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How to Unplug from your Toxic TV

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Gene Messick
Message Gene Messick
January 1, 2009:  You make a New Year's Resolution:  "I'm gonna stop watching so much TV."  But how do you stick to it, instead of letting it evaporate like all the others you made in years past?
In all basic Economic text books, the first Chapter mentions Opportunity Cost, which we all breeze over as if it meant little. Actually, it's the foundation of Economics. It's about trade-offs: whatever you choose to do takes time away from other things that you might do instead. Even with multi-tasking and improving your efficiency, there are still only 24 hours in a day, minus sleep and a few other essentials, like working a job or two, eating healthy food, and love making.
Applying an Opportunity Cost concept to your Resolution is one of the best ways to make it stick. It means changing your lifestyle, but Change is what we voted for, and it's time we started doing our part to support our President.
Watching TV pundit-shills for Big Corporations yell at each other has nothing to do with gathering useful information, or News, or education. It has to do with watching mud wrestling. 
Like going on a diet, you have to stop bringing forbidden foods into your home. If you bring it, at some point you'll eat it. Want to stop smoking? Quit buying cigarettes. Not as easy as it sounds to dump addictions, EVEN when recognition and desire are present.
So unplugging yourself from your TV is not just unplugging your TV. It means getting rid of the temptation. 
Sure, you could wean yourself by blocking Toxic channels. The anti-ToxicTV Patch is right in your hand. Most TVs can be programmed to skip over channels you don't want to watch. The last time I had access to TV some 2 & 1/2 years ago, I tried that, leaving only PBS, C-Span, and a few others which I allowed, even tho I was still irritated by toxic interruptions from their ads. But it didn't cut down on my time watching TV very much, just made it more selective. If you can't go cold turkey, it's a start on getting control over your addiction. 
I was given a gift when my TV was stolen. The unintended consequences of not replacing it was to free my time, and my brain, from TV addiction. But what to do with all that time? The concept of Opportunity Cost was knocking.
It takes a while to restructure your life, which also goes to proving the addictive nature of TV watching. I still had my large screen computer. So I filled the gap first by going to my Public Library and checking out DVDs to watch. Found a wealth of classic and recent movies, some I'd not seen, and some I enjoyed seeing again. But the bonus was a ton of DVDs you'll never find at a video store. The second bonus is that Library DVDs cost you nothing.
I learned how America almost didn't happen at all by watching fascinating biographies about Ben Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and other Founding Fathers. We came so close to missing the boat, so many times. Of course, you could watch these on your TV, but my computer does not bring with it a temptation to surf worthless channels. It forces me to select what I want to watch, not just to accept whatever Corporate Media wants to flow across my prone, couch-potato body. Your Library can help you take control of your life.
And eventually, I discovered how to use my computer for better sources of news, not the blather pumping out from Big Media, now all owned, controlled, warped and twisted by non-media Corporate conglomerates who want to profit from fiddling around inside your head.
Instead of a minute of compressed and carefully selected sound bites about a subject, I found a way to easily read news events in depth and at my leisure, to see thru the Corporate veil of disinformation. It took a while but for this New Year I compiled a list of sources I've been collecting, organized them as [BAILOUT] 010, and Emailed them to friends. I also posted this brief Directory on True Blue Network's Website, to share with others. It's a jump start on weaning you from your TV addiction, and over time you'll add your own chosen sources.
The list is found at http://earthhome.us under the News Button.  My Website is cheap and simple, with only 5 Page Buttons for about fifty bucks a year.  With an hour's assistance from my domain provider over my cell phone, I learned how to build the Website on Halloween Eve, as a response to Meltdown Events my government was gifting to me and future generations. Not an unreasonable cost for so much self-education and entertainment, and it beats the heck out of cable or satellite charges, a very welcomed plus when cash flow is drying up as we head into our next Economic Depression.
So you have a wealth of Alternatives to Toxic TV available. This is about taking control of your life and making yourself healthier. If you want to make your New Year's Resolution stick, start by unplugging yourself from the beast.  
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For 17 years Gene Messick studied and taught Design at NC State University and Cornell. Co-founding the Visual Design Program at NCSU, he established the Photography Program at Cornell, where he taught in the Architecture Department, most interested (more...)
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