February 1, 2013 by NowhereButPop
The fact that TV even exists is insane. The very notion of television and everything we’ve done with it over the past 100 years absolutely fascinates and terrifies me. Last summer my family upgraded to Verizon FiOS, and let me tell you, it is incredible! I have over one thousand channels, and I’ve never been more frightened in my entire life.
Thankfully I’ve never really felt guilty or ashamed of anything I’ve done, but the fact that the phrase “There’s nothing good on TV” no longer exists in my lexicon makes me feel guiltier than I’ve ever felt in my life. Over half the world is either malnourished or persecuted while 15 million Americans can never be bored ever again because of the miracle that is FiOS. While I am extremely enamored by FiOS, I shouldn’t have to even have the option of changing channels between 15 year old re-runs of The Steve Harvey Show and game six of the 1977 World Series. No one should have that power. And yes that is power.
FiOS’ existence means that time and space no longer matter within the realm of television. Anything we want is at our disposal. 1,000 channels coupled with “On Demand” means that I can watch anything I want. Before the concept of “On Demand” did anyone really have the desire to watch an entire season of a TV series in one day? It’s something that simply by being does it make us want it. Without “On Demand” most people wouldn’t want it, but now, since it’s there we want it and use it.
Just doing anything because you can is and always will be an inherently dangerous prospect. We live in a world where we’ve vanquished boredom by doing nothing, all because we could. Doing something because you can shirks both responsibility and sincerity which widens the potential of abuse. We didn’t like having nothing on TV anymore, so we constructed a system where it would be impossible not to watch anything, not out of any urgency or dire need, but merely because we could. Could I have gotten by without watching the entire first season of Girls in two days? Yes, of course I could have. But with FiOS and “On Demand” I can watch it whenever and how often I want all because, myself and people like me (the vast majority) don’t like having nothing to watch on TV.
Unlike in the past, I can control what I watch and most importantly when I watch it. We control TV now, all because it allowed us to. In a way doesn’t that give the TV the ultimate in control then, if it dictates how much control and power we have over it? Don’t get me wrong I’m not one of these people who think that TV will lead to the ruin of the world, and I won’t be one of those parents who won’t let their kids watch TV. I think TV is great. In fact I wouldn’t be who I am today with the TV, I don’t think anyone would be. Even from a young age, when we are most receptive to external stimuli, it exposed us to images and ideas that we wouldn’t have been privy to without it. MTV is the perfect example of such.
We’ve made TV even easier, we took something meant to be entertaining and visually stimulating and made it less boring. Nothing is more reflective of our current society than the evolution of modern TV, something that exists only to serve our whims. Now we’ve just made it more accommodating for a society with a diminishing attention span and an expanding waistline. But despite it all, I wouldn’t go back to basic cable. It’s only with FiOS that I could catch up on Girls in time for season two, for that you have my thanks Verizon.
 This is a lie; I once had to sit through a documentary about spiders in 3rd grade. For those of you who don’t know, I am deathly terrified of spiders.