Thursday, September 24, 2009

This Is My Rifle, This Is My Gun...

...books are for learning, TV's for fun!

When I watch television, I watch pure entertainment. Sitcoms, sports, even the occasional reality show. I promise I don't learn anything. This both perplexes and on occasion infuriates some who know me. They say things like "You're too smart for that." I assure you, I am not. I also like to read, but very rarely read novels or frivolous books. I read a lot of nonfiction...essays, biographies, science, sociology, etcetera. Reading a novel makes me feel like I'm slacking or wasting time. I've always operated under the tenets of this clear delineation - TV is fun, books are work. But it always infuriated me that I didn't have a ready answer why.

I think I have a workable theory. When most people go to work, they have to dress up a little. A tie, maybe a suit. But no one complains because a tie and a suit are the uniform for work. Sure, you'd probably rather not, but you just do it without complaint because you understand that that's the way it is. But imagine that you went on vacation to Hawaii and at the airport you were greeted not with a lei, but with a tie and suit. You'd say "Screw that, I'm on vacation! That's what I'm getting away from!" You feel comfortable rejecting the tie because you've come to expect that vacation is for shorts and t shirts.

I think TV and books are like that. In school, we find that books are for learning. Almost everything we read as a child is related to school. But when we get home, we turn to TV for cartoons (or if you were me, The McLaughlin Group.) If we got home from school, turned on the TV, and found someone doing math problems, we'd throw a tantrum. I guess along the way I determined that TV was for my entertainment and books were for my enrichment. This would explain why I don't want to learn anything from TV, and why I feel guilty getting frivolous entertainment from books. I'm not sure I need to change anything, or that it's bad to operate like this. But it's nice to have figured it out.

I'm aware this might be really banal, and if that's the case, I am prepared to blame it on novels.

7 metawords:

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

Interesting. I stand in nearly the exact opposite. I like watching shows that teach me something...or should.

I used to read a lot of novels, but I switched to non-fiction and such because I got kind of tired and reading AND writing fiction. Plus, I kept getting worried that stories I was reading were creeping into my own writing.

I'm not sure where sports fit into that equation. Maybe I just like learning how inept Notre Dame's defense is.

Soda and Candy said...

My job takes up so much brain energy that pretty much everything I do that's not my job is frivolous and unchallenging.

And that's the way I likes it!

talesofawellfedgraphicdesigner said...

Okay, okay, I believe you, fine, I'll stop teasing you for not reading...GOSH!

BeckEye said...

I swing both ways. I like Rock of Love and the Discovery channel. But half of those ROL girls will end up on Mystery Diagnosis anyway.

Trinity said...

I am the opposite on the reading thing. I occasionally enjoy a non fiction book but the majority of reading for me is to escape out of life. I can't do that essays. As for TV, it is there for entertainment first and foremost. If I learn something via Jeopardy then that is fine but I don't set out to.

~E said...

Here's my theory:

I always had to read books for school growing up like you did, so in my off time (to rebel as it were) I would only read novels or frivolous romances etc.

Kinda like I'm laughing in the face of society. Like hahahah, here I am reading a smutty novel and you can't stop me.

Gwen said...

You crack me up. While I am glad you've figured it out, I still think you should lighten up and enjoy and learn from both. But what do I know? I read fiction.