Okay, I'll admit it: I'm addicted. One of the last remaining taboos is to be broken by me, I completely and utterly
voluntarily will admit to it: I'm addicted to television.
I can't live a day without it. I can't bare the thought of not being able to switch the set on to conclude there's nothing
Maybe you think the term 'addicted' is a bit overdoing it. But take the test. Ask anyone in your circle of friends,
relatives or colleagues whether they are addicted to television, and they'll deny it. They'll say that there are one or two
shows they are currently watching, but they wouldn't record them, much less stay home for it. They'll also say, they rather
read a good book, than watch television. They'll say they would be able to live without television, but the children....,
or the spous.....
Then proceed with part two of the test: ask them whether they have seen a particular show that was on a couple of days ago,
and ask them about other shows on other days. To start off part two, start asking about a really popular show, and
gradually proceed to less popular or well known shows.
Part three of the test is, asking them about commercials, name one you really like or really hate, and get them going. You
can determine the grade of addiction by the number commercials and shows they can identify.
If you don't like the idea of a test, just get the subject of the conversation to television and look for the signs of
addiction, as stated below.
Like pointed out before, one sure sign of addiction is denial. For example: yes, they've seen "Who wants to be a
millionaire", but they don't like watching it, they actually hate the show, it's just that the wife/hubby really likes it,
so they had to watch it.
Another sure sign of addiction is trying to make it okay: yes, they watch quite a lot of television, but only quality
channels like PBS, Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel, and during commercial breaks they might catch a bit of
"Millionaire". Or, yes, they watch quite a lot of television, but only because they want to be able to participate in the
conversation going on at the water cooler, next day at work.
The third sign of addiction is correction: try something like "What's the name of that girl on 'Friends', uhm... Ally
McBeal or something....". A true addict will set you straight rightaway.
Oh boy, I just realised I'm actually curing myself here. Doesn't every habit-breaking programme start with: Step One; admit
to your addictions.
But I don't want to be cured! Oh well, as addictions go, it's not such a bad one, so all of you out there who are
complaining about how society goes to the dumps, because of television (and especially if you are the host of a show):
lighten up, there are worse matters to worry about than a national addiction to television. You can see those matters on
the evening news....
© 2001 Bertine Centen-Nieuwenkamp