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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Idiot Box

I was raised as a kid with open and free access to the Idiot Box. Oh yeah. I could watch it when and as much as I wanted to.

When I was living with my grandmother as a baby/toddler, since I was like 3, special emphasis had been placed on reading, I did not stay glued to the TV all day long. I would rather spend my evenings playing with the few children in the neighborhood (I was living with my grandma at the time, and most people around were her age, the few kids around were grandkids or the children of the live-in maids), playing with Lego Blocks, running around her backyard or READING. Never mind that it was comic books (Archie, Mickey Mouse, Little Lulu, Pink Panther), I still READ. I much preferred it to TV. And love of reading lives in me to this day, and I read a LOT. When my parents were footing the bill in my teens, it was up to 10 books a month. I would DEVOUR books.

Yes, I had a special place in my heart for cartoons (what kid doesn't like colorful things) and loved loved LOVED Felix The Cat, but that was about it.

When I went to live with my parents, books were initially few and far between. I would steal my mother's magazines and her small picture novels and read. The rest of the time I spent glued to the TV. I had no backyard and no friends where my parents lived. It wasn't until much later my parents figured out I loved books so much, and started purchasing age-appropriate ones for me. Until then I'd been reading my textbooks over and over. I just fell back into my love of books.

I was around 8 when I first met my mom's cousin and her kids. We lived in Mexico, they in the States. They were not allowed to eat anything containing refined sugar or to watch TV.

Now, aside from thinking their parents were evil for not letting them enjoy sugary stuff and not letting them watch cartoons (my favorite at the time was Felix The Cat... It was early 80's), I did not feel disconnected with them at all. We still found plenty of other things to talk about. They, however, felt they were being cruelly and unusually punished. They longed for what they couldn't have and were envious of me. They told me so. I sneaked them a little TV (Their mom was a real nut, and had she found out, she would've punished them). We lost contact with them due to the distance and the death of the older relatives, but I heard from my aunt (who lived in the USA and had lots more contact) that they'd rebelled as teenagers and became sort of like little nutcases before settling back down.

***DISCLAIMER*** These kids were the only ones I ever met who didn't watch TV while growing up, and while they may have had very difficult teens, they ended up being fine and their teen troubles may have been totally unrelated to not watching TV. I also know that many many many of the children I grew up with that watched TV not only had ugly teens, they also ended up having very very bad lives in general.

So, basically what I'm trying to say is... It all comes down to education. If a kid is taught early on to love other things DESPITE the TV being present, they will continue to love those other things more regardless of having access to a TV or not. And they won't be resentful.

As for myself, The love of books lives with me to this day. Even having a TV and zillions of DVDs doesn't change the fact that I'd much rather be reading than watching TV. Sure, I enjoy shows like B.ones and H.ouse and G.host whisperer, but only because they feed into interests created in me through BOOKS (I love the Scarpetta novels by P. Cornwell and all of R.obin Cook's books, as well as any ghost/mystery/horror novels you push my way).

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Polly Harvey, ahora te escribo a ti. A menos que de plano sea ciega, no encuentro tu email en ningun lado por tu perfil. Ve a mi perfil y metete a mi pagina web, ahi tengo un icono de unos perritos corriendo que dan link a mi email... Escribeme!

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