Monday, September 16, 2013

Birds are better than TV

A fellow church-goer said yesterday that she believes that God put in us the desire to nap on Sundays. Everyone naps on Sunday after church, it's like He is making is easy to do what He said that day is for: rest.

I had to agree. After my nap, I continued to rest on the bed.

My bed is next to a window and the height of it comes exactly to the sill. I lay there, just resting in my Sunday rest, and along with my cat who was next to me, we watched the birds.

There is a wall of green trees outside the bedroom window and I enjoyed feeling the cool breeze and listening to the birds. I began to actively listen to and count the number of different calls I was hearing.

Some other thing

Hmmm, it looks like I need some help with auditory identification.

I went to the Cornell's ornithology department online and listened to many of their calls online after having searched for birds of Georgia.

Their bird call collection is impressive. So were the number of birds songs in my backyard. This is going to be fun, trying to memorize them.

I realized something else. It has been not a few days since I turned on the tv. Wednesday, I believe. That was when I tuned in to watch the finale of Masterchef when I got home from church, and after a few minutes of watching decided:

--I did not like the noise
--I didn't care

I hope I keep doing the things that relax me and don't do the things that don't relax me. When it comes to television being part of the things that don't relax me, it seems very hard to give it up, though. For some reason.

It is an activity that seems embedded in us, or me anyway. My first memory was of TV: The Beatles, Ed Sullivan, Feb, 1964. I was just turned three. I watched the moon landing, the space shuttle blow up and 9/11 unfold. I crowded around with friends at their houses watching American Bandstand. I saw American black people fight for their civil rights and hippies waste their freedom. Mr Rogers soothed us, Walter Cronkite informed us and Johnny Carson comforted us.

I came of age during the television age, so I think it is hard to give up a friend.

But it is not a friend.

In the 90s I read a book by Jerry Mander: Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (1978). It "is a book written by Jerry Mander which argues that there are a number of problems with the medium of television. Mander argues that many of the problems with television are inherent in the medium and technology itself, and thus cannot be reformed."

Wikipedia summarizes Mander's 4 arguments:

The four arguments are:

1. While television may seem useful, interesting, and worthwhile, at the same time it further boxes people into a physical and mental condition appropriate for the emergence of autocratic control.

2. It is inevitable that the present powers-that-be (or controllers) use and expand using television so that no other controllers are permitted.

3. Television affects individual human bodies and minds in a manner which fit the purposes of the people who control the medium. (Ed note: affects our very biology, in other words)

4. Television has no democratic potential. The technology itself places absolute limits on what may pass through it. The medium, in effect, chooses its own content from a very narrow field of possibilities. The effect is to drastically confine all human understanding within a rigid channel.

I agree with all of them. Presciently, thirty-five years later, Mander has been proven right.

Especially about the biology, I feel calmer for not having watched for 5 days. I have come to dislike television so much, and I've come to love birds so much, that I would not insult my feathered friends by saying "tv is for the birds." But I am going to try to make it a thing of the past.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, Cornell's bird call recordings are so helpful. I've been learning some calls and enjoying watching the antics of the birds that visit the fields, neighborhood, as well as my feeders and birdbath.

Maybe a week ago, I had one super cute American goldfinch, sitting like a finial atop the hook on which the feeder hangs, and the little thing was singing its heart out, and flapping its wings, doing some sort of "happy dance", while all its friends were munching nyjer seed. Way too cute. Definitely agree, much much better than tv.