Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Picture Paints

I was once on a team in a game where we had to identify characters and situations from 1970s and 1980s television shows. We called ourselves Misspent Youth and we thoroughly trounced the other team.

During the 70s and 80s, I recall many occasions when I would slip into the cool basement of our house and turn on the television - only to be caught once again by my mom and sent back outside to play. I watched every episode of The Flintstones ever made on my lunch breaks (followed by the creepy Uncle Bobby and then The Trouble with Tracy.) Friday nights meant Love Boat, Dallas, and Falcon Crest.

With the advent of the Internet, my three children and my fiction writing, my media habits changed. What went by the wayside was chiefly television watching (and newspaper reading - I always felt guilty about the ever-accumulating, never-read piles of paper wasted on my behalf.)

People reference commercials - "egg management fee" - and I have no idea what they are talking about. They mention characters and shows and I don't get it. Even the occasional show I do like, more often than not, I read the plot summaries on the Internet the next day.

(I did watch the world's most bizarre game show when we were in Italy, but I'm not sure that counts.)

When I was in Florida last month, I saw my first actual footage of the Gulf oil spill. I had seen photos, but this was the first video footage I had seen.

In the last three weeks, the world has been on tenterhooks, watching what's happening in Egypt. I too have been following the story with baited breath and lifted prayers - but not with my eyes.

It wasn't particularly a moral decision to stop watching television, so much as a time crunch. But, I'm thinking I may have been making a mistake in not choosing to spend a bit more time watching television, at least lately.

I don't want to hear about every single crime committed anywhere. I don't need to hear which celebrities burped. I don't need to know what the Leafs' latest plan is to bolster their hockey team.

But, somehow, I feel I've missed out on participating in important events in our world by failing to allow the images of those events to sink into my mind through my eyes.

And so, weirdly, I'm committing to watching more television. To be a better global citizen. And, truthfully, because I do find The Big Bang Theory quite funny.

A friend posted the following on Facebook today. Whether you've watched every moment or not for the last few weeks, you will find this a moving and important collage of images of the birth pangs of a new Egypt.

1 comment:

  1. It's the people around the world that capture my heart and send me looking for a screen to watch, to participate in their struggles for justice, freedom, a future and a hope- and putting a face and voice to these people is what TV can do for me, which helps me pray. I was so glad that my hosts in the Bahamas had a TV this past week, so I could celebrate with the Egyptians!