If household objects were people and they could be psychoanalysed, which object would occupy the prime position as the most attention seeking, the least self-effacing, the loudest, the most narcissistic, the most colourful and preening member of the inanimate world?
Which Frankenstein monster, in recent years, has been obsessed with growing thinner and thinner, yet bigger and bigger, occupying more and more prominent positions in the household?
The TV, of course!
On the wall, on the floor, bending down from oblique stands, in the living room, in sports bars, in restaurants, even in the open air on the grass!
The dumbest members of household objects, say chairs or tables, make the purpose of their existence to work quietly. Once you sit, you forget–the better the chair, the less the consciousness of it.
More sophisticated members of the inanimate world, on the other hand, such as computers, will allow you to have a say in your interaction with them. You type, you speak to them. They can even be made to keep working quietly in the corner.
Not so the TV.
From the moment a TV is on, its sole purpose is to attract attention. The bigger the TV, the more all consuming and omnipotent its hunger for prominence.
The existence of TV’s in the house is justified on various grounds–they help improve your knowledge of current affairs, you watch educational programs, most people use them for entertainment.
Now that they have become such important members of the family, so to speak, are we aware of their other functions? Roles that TV’s have started playing in our lives?
Here are some other roles and functions we let TV’s perform:
Pseudo companionship: So many people who live alone in their apartments leave their TV’s on all day. The TV keeps chatting making them feel like there are people in the house.
People turn on the same news channels or shows every single day so that it’s the same people reappearing day after day.
It’s as if Anderson Cooper does laundry with you or Castle eats dinner with you every night.
Avoiding conversation with real people: If someone does come to visit, or you manage to get together a party, what do you do?
He says hi. You say hi. He says this street has real easy parking. You say yes, this street has real easy parking.
Then you pick up the remote and turn IT on.
Or, you make the group sit on your couch and your love seat and who completes the circle? Your preening, narcissistic companion of course! The object on the console.
Poor decoration and aesthetics: Gone are the days when home and hearth went together and people gathered around the fireplace and read aloud. That people put up portraits on the wall.
It’s not the book or the decorative piece but the conversation piece that you have in your house now that matters. Plasma? LCD? Flat screen? Imported? Exported? Phew!
Not having one: Now, if you’ve lived in northern California, you know that not having a TV can be a status symbol too. You plant tomatoes and peppers in your kitchen garden, you eat organic, you bike everywhere and guess what?
You have an empty space where IT-that-must-not-be named could have been. You’re different.