Monday, October 26, 2009

Goodbye to TV Cable

We just cancelled out our very minimal Comcast cable TV subscription. My wife called and spoke to a startled functionary, who couldn't believe her ears. "You are cancelling?!" My wife retorted, "Television is boring and stupid. We never watch it." The functionary said, "You won't even be able to watch the news!" My wife said, "We never do, anyway. There are other ways to get the news."

This is good. I savor it. And we save $200 a year. Follow us.


Tim Challies said...

We did this a while back. Actually, they never turned off the cable despite our requests but at least they stopped charging us for it. I stuffed the coax cable back into the wall and got rid of the cable box. I don't miss it at all.

Unknown said...

When I moved out of my parents' house in college, I took along an old TV with me. In medical school, I noticed I was going for a month or more at a stretch without even turning it on. I finally called and cancelled cable. The cable company representative was dumbfounded and even offered to give me three months of cable for free. I refused it. I have never missed it once in the seven years since then.

CotnerMD said...

After a long period of TV abstinence, we signed up for Dish Network to watch the Bush/Kerry debates and follow the election.

After the election was over -- surprise, surprise! -- we kept watching TV.

Two years later, I noticed that TV seemed to be dominating our life. All we talked about was TV at the dinner table. We were spending hours and hours watching TV, staying up too late watching TV, regretting things we watched on TV.

One day, we were watching a cooking show on Sunday afternoon, and every commercial break showed a diet pill commercial featuring a bikini model and a leering nerd, followed by a horror movie promotion with disturbing images that made the whole family wince. We had to ask ourselves, "why are we putting up with this?"

When we called to cancel Dish Network, the representative was aghast. "Why didn't we just turn the channel?" she asked. There is much to say about that question, but time does not permit. Suffice it to say that this "solution" did not get at the deeper issues.

My kids were initially very distressed and somewhat insolent about our decision. I explained that this was not about me imposing some holier-than-thou trip on them. I told them I wanted to spend more time doing things with them, and that I wanted them to have more real experiences, and fewer virtual ones.

I worked to make the case to them, to get them on board with the plan, but told them that I was not going to change my mind. I softened the blow by buying some new DVDs, and by buying a ton of new books, on topics that interested them.

Yes, they were initially somewhat bored (so what?) and made a big deal about that fact, but now they are knitting, shooting, learning to play instruments, programming computers, etc. They are READING. We read together, we attend orchestra class together. We are doing things instead of watching people do things.

People say, "you can't turn back the clock -- you can't go back to a simpler time." That is true in one sense, but there is another sense in which we purposefully choose to immerse ourselves, for hours at a time, in corrosive modern popular culture.

LouiseT said...

Given your thoughts on television, I'm astounded you actually had a cable subscription! Has an evil force hacked your blog and begun writing under your name? :)

Max B. said...

Brian, that sounds wonderful!

JeffrO said...

Good move Douglas! Our home has not had any "pay" TV in our 20 years of marriage. I don't say that be "holier" than others. It's just been a financial and relationship choice, one which we've never regretted.
We were both fortunate to have attended a college that did not permit TV's in dorm rooms, only in common areas. That experience of forced media "fasting", along with our developing Biblical Worldview, led us to realize the opportunity cost associated with TV watching. We can be doing better things with our time. [Not to mention the direct cost of the programming and the ancillary cost of the TV marketing that leads us to spend more on other things.]
People are dumbfounded if they learn we have no pay TV. They've never met anyone without cable/dish TV. We are not perfect parents, but our 3 teenagers know what our time priority is in the's family, not TV.

pgepps said...

Way ahead of you. I've never had it.