm a shrugger, efficiency expert, or poseur, but because Facebook continues to screw up regarding privacy. I've already taken out virtually every bit of personally identifiable information from FB, because I don't trust them to deal with it responsibly.

Kevin Knox (#4,475)

@MattP The difference there is that it's people who do have an iPhone or an android or whatever that are likely to announce it loudly and often. The rest of us just make and receive calls, send texts, and live with the acceptance that our telephone is only a telephone.

@iantenna I stopped pooping in 2007.

If people say "I don't have a TV", I just answer "Me neither! I just spend all day staring at the pictures of those people who live inside my head", then laugh uproariously until they get nervous and leave me alone.

The Nerd
Owns a TV but doesn't even get basic cable. TV is relegated to an XBox / Netflix peripheral.

Full disclosure : I play the everloving shit out of that XBox, damn. I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR XBOX AND TV TOO, PEOPLE.

ohmarshmello (#16,303)

@Gef the Talking Mongoose A-hah! I was wondering where I fit here… only instead of xbox I have the wd-live and a dvd player. One for streaming the Netflix, and one for the good stuff they hold back from the streaming!

keisertroll (#1,117)

I don't have a TV. I AM A TV.

kneetoe (#1,881)

I don't own or operate computers.

hockeymom (#143)

@kneetoe I also stay away from the Victrola and that funny, crank up thing Henry Ford came out with. Please reply to this post via telegram or Pony Express.

kneetoe (#1,881)

@hockeymom: Why aren't you responding to my smoke signals?????

katherine (#10,025)

What about the Lazy? Kind of like the Shrugger, except she'd be totally OK with watching TV if any of the shows she wants to watch weren't 100-hour commitments that look really daunting from the outside without any prior engagement.

SeanP (#4,058)

@katherine Yeah, there are definitely elements of the Lazy in me. I can't be bothered to try to figure out an entire season long story arc.

Kevin Knox (#4,475)

@katherine Which is why I do own a tv, don't have cable, and watch everything on DVD a season at a time. It's a great rainy weekend filler.

Legs Battaglia (#2,484)

What about, "I don't own a TV AND I don't know what Hulu is! I called it hula!" What's the proper response to that :/

SeanP (#4,058)

@Legs Battaglia "You're so adorable. I don't even have electricity".

@Legs Battaglia : "So, how's Dad?"

goodiesfirst (#3,448)

Obviously, poseurs are the worst, but what about those people who do own TVs but only watch past seasons of TV shows on Netflix? And care about spoilers. I want to to ruin everything for them.

LondonLee (#922)

I think of myself as a Bitter

atipofthehat (#797)

I say "I don't own a television machine" in an affected voice.

Then I ask: "What show's that from???!"

fleetinglimpse (#252,179)

@atipofthehat

Oh, that's easy. The Dick Van Dyke Show, where some snooty say it to Rob Petrie.

So Sorry about the delay (2 years, 4 months), but I remembered the line, then went on google to see if I could track down the episode, and the the only decent hit on got on the quote was yours.

Clare (#516)

My response to an "I don't have a TV" person would be "Did you know that Saint Clare of Assisi is the patron saint of television?"

E (#14,552)

What about the Laptop TV Addict who made an impression that she was a Poseur, because people come to her house and think, "wow! No TV!" and then later on everyone is standing around saying things like, "did you guys read the New Yorker Profile on the children of the Iraqi War?" and then she ruins her reputation forever by saying, "Nope, but I started watching this great show called Love in the Wild. It's like Survivor crossed with the Bachelor!"

What should she do to seem sophisticated again? She doesn't have a radio, or a car, but she's not against downloading some NPR if that's what it takes to get back on track with her people.

At least that's what a friend of mine wants to know.

lbf (#2,343)

@E That person should download the "Pop Culture Happy Hour" podcast. It's NPR and trashy-pop as hell, all highbrowing the lowbrow. It lets me keep up with what they've dubbed "regrettable television" without watching TV or living in the US. Like, I don't even speak English.

girlwearingglasses (#16,056)

i find the best response to the professor is to explain that even after reading "amusing ourselves to death", "claims to fame", "the medium is the message" and taking several classes in college that i based my thesis on….i still love tv like no one else i know. and it seems hypocritical to not participate in popular culture and then claim to know anything about it.

and to the poseur i act wildly surprised that they don't own a tv and then talk about how we live in "the golden age of television" and how currently tv shows are better than movies. and then i list examples and what other friends and critics have said…. and then they feel pretty stupid about the whole thing because they end up admitting that they do in fact watch every show i am talking about and actually agree with me.

to the pauper, shrugger and efficiency expert….i just shut my mouth, because i'm not a jerk.

live your life the way you want, just don't make me feel like i need to live it the same way….and i'll do the same for you.

SidAndFinancy (#4,328)

@girlwearingglasses

Man in Theatre Line: Oh, really? Well, it just so happens I teach a class at Columbia called "TV, Media and Culture." So I think my insights into Mr. McLuhan, well, have a great deal of validity!

Alvy Singer: Oh, do ya? Well, that's funny, because I happen to have Mr. McLuhan right here, so, so, yeah, just let me…
[pulls McLuhan out from behind a nearby poster]
Alvy Singer: come over here for a second… tell him!

Marshall McLuhan: I heard what you were saying! You know nothing of my work! You mean my whole fallacy is wrong. How you got to teach a course in anything is totally amazing!

girlwearingglasses (#16,056)

@SidAndFinancy yes! this is why i also defend woody allen!

myfanwy (#1,124)

Great! Now do this analysis for vegetarians. Also, people who don't vote.

hman (#53)

@myfanwy Oh boy, yes.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@myfanwy As everyone knows, vegetarians can all be lumped into a single category: Adolf Hitler.

LondonLee (#922)

@hman And people who ride bikes to work

@myfanwy I was thinking the same thing as I was reading this! See also people who only buy organic (except switch Pauper for "people who can just afford to and don't make a fuss about it").

hman (#53)

I've dated a Shrugger and a Professor, and boy, they are both terrible.
(Heya Michael, what up Stan!)

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

I was the ultimate poseur until I got "in the family way". Now, not only do I "own a television", I even have a fucking car. Just shoot me.

cat (#16,254)

@Niko Bellic it's ok man. it's ok to have a car. i thought you were going to write "i have every fucking disney dvd ever made" which is way worse than having a car.

lbf (#2,343)

@Niko Bellic you could have gotten a cargo bike, or as they're known to the initated, a "smugness flotilla".

Ahem. I say the following in my native-born USA-American accent: "Oh, I have a TV but I only watch shows online because I don't want to pay the license fee." Boom. "The X-Pat." I actually also have a really cheap and shitty internet so I on't really get to do that either. But I totally would. Thing is I'm the biggest TV nut I've ever met. Back in NYC I had a big old tv someone gave me but I couldn't afford cable so I watched hours and hours of Korean soaps (which I hate) and Mexican soccer (which I hate more than life itself) just to have the Love Box on and keeping me marginally alive and engaged.

Ben Dale@facebook (#16,218)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fA9sJ3LBwg Notice I didn't call it TV because TV is a nickname and nicknames are for friends, and television is no friend of mine.

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

But reality TV is the worst kind, right?

melbouc@twitter (#11,405)

@whizzard Oh God, probably. I fall into the category of People Who Do Own a TV But Who Only Watch A Couple of Reality TV Shows and Could Honestly Just Make Do With CTV and CBC. Which, I guess, makes me The Loser. (And The Canadian, but.)

Rollo (#3,202)

It looks like some people who love TV are kind of insecure about it!

NinetyNine (#98)

Remember when The Awl was too smug to write about things that were popular on television? Yeah, me neither.

sevanetta (#14,222)

I suppose this makes me a Shrugger, although I love seeing the smug condescension coming from this article that says non-tv watchers/owners are generally smug and condescending.

Seriously, it's just not that interesting, and I don't care if you want to watch it, so why do you care if we don't? And every 'I don't own a tv' I have ever said has been prompted by the looks of complete puzzlement, as if you have suddenly grown another head, after someone says 'Blah blah happened on blah blah tv show and it was so blah' and I said, 'Oh, I haven't seen that.' What else are you supposed to say? People clearly want an explanation. I haven't seen it, because I don't own a tv.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@sevanetta You are poseur, and here is why: "I don't own a TV" is not a reason, it's a label you wear with pride. If you really wanted to provide people with a reason, you would go past "I don't own a TV" and go straight to the root of it: why don't you own a TV? Because that's the real reason you haven't seen any given TV program (i.e: I don't like to spend time watching TV, I don't like how the TV box looks like in my room, etc.). People are puzzled, not by your lack of TV, but by your showing them a label instead of telling them why you don't watch TV. It's as if you told them: "I'd watch the show, it's just for some inexplicable reason, there is no TV set in front of my sofa". Puzzling, for sure.

@Niko Bellic No, no, no, a poseur because the real answer is not "I haven't seen it because don't have a tv" but just "I haven't seen it." There's lots of tv, having a tv doesn't mean you see it all. Adding in the "I don't own a tv" is what takes it to the next level.

SeanP (#4,058)

@My Number Is My Address although, I've been in the situation where a show comes up, people talk about it, I say "I've never seen it". Talk turns to another show, people talk about it, me: "never seen that one either". At some point, I get some variation on: "well, what DO you watch?". I actually do own a TV, I just don't watch it much. But sometimes I feel like I'd perceived as less of a weirdo if I lied and said "I don't own a TV".

People seriously do think it's strange if you don't know anything about popular television shows, and they're going to ask you why. What would you like the non-TV-owners to say?

@SeanP "Does anybody have a TV I could borrow?" or "Where's the nearest Best Buy?" or "TV? Is that the one with the Twitter or the one with the Regis?" Any number of things. The important thing is to be yourself and if they judge you because you don't watch enough TV then they are not your real friends. Honestly I have never been in a situation where anyone was judged harshly for not having a TV or not watching popular programs. Except elementary school.

Lisa512k (#236,759)

@Niko Bellic: You wrote: " "I don't own a TV" is not a reason, it's a label you wear with pride. If you really wanted to provide people with a reason, you would go past "I don't own a TV" and go straight to the root of it: why don't you own a TV?"

Um, no, you don't actually need a reason NOT to purchase a TV: that's the default position (since most apartments and houses don't come with TV's). What one needs is a reason TO bother to go out and purchase a TV (such as you enjoy TV and find it relaxing, you want to keep up with what your friends are talking about, you feel you learn a lot from it, you feel a living room is incomplete without one, you really like a certain show, etc.). I grew up in a home with a TV and my family watched (and still watches) it frequently, but I just personally never got into it. I don't think it's wrong or misguided to watch TV, but it simply doesn't do much for me. I'm not anti-TV, and perhaps there will come a point in my life where I will decide I want to purchase one. But there's no "root of it" or any sort of mysterious "real reason" why I don't have a TV: I simply don't have one.

cat (#16,254)

this article is silly. the new "i don't have a tv" is "i don't have a computer" or "i don;t have an iphone" or "i don;t use the internet. at all. ever." (if anyone is like that, though they are either really elderly or have been in jail for internet related crimes before.)

cat (#16,254)

and anyway, the internet is WAY worse than tv for wasting time…..sucks you in way worse, making you think what you are doing is actually worth something, like posting comments means anything to my gray little life….sigh….

Tulletilsynet (#333)

@cat
Truth here.

Trust me, you sound way schmuckier talking about how funny The Office is.

osmium (#7,705)

I never learned to read can someone explain this blog article to me?

Tulletilsynet (#333)

Even if I did buy a TV, I'd still be insufferable. But then I'd have no excuse.

elly jonez@twitter (#16,278)

in san francisco, people definitely do ask you "do you own a tv?"

Tulletilsynet (#333)

"Your culture is so unimpressive to me that I go out of my way to ignore its principal medium."

Yeah, I could see how that would put a person on the defensive.

To all of you smug TV-lovers here, you should try googling "TV" and "brain cancer." The results may surprise you.

@Butterscotch Stalin Is google a tv show? No? Then sorry, I'm busy; I own a tv.

I might fall into the Poseur category, but I'm not entirely sure. See, my reason for not owning a TV is because when I have one, I find myself easily seduced into watching blindly, even things that I hate. There ARE TV shows I enjoy–which I purchase from iTunes or have a standing date to watch at a friend's house, but my sole reason for not having a television set is because I know that I, personally, have no self control when there is one here.

SeanP (#4,058)

@Marie Braden@facebook I'm kind of the same way. I'll find myself staring at the TV even during things I don't like. Even the damn commercials, for heaven's sake. So I just stay out of the TV room.

Susanna@twitter (#16,325)

It's kinda of hard to maintain a shruggy attitude when all you get for 20 years is "OMG you don't own a tv?! What kind of freak are you? What do you do all day? Urrghhhh you're not even human!"
Which is quite annoying, when you just aren't too fussed on watching stuff with adverts that you can watch on your laptop without in your own time. Unless it's Doctor Who, in which case I am coming over your house or watching it illegally online OR SOMETHING BECAUSE I CAN'T WAIT THAT LONG.
But yes, everyone demands an explaination and tries to persuade you to get one and I'm like shush. I like reading more. I used to pretend I actually had a tv for years because I couldn't be bothered to explain it.

Nick Douglas (#7,095)

Joe, you're fired.

Tulletilsynet (#333)

People who don't own a TV are like atheists.

"Funny you should mention God. I haven't had a god since 1992. Haven't missed a damned thing."

chazpf (#10,843)

@Tulletilsynet I wish I could like this a hundred times

Cobalt (#7,571)

In the old days, Poseurs that had TVs tried to disguise them or hide them away in shame, used them mainly to watch movies, and then claimed that they spent their free time reading and doing more "important" things.

GailPink (#9,712)

TV is awesome. I wish mine was even bigger than it is.

I don't have a TV AND always ask people if they own one… and then I ask them if they have cable… and then I say "Invite me over!!! let's watch the stories together!!!" so what kind of non-TV owner am I?

Bobette1Le (#16,491)

Nice post

i hate this article with all my heart. reminds me of some david brooks, particularly the bobo book. fuck you awl! it's all PROPAGANDA FOR CAPITALISM AND WE NEED DELIBERATIVE FORMS OF MEDIA, NOT ADMINISTRATIVE ONES. read some mcchesney or some paul starr and add this rant to your typology as "pissed off non-professor who believes in democracy"

I am one of those 'no tv' people. its not that I don't have a tv, its just that I ONLY WATCH MOVIES. you have no idea how many times people will say 'oh did you see thus and such commercial' or 'who do you think is going to win dancing with the stars this season?' and I have to tell them that I don't watch TV and thus have no idea what they are talking about. (OK maybe i have some idea but I'm not watching those commercials for a reason; do i really have to hear you give me a play by play?) I find it to quickly turn embarrassing and complicated ANY TIME IT COMES UP because people have to follow up with 20 questions about how could i possibly know whats going on in the world and what i do with my spare time…

Anarcissie (#3,748)

I have a problem like Amber's. I have no TV. At times I am forced to mention this fact — usually it's insistence that I watch some show or other — whereupon the other party makes a Big Deal about it. On three occasions people, in one case people much poorer than I, have insisted on giving me TVs because they thought I was cruelly deprived. (I passed them on to the TV-needy.) I have never figured out how to deal with this. I don't understand why TV is like a religion with so many people.

Mook (#173,083)

Ugh I hate it when couples, married couples or just plain "those people" that always think TV is BAD and or say the I don't have TV!! Yeah well then SHUT UP!! It makes it soooo uncomfortable when those people say the I don't watch TV or don't have TV cause it makes the conversation about them. Then if you the (according to them) (bad person) for having a TV (actual technology)bring up the I have a tv they the NON TV owners try to make the conversation about them. Like well I don't own a TV so without them saying it, they are essentially saying I'm better than you tone of voice. Don't effin preach to US that TV is bad and go off on why you don't own a damn tv and think oh all this technology is BAD. Were not in the 1900's dumb a**es!! Were in the 21st century and technology is all around us!! So embrace it!! Books are going digital, movies are going digital, music is all digital!! So you lame a**es that try and hide from all the technology cause you think it's "bad" get real!!! You non TV owners think it's all great and all but it actually chases off people cause you non TV owners have this so negative, depressing attitude.

Man it makes it so uncomfortable, awkward and so not enjoyable cause the people that don't like tv it's like trying to make it so you like what they like. TV is not BAD and doesn't mean you watch it all the time. If you don't like TV keep it to yourself don't go on talking about how TV is bad to your friends or house guests that just makes for a very uncomfortable visit. If I want to watch TV I will, we are grown up's not little kids.. It's the 21st century not the 1900's where one doesn't have tv… Technology EXISTS, DEAL WITH IT!!! So don't you DARE tell us what we can and can't do. If we like TV we like TV!! If you don't own a damn TV then keep it to yourself. The conversations with the non TVers are so damn uncomfortable cause the minute we bring up a conversation such as oh did you hear about this and that, the non TV owners then has to bring up the oh I don't know I don't own a TV. That immediately shuts the person and the conversation down and it's then all about you. Oh how your so DAMN SPECIAL CAUSE YOU DON'T OWN A TV!! SHUT UP, JUST SHUT UP!! If you don't want to be informed with the world then go live in a cave!!

Mook (#173,083)

Also the NON Tver's also have this attitude of oh I get sooo much more done look at me I accomplished so much more than you people with TV's. Yeah SO EFFIN what. So what your (non TV'ers) are saying is your basically workaholics, or you the (no tver's) have to brag about oh I went out and did this and this. Yeah well we people that have technology did the same thing.

Also re: Amber Denison: You make the TV people our point when you say oh I don't know about that commercial, that tv show, or that news cause I don't have a tv. It makes the conversation all about you cause you bragged about how you don't have a tv, you didn't hear about that and this. It immediately shuts people down cause we the tv people had something to talk about but the minute you non tver's hear us say somthing like did you hear about that you non tver's try to immediatly shut down the conversation cause you think tv is bad. You non Tver's turn people off and make house guests so uncomfortable cause the conversation has to revolve around you cause you don't own a tv or don't know what's going on in the world!!

Lisa512k (#236,759)

@Mook: Why do you assume that all people who don't own a TV want to make this a topic of conversation? If someone asks me something about a TV show, I always respond that I have never seen that particular show and do not mention that I don't have a TV at first. However, sometimes such people will follow up with questions about 2 or 3 other shows, and when I also don't know anything about them, they ask, "Well, then what DO you watch?" At that point, I admit that I don't have a TV. The other person then typically follows up with, "And why not?", but if you don't ask that question, the conversation won't shift to me. The ball's in your court.

Many non-TV watchers are quite well informed about current events since there are other sources (print newspapers, e-papers, radio, magazines, the internet) for that information. They are also not necessarily technophobic as can be seen by the fact that many of them commented here on the internet (and many take advantage of digital books or music as well). They might even watch movies or the occasional sporting event at a bar or a friend's house. They are not all workaholics nor are they all judgmental of those who do watch TV. They also don't necessarily think that not watching TV is any sort of special accomplishment that they should brag about. I would guess that the majority of them simply happen to have other interests and hobbies that they personally find more interesting than TV. What ever happened to live and let live?

I have absolutely no problem with people choosing to spend their time watching TV, but I resent many of the attitudes you attribute to all of those who don't have a TV. In fact, look at your post, it seems that YOU are the one saying that you are better than me because you have a TV. I consider myself technologically sophisticated, well-informed about current events, a good hostess to my houseguests, and a good conversationalist about many topics other than TV. If my friends are talking about a TV show or commercial, I don't butt in and try to squelch or dominate their conversation, but I can hardly be expected to contribute either. I just keep my mouth shut until the conversation drifts to a topic that I can say something about. I would never dream of telling others what they can't or can't do with their free time, and I respect the fact that other people like TV. Will you respect the fact that I don't?

i love tv
but i got rid of it just to brag about it to my tv watching friends
it helps me with my sense of superiority
but it isnt enought to bring it up ocassionaly, i make a point of regularily starting conversation with: "as you know i don't watch tv, as i am not one of you simpler folks, last wednesday i went to the opera/theater/museum/gallery…"
then i watch the jaws drop as i bask in my own shmugness

i really really miss all the amazing tv shows like jerry springer judge judy the reality tv all those xfactors and other nice casting shows or the office and parks and recreation all those extremely funny shows like two and a half men, i really miss those, but rubbing my non-tv watchin superiority in everyone's face makes it worth wile

gosh i am so much better than you tv watching folks

kerschmidtlap (#267,665)

Television irritates me. Call it irrational if you like but that's where it is. I don't even like the sound of it. If I walk into a room with the furniture arranged around a television, I'm automatically counting minutes and checking my watch so I can get the hell out. To enter a woman's home and find the TV as the prominent feature of the living room is a deal breaker. Why should I watch the product of someone else's imagination when I could be expanding my own? Why should I listen to the opinion of people who make their living by pretending to be something they are not?

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