Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Americans are watching 151 hours of TV EVERY MONTH!

OK, I NEVER watch TV. Well, practically never. I catch a little golf about once a month or so. I can certainly see how people might watch about an hour or so of quality TV every day on average, but FIVE hours of TV every day?!! That gives "addiction" a bad name.

When I read about the 151 hours (reported by Nielsen Ratings), I wondered what I do with that 151 hours each month. Here's a brief rundown.

1) 50 hours of engaging with my daughter in the 15 days I have her each month.
2) 32 hours of intense exercise.
3) 4 hours of TV watching.
4) 20 hours of quality NetFlix movies and book reading
5) 45 hours of reading newspapers and writing letters

Wow, that's exactly 151 hours. It is simply incomprehensible to me that Americans have become such couch potatoes with virtually no value pursuits outside of becoming TV vegetables.

I reckon that's why I see so many glum faces riding atop potato bodies at the mall. Yikes! And I guess it's why a large percentage of these brain-dead Americans voted for an impostor and poser for president, and they now seek "free" health care for their battered bodies and psyches.

Meanwhile, I work my ass off and am required at the point of a gun to surrender my cash to the lazy motherfuckers. I ain't happy 'bout that. Nope, not one bit.


Kulero said...

I find this more than a little unfair. It's not possible for Nielsen to measure how much TV people watch, if "watching" means sitting idle fully engaged in the show. They can only know how much the TV is turned on (and to what it's tuned) for that subset of all TVs which they're set up to measure. (This is applied to all Americans using statistical methods.) Nielsen cannot record how many people are sitting still and watching — if any!

Many people like to have the TV on in the background as they do various things, including getting dressed, eating, washing up, and exercising. In college, I knew people who even liked to read and study with the TV on.

Before we get cynical about Americans "watching" TV, let's be clear about what that means.

David Elmore said...

Before you get too worked up about Americans' just having their TV turned on, let's be clear that even having the TV turned on while not watching is a distraction from attention span, mitigating what one is actually trying to do. Also, even if we took 25% off the figures, Americans would still be watching 4 hours of TV per day, which still indicates that a large percentage of people are vegging out of their lives.
Also, before you wish to use terms like cynical, please understand their meaning. It implies a distrust of intent or motives, as if one believes that a person is being disingenuous. That is not the case in this TV scenario. My comments were critical, not cynical.
Also, to say that I was being "more than a little unfair" suggests that I was being quite unfair, but, as I pointed out above, even if you take 25% off of the figures, the number is still dramatic, and so any criticism of my point that might be accurate might suggest that I was simply being "a little unfair." Exaggeration when making criticisms almost always undermines good critical comment. You might do well remembering that in the future.

Kulero said...

Well, m-w.com definition 2a applies perfectly to your post, "contemptuously distrustful of human nature and motives." I could quote specific passages to defend each word (except replacing "human" with "American"), if it would make any difference. Before assuming a dissenter doesn't understand the meaning of a word, please make the effort to validate whether it's used correctly.

And where did you get the 25% number which you're allowing for the reduction? You snatched it from the air, which always undermines good critical comment. It might as well have been 95%.

We don't know what the number is, only that it's greater than zero. The unfairness comes not from the number of hours charged, but from your assumption that all or most of it is spent on the couch with "virtually no value pursuits" besides.

Finally, whether it's a mitigating distraction depends on the person and the activity. Some people may find it a useful distraction during otherwise mundane activities. One could as easily apply your argument to criticize how "mitigating what one is trying to do" it is reading Time in the toilet.

David Elmore said...

What is it about the definition that you do not understand? My criticism is not about human nature or motives. It is about values. Big difference. If you are going to assume that all negative assessments/judgments of human action are "cynicism," (thereby conflating it with criticism) then we may as well throw out "criticism." We cannot procede with these types of discussions if you continue to be obtuse and attempt to bend meanings to your service.
I got the 25% number from having been in journalism for 13 years and reading newspapers for 32 years and seeing the 4-5 hour figures of actual TV watching for those decades. In fact, it looks as if I was too generous in this situation. The Nielson report actually states that the TV is on in most homes for more than 8 hours each day. There are several articles on this, one of which is here: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/tv-watching-reclaim-family-time.html.
Your assumption that an erudite person (myself) would simply snatch numbers from the air is, of course, vapid dropping of context, but you seem to be mastering at that of late.
Also, Nielson is careful in its studies to ensure accuracy of actual TV watching and shares its reports with advertisers, who insist upon knowing "actual" TV watching, not just a switched-on TV. This is also the context I used in my original criticism, which also comes from having read and edited such articles for 13 years of journalism work.
You again are showing your healthy use of red herrings and erroneous analogy in the following: 1) Your mentioning "mundane activities," I suppose, means such things as chores, but my original criticism had nothing to do with chores (which have to be done); it had to do with fitness, avocations, education, etc. 2) Reading on the toilet (again, a necessity) is not analogous to reading with the TV on. The TV is attempting to entertain you and inviting you to be distracted. Going to the bathroom is perfunctory and is no such distraction and allows perfect concentration -- as I know because I do it every day.

Kulero said...

On "cynical," okay, perhaps I misread you. I can concede that one.

On the number of hours, I was prepared to concede that one too. The article makes a distinction between TV playing and TV watching. How Nielsen might do that isn't stated; sensors in the couch maybe? But I'm rather skeptical when a statistic is followed by mounds of fatherly advice; at least it's not a product.

Worse, after a good bit of searching I couldn't back it up from Nielsen. Their only related article (May 09, 153 hrs/mo) made distinction between media types, but was not clear on what they meant by "watching." This is a problem as I mentioned previously

On the rest (25% and analogy), there's definitely much I could add in my favor, but I'm dismayed at how quickly, here as elsewhere, you jump to angry personal attacks against anyone with the gall to disagree with you. I won't be posting here further.

David Elmore said...

I appreciate very much your concessions, Keith.
But again, you over-reach. This time with the comment that I "jump to angry personal attacks against anyone with the gall to disagree with (me)."
First of all, no one could possible know about all of my disagreements (there's that exaggeration thing again). Secondly, as many people who know me say (correctly), I don't ratchet up unless I get attacked unjustly -- and that attack by someone is almost always accompanied by a defensive/offensive tenor, as many of your points often are. Thirdly, you've been around me enough in scores of Objectivist (and other) conversations to know that I try very hard to understand what someone is saying and go out of my way to ensure intent before leaping -- unless the intent is obvious.
What possible reason could you have for beginning your original comment on this thread with "more than a little unfair"? That is a combative statement in any discussion. And, with a friend, why not make your argument first, lead me to water, and then say something like, "So, your points seem unfair to TV watchers, with this in mind."
Two of the things I pride myself on are not psychologizing an opponent and not being cynical, which I'm not -- and nor could I possibly imagine having to live one's life cynically. I don't throw words around and I attempt to be VERY careful in characterizing my friends with lightning adjectives, such as cynical, or skeptical, or dishonest, etc.
But not only did you call me cynical about my fellow Americans, you also misused the term. (And now you say you "misread" me. No, you misused the word by being focused on motives instead of values.)
I had plenty of latitude to come back at you strongly, with this in mind, especially since the tenor of your comment seemed to continue the pithy exchange we recently had. You came across as looking for a fight, and when you got one, you blame your opponent of allegedly jumping to angry personal attacks -- which, of course, I didn't; I simply got pithy (rightly so).
I think there is something about my personality that truly rubs you the wrong way -- and has, I think, for most of the years we've know each other. Considering your use of the word "gall," it would seem that you think me haughty (I'll admit to naughty, but not haughty), among other things. I hope that is not true, so you can correct me on that, if it's not.
With all of the above said, if you change your mind on commenting on my blog, I'll be happy to hear from you. If you still wish to refrain from commenting here, then I'll say good day to you.