"you don't know shit because you've never been there"*
I can appreciate what these folks try to do, but sometimes they just take their zeal and go too far. TV Turnoff Week is an admirable attempt to get the American public to see how much television they actually watch. Running around turning off public TVs with TV-B-Gone remotes, however, is a little too extreme. They say that they're reclaiming public space for the public. Fair enough, but switching off the baseball/basketball/football game at the local sports bar is not a way to make much of the population sympathetic to your cause. People go to sports bars to drink and WATCH SPORTS. That's the entire point. The public space there is one dedicated to television watching. It would be like rolling into the Adbusters office with a bunch of portable TVs and turning them on.
I realize I have a pro-TV bias because of my research interests. Television studies lends itself to, well, watching television. TV Turnoff Week is not going to get me any closer to finishing my dissertation. I just wish that folks would avoid the big sweeping generalization that All TV Is Bad.
The New York Times Magazine had an interesting article this week on the complex narrative structure of much of prime time television. It is a cognitive psych take on a theory that one writer put forth in the same publication about 10 years ago: Prime time television is the new novel. Yes, that sounds just as reductionist as proclaiming All TV Is Bad, but is something to ponder.
*c'mon, you know you know that lyric (especially you, Toby...)