Should You Be Watching TV?

Since I was a little kid, there have been arguments about what we should be spending our time on. I’ve never had problems finding enough reading material. I read all the time. I’m not saying that I always read the best kind of content, but I’m always reading. So why should I argue against everything that has been told to me since I was a kid?
Simply because I don’t believe it.
We were told to not spend too much time in front of the TV and then to not spend time on the internet. But reading was fine. We were supposed to read. If you read a lot, then teachers and friends and parents would praise you for all that you were doing. But what’s the difference?
As a writer, you think I would place more importance on the physical written word. But also as a writer, I understand that there are a lot of different ways that you can write. Podcasts are a way. TV shows feature writing. Movies have writing. All of that visual media has a written component to it. We shouldn’t discourage people from consuming TV and movies. They’re not garbage media just because of their format.
When it comes down to it. Every form of media has their throw away products. For books, there are dime-a-dozen romance novels and tons and tons of fantasy and sci-fi books waiting to be read out there. For TV shows, you have reality shows and faux-reality shows like all of the different big foot shows that I have witnessed during my time of watching the History channel. For podcasts, you can find tons of defunct podcasts about very specific fandoms that fizzled out as soon as the source material fizzled out as well.
Every platform has its trash. No platform is exempt from the trash rule. What content becomes ‘trash’ depends on what people are looking for. Romance novels appeal to a lot of people for various reasons. There’s a lot to be gained from visual media that I will never be able to get from other forms of media.
Representation matters and when you have TV shows that feature that representation, then they’re going to be popular with some people. It doesn’t matter what kind of media it is, you need to be able to have something to relate to. Most books don’t touch on the subjects that I want to consume and experience. So instead, I look for shows whether they’re documentaries or they’re TV shows or movies based on true events. These are the kinds of things that I want in my life.
I can find meaning in any kind of media that I am consuming. Even all of the YouTube videos that I watch has something to it that a book can never give me. In fact, YouTube channels are actually doing something for me that I cannot get from books. When I want to know the news, I turn to some of my favorite online creators. When I hear about a game with an interesting premise that I know I cannot play because it costs too much/I don’t have the system/it scares the hell out of me, I turn to YouTube. There are a variety of content creators that are helping me find content that I don’t have access to in another way.
Books may be good, but they cannot give me the jump scares that watching people play Outlast did. They cannot give me the lore of the video games like other creators can speculate.
Different media allows you to think about the same information in new ways. There are books that became television that I love because the writing and storylines were actually refined in the process. There are some shows that should stop because they have gone so far that their plot lines are terrible.
I take that television and apply it to my own life. There’s a lot that I can learn about writing from all of these mediums. I can find ways to make my writing faster and slower in just the right ways. I can figure out how writers are failing their audiences and how plot lines can twist and turn until they’re so different from where we started.
So if someone tells you to stop watching TV, then take a look at what you’re watching. If you’ve just got it on to kill time, then maybe it might not be worth it. But don’t write off the whole medium because of a couple lousy products.


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