There's a good ole standard, dull essay topic for ya. It's usually about the effects on children, but how about the effects on, well, people my age--GenXers?
I am getting cable at my house tomorrow. Not only cable, but digital cable. It's a big step. Here's what people have to say:
Dad: (silence) "Are you there? I just fell out of my chair."
Friend: "Welcome to the 21st century!"
Husband: "Whatever you want, hon."
It's kind of a big deal to me because I haven't had anything except the basic 5-6 channels since 1996. Yes, lack entertainment has been by choice. The story about how all this started is based on a stubborn point I was trying to make with my first husband, but that point became irrelevant after we split up. (No, it didn't have anything to do with TV.) After that, I simply realized that I could live without cable television. Plus it was a good workout trying to position myself and the rabbit ears so that I could actually see a picture on my 20-inch TV.
At times I guess I could say that I didn't need to waste my money on it since I was working all the time, but then I wasn't really saving much money shooting pool and drinking G & T's with my friends down at the Idle Hour, was I? I found time and money for that quality entertainment. However, since moving to the city where my cost of living has doubled, it kind of has been about the money. Things are getting a little easier, though, and I've decided a little luxury is deserved. More importantly, I'm tired of watching Everyone Loves Raymond reruns (I don't even like that show) in the evenings, NOTHING on the weekends, and city council meetings when my husband can't find anything else.
Over the years I've had the sense that not having cable, thus more choices for entertainment, hasn't really saved my brain from turning to mush. In fact, I think I've missed out on broadening my knowledge base. Sure, I am pretty much culturally inept now, but that was bound to happen with age. Unfortunately, I'm culturally inept with my peers. You know, I heard that MTV doesn't actually play music anymore? I remember when MTV was born! What has happened to the world? I guess it's okay because I'm looking forward to the History Channel, Food Network, the Discovery Channel and other channels in that information/entertainment realm. Maybe I'll even be able to participate in conversations in the teachers' lounge.
I know that from visiting my parents, who actually have satellite, that you can have 200 channels and still not be able to find anything to watch. In those cases, I still always have a good book nearby and somewhere out on the 'Net someone is blogging about something interesting. (Yea, I know that's not me. Thanks to the rest of you, though!)