Thursday, May 26, 2011

Addendum to Living Without Cable and Internet

I have noticed a lot of the traffic to this blog came here because of searches for "Living without cable and Internet."  I apologize somewhat because that was not what it was really about (that is, not a list of ways to do it).  I don't know how someone could live without Internet today because the default position is that anyone who needs something done legally, informationally, medically, etc., can "look it up on the Internet."  We are facing that with my mother now.  She is 83 and has resisted using the 'net, but I think I am going to have to teach her.  My brother, who passed away Sunday, helped her with those kinds of things and she depended on him.

I don't think business, government, etc. have been fair to the elderly, the poor, undereducated, and minorities in going to the default position that you can "find it on the Internet."  The actual statistics on Internet access in this country is far, far short of 100%, and the people who are less likely to have the access are the ones more dependent on governmental services and organizations.  This is not to say that using the Internet is difficult for those of us who "grew up" or were early adopters, but those of us in that group probably have little empathy for those who are starting a square one.  I am of the opinion that there is a certain mindset and way of processing and organizing information in one's head that is needed for using the Internet.  Using it is not like using other reference tools of the past (which is why young people today do not understand how to use traditional reference books, etc.).

Of course, Pres. Obama wants more infrastructure for more access (broadband and all that) which is a legitimate goal, but there is more to it than just putting in wires.  Access to how is needed as well as access to what.

All that said, I don't know what the big attraction to cable TV is.  It takes the vast wasteland concept of '60s and just expands it exponentially to a vast waste-universe.  Yes, there is a lot of good programming, but for every hour of quality there are 23 others of trash, banality, mediocrity, porn, violence, bloviating, pontificating (anyone who has watched Skip Bayless knows whereof I speak) and inanity.  It is an incredible waste of money.  There is so much more to be done in life than watching cable or TV in general--taking a walk, gardening, reading, playing games with friends and family, spiritual enrichment, cleaning the house, volunteering (as if the tornadoes recently don't give us enough opportunity for that).  There are thousands of alternatives to cable TV.  I would challenge anyone to just disconnect it and try it for a month.  You will find how differently you view the world, and when you go back to it, how absolutely worthless TV is.  Everything that is available on TV that you might want to watch is available on the Internet, in books, and in human experience itself anyway.

And don't forget that old stand-by--the public library. 

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