I know this will never catch on, but I believe that people should cancel their cable TV subscriptions.
Excessive cable television viewing has created an entire generation of children whose brains are wired differently. They don't read books because their brains can't slow down enough to create a space that is quiet enough for reading. I see it all the time and it's not pretty.
Television also actively promotes deviance: violence in various forms, passive aggressive behavior, drug use, sex, sex, and more sex...and it's all depicted as glamorous in American culture.
Well, it's not glamorous. It's disgusting. The only rational response is to shut it off, permanently, and find other things to do.
I was scanning the TV schedule this morning so I could write this column and I found that "judge shows" are rampant. So, from the comfort of our living rooms, we can peep into the legal lives of others and learn the lurid details of their dysfunctional lives. "Peeping" is not healthy, yet we publicize it, celebrate it, and teach our kids how to enjoy it.
[Then, there are the "cop" shows. We live in a country where the prison population, the largest in the world, topped 2.18 million recently. During a one-year period from 2004 to 2005, we imprisoned an average of 1085 people per week. But instead of expressing outrage, we sit at home and watch the arrests on TV. That's pretty screwed up, if you ask me.]
Aside from the prison issue, the best response by American citizens to this insane peep show is not only to shut off the TV and send the kids outside, but to eliminate the incredible money stream that is pumped into the cable TV industry.
I cancelled my cable TV subscription a few weeks ago (because it reached the point where I seldom watched TV), and I've never been happier. During the evening hours, I read (Joseph Campbell, Mickey Hart, James Hillman, Gary Zukav) listen to/play music, or converse with friends and family.
All of these activities are far better than sitting on the couch watching TV.
Now, I know that absolutely nobody will cancel their cable TV as a result of this column, but you can't blame me for trying.
I think our culture and community would be a lot better off if we turned off our TVs and, instead, held evening community rituals, such as bonfires, sing-alongs, color with the kids, basketball, indoor bocci--any of those activities. We have lost our communities in many ways because we all sit inside during the evening hours watching Survivor.
In closing, let me say that I have no hope that anyone will follow this advice, so I must resign myself to teaching another batch of children who suffer from ADHD and who have not read an entire book in their lives. It seems to me that these are the sad outcomes of a nation of children raised on cable TV.