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Realizing that TV is adding to my depression & anxiety
June 24, 2009
1:48 pm
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truthBtold
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Hello everyone,

Sometime ago I ran across a website: Turn off your TV.com and thought it had s ome pretty interesting stuff there - but then reverted back to my old ways.

Now, I am re-examining this website once again, becoming this time, much more aware of the negativity the media is playing in my daily life and how it ADDS TO feelings of unhappiness and inadequacies.

It's kind of like an 'aha' moment for me!

I have another post about life not being fair.

There are some great posts on that one. So, I started thinking that this unfairness, and if it isn't 'bad enough' to try and navigate myself through the 'regular' unfairness, if you will - it is further compounded and multiplied by the messages I receive while watching TV - especially the commercials - that I am not good enough, don't drive a a nice enough car, too old, too fat, don't live in a nice enough home etc....

I know this may seem pretty obvious to some of you as you have probably already figured this out - but for me - aha! Turning off my TV is one thing that I can do in the process of elmination insomuch as depression & anxiety are concerned.

FYI, here's an article by the founder entitled: The Beautiful People Syndrome:

The Beautiful People Syndrome
By Ron Kaufman

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"In the age of television, image becomes more important than substance."
-- S. I. Hayakawa

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Oh, no, I'm getting a zit!"
"Well, he seems nice, but his nose hair needs to be cut."
"I'm losing my hair."
"She's too tall for me."
"Gosh his breath smells."
"Does this skirt make my butt seem big?"
"Oh man, clean your shoes off, you stepped in dog poop."
"Wait, before we leave I have to go to the bathroom."

These real-life adventures never occur on television. These are things TV characters don't have to worry about. Television is, after all, perfect. People are beautiful on television -- they live amazing lives and look great doing it.

I went over a good friend's house and he was watching "The Drew Carey Show" on CBS. Now this has got to be one of the most moronic shows I have ever seen on television. In one scene, the star, Drew, his two male buddies and one female friend were sitting in the kitchen talking. The girl was wearing a low-cut top that also exposed her stomach and an extremely tight miniskirt. I remarked, "This girl is only on this show for her tits." My friend was insulted, "No she's not, she's one of Drew's friends. You see, those four people are old friends so they just pal around together."

At that moment, what my friend didn't seem to comprehend, was that TV characters are not real. The images on television may look real, and the people look real, but they are just images. TV characters live in one dimension. TV characters are fictional. Television shows are fictional.

Now, this is not an attempt to insult your intelligence. Of course television isn't real. Everyone knows that. But how much does the world of television effect our daily lives? How much does TV influence your opinion of people? How does TV impact fashion, speech, and social interaction? This is what is meant by The Beautiful People Syndrome: that TV influences the way we view others.

The Beautiful People Syndrome is what happens when you watch too much TV. You begin to believe, or expect, regular people to act, behave, and look like television stars. Does TV imitate life, or does life imitate TV, or does both happen? Television images portray people as beautiful, smart, wealthy, quick-witted, creative, instantly compelling, and exciting. Television wouldn't be worth watching, for those who watch, if it wasn't unbelievably interesting.

In the book Amusing Ourselves to Death, New York University Professor Neil Postman explains how television has changed modern imagery: "It is implausible to imagine that anyone like our 27th President, the multi-chinned, three-hundred pound William Howard Taft, could be put forward as a presidential candidate in today's world. The shape of a man's body is largely irrelevant to the shape of his ideas when he is addressing a public in writing or on the radio . . . but it is quite relevant on television. The grossness of a three-hundred-pound image, even a talking one, would easily overwhelm any logical or spiritual subtleties conveyed by speech."

Postman goes on to explain that "on television, discourse is conducted largely through visual imagery, which is to say that television gives us a conversation in images, not words . . . You cannot do political philosophy on television. Its form works against the content."

After watching hours and hours and hours of television imagery, those "Beautiful People" will become burned into your mind. The handsome, pretty, skinny and witty characters on the show "Friends" are more famous than writers, poets, politicians and more important than teachers, policemen, or firemen. The characters on "Friends" or "Ally McBeal" live the lives we all should live -- and they don't even have to work that hard.

The Beautiful People Syndrome is attacking the psyche of television-addicted America. For a man, if you are not 6'1', handsome and wealthy you are not ideal. Any woman who isn't bone-thin with a large chest certainly is below the standard. Television is warping the American mind. Unfortunately, the Americanization of the rest of the world may contribute to mind-warping worldwide. Everyone wants to be one of the beautiful television people.

What is the result of The Beautiful People Syndrome? A lot of unhappy citizens. Post-traumatic-television depression can set in after you realize that your life isn't as wonderful as it TV says it should be.

The ubiquity of television is transforming our lives. If you are not one of the "Beautiful People," you're an outcast.

"Television has become, so to speak, the background radiation of the social and intellectual universe, the all-but-imperceptible residue of the electronic big bang of a century past, so familiar and so thoroughly integrated with American culture that we no longer hear its faint hissing in the background or see the flickering gray light," contends Postman.

"The world as given to use through television seems natural, not bizarre," he says. "Our culture's adjustment to the epistemology of television is by now all but complete; we have so thoroughly accepted its definitions of truth, knowledge, and reality that irrelevance seems to use to be filled with import, and incoherence seems eminently sane."

I hope you know the truth. The trick is to make the truth your conscious and subconscious reality. The truth about the true nature of people: Beautiful People only exist on TV. Beautiful People only exist on TV. Beautiful People only exist on TV. Beautiful People only exist on TV. Make this your mantra. The reality is not as fun or glamorous as television. Rejecting the influence of TV imagery will set you on the path to enlightenment; and make real life so much more worthwhile.

© 2000 By Ron Kaufman

The website: http://www.turnoffyourtv.com/i.....x.html#TOC

June 24, 2009
2:35 pm
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Hepburn
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Hi tBt,

All you have stated above is very true. That's one reason why "Reality" shows became so popular. It gave the general public a chance to look or observe "real" people in "real" situations. Little does the general viewing public realize that those "Reality" shows are still written.

When TV first came out, it was a way for people to escape their problems. That has always been the purpose of "Entertainment". But yes, it has gotten to be too much. Just like the "Information Super Highway" (computers) has become too much. People don't go out of their houses anymore. People don't make personal visits anymore. Everything is done by email.

Nobody is making anyone WATCH their tv. I personally don't watch the local news anymore, and haven't for over 5 years. We all have to be responsible for ourselves.

There are quite a few redeeming programs on tv though. Interesting learning programs. Shows that make us laugh. And just fun, don't have to think shows. Sports shows. As much as I'd hate to admit it, I watched an Oprah show once and it changed my life.

Since I've been involved in making tv for over 30 years now, I've seen the changes it's gone through. Too much of anything isn't good. Over stimulating visually has been a problem. Too many video games, etc.

My pet peeve? SUV's with the DVD player in them.

June 24, 2009
2:57 pm
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truthBtold
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Hepburn,

Wow - 30 years - that's a long time! I would imagine that you have first-hand experienced many changes and shifts, to be sure.

For some reason your post reminded me of a series I saw once on PBS about the history of TV outlined in various segments, game shows, sitcoms etc...and one thing that sort of stood out in my mind was in the early days of TV (late 50's perhaps?) they were showing how this one TV game show host - Arthur Godfrey - I think, publically humiliated someone on the air and the public was just outraged with this behavior and bombarded that particular network with their dissatisfaction as to the treatment.

Fast forward about 50 years or so and we now have popular shows on TV such as Donald Trump's "Apprentice" where this sort of behavior is actually encouraged via the ratings.

Anyways, I now find that I am starting to become ever more mindful & selective in what I voluntarily expose myself to on a daily basis insomuch as TV 'programming' (and I do mean 'programming in every sense of the word) is concerned lately and to just not be so mindless and zombie-like as I have in the past......

June 24, 2009
3:25 pm
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chelonia mydas
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Hi TBT

TV definately can be detrimental to your life. My ex took all three of our TVs when he moved out and it was probably the best thing he did for me. At first I was pissed, but decided that I would make do without. I rediscovered reading, computers, gardening and so many other things that I now had time for because my time, energy and positive attitude weren't sucked out of me by the TV.

My lawyer was horrified when he discovered that my ex took ALL the TVs and actually wrote it into the divorce that I get one of them back. So its back, but I had been without so long that I haven't bothered hooking it up to anything except the DVD player. I watch movies sometimes, but am soooooo glad to have a life that is mostly TV free. I still watch it at friend's homes, but that's it.

I'd encourage you to cancel your cable/dish etc and spend that money to invest in a hobby or spa treatments or other self care project. At the time I needed all the money I could get, but recently I'm looking into taking yoga or bellydance or aikido or something with that money. I'd rather interact than passively be fed discontent and consumerism. And really once you cut out the commercials and product pushing that pounds the message that you aren't worthy unless you own this item or use this service. Really if someone has to tell me I need it, then I probably don't really need it. But that's a whole nother conversation right there.

Been TV free for over 2 and a half years now and loving every minute of it.

June 24, 2009
3:44 pm
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truthBtold
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Hey Chelonia,

You know, you are not the first one to say that they have been TV free for many years and do not miss it one bit!

Actually, to tell you the truth, I have yet to find anyone who regrets making that decision! Not one!

Hey, this gives me an idea for a new kind of spa/hotel chain. One in which there is not a TV in any of the rooms. Rather - an extensive library of books and game boards instead that guests can check out and perhaps selective non-commercial music stations. (I noticed that Country Inn & Suites usually has a small 'check-out' book section based on the 'honor system.')

Anyways - I am getting way, WAY off the subject here.....

I remember once my girlfriend whom spent here summers in Holland told me that it was just everyday practice for everyone in the town to turn off their TV at a certain time each day and then interact with folks - be it their neighbor or a bike ride in the park etc....

Just how cool is that????

June 24, 2009
4:25 pm
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FireFighter
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Hey Guys,

I actually cancelled my cable now two months ago. I dont miss it. I do cheat in that my TV shows turn up on hulu.com and tv.com. BUt I now only watch teh shows I like. I maybe watch 4 hours a week tops.

I now read and enjoy time with friends and family. Now summers here its even more fun.

Just getting out to the park with a book is so enjoyable and I recharge so much. When I watched tv I could escape ... but never felt better after watching tv... living my own life has been so much better.

I have my own codependent challenges.. This is one that that has proven itself to be a benefit in my journey of recovering.

June 24, 2009
4:52 pm
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truthBtold
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FF,

Wow - 4 hours a week tops - that's great!

I think maybe when my fiancee comes back from being out of town on Friday, I will suggest a non-TV week-end experiment just to see what happens.......

Funny how there are obviously so many folks here that do not watch a massive amount (if any) TV - yet, you never really hear about it unless you probe?

Hmmmm.

June 24, 2009
5:42 pm
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Lanigirl
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Hey all,

TV does have many redeeming qualities = spread of information, warning in emergencies, etc. However, it also = obesity issues, loneliness and cheap babysitting.

I applaud all that are cutting down their TV time.

Did anyone see that Ophrah show (I think it was her) where the families cut out their TVs, Xboxes, etc.? At first the kids hated it but after awhile, they started to interact more with their parents and don't miss the TV, etc.

June 24, 2009
5:55 pm
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FireFighter
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Lanigirl

TV is not a bad thing. Its just like most things it needs to be used in moderation.

I love a good movie like anyone else. Especially if I have my gf next to me . Then its much more than just watching for the sake of watching.

truthBtold I hope the non TV weekend is a success!!!! 🙂

June 25, 2009
12:20 am
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Great article!!!!

June 25, 2009
12:57 am
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CraigCo
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Tbt,

Yea TV is, for the most part, a load of crap, to put it bluntly. I don't even wanna start on how the manipulative advertising grinds my gears.
I enjoy docu's, nature/science shows from time to time. I think that the news should, for the most part, be avoided like the plague. A source of a lot of negativity & misinformation there. Canceling the cable is probably not a bad idea.

So, how are things between you & your fiance by the way? Whens the big day?

Crg

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