Tag: television

Removing Television

I don’t consume a lot of television. Occasionally I will binge a show on Netflix. I liked the three seasons of Fargo and the first season of True Detective. I will put on some garden reality show or documentary in the background. Every now and then my wife and I stream a movie or watch some standup. But for the most part if I lived alone I would watch almost no television.

The truth is I just don’t enjoy movies or television. Compared to reading or listening to audiobooks I find the process tedious and unstimulating. I can’t thing of the last time I really enjoyed a new movie. I find streaming services like Netflix especially irritating because of the choice paralysis involved. Every time I sit down I spend forty-five minutes scrolling through the lackluster choices until I pick something I’m not really that excited to about but feel compelled to watch because I just spent forty-five minutes looking for it. I would rather spend the time reading, writing, talking, cooking, or just about anything including just sitting in silence napping.

Yesterday my wife and I were discussing children, our childhood, and parenting styles. Television screen time came up. I don’t exactly remember how the conversation developed but my wife asked me if I thought getting rid of the television would be a good idea. As in getting rid of it completely and making a living room without one as the centerpiece. The point being that we would raise Juniper free of television.

My initial reaction was immediate approval. The only one who watches it regularly is my wife so my life would remain mostly unchanged. It would be a improvement because it would force us to come up with some better activities on weekend nights and get rid of the dread of being stuck in an endless loop of deciding what to watch.

But we both have some misgiving. I grew up with unlimited screen time and no supervision over what movies and television I watched. I remember spending my afternoons watching Disney cartoons, I Love Lucy, Gilligan’s Island, The Beverly Hillbillies, and other reruns. Once I got a bit older I watched a lot of Star Trek the Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Hercules, Xena, The X-Files, and a bunch of other shows I can’t even remember. My younger brother and I spent a lot of time watching television, but we also played outside, played games, skateboarded, had a lot of friends, explored, got girlfriends when we got older, and grew up to be overall successful adults. Television did not rot our brains. Well maybe a little bit.

I’m afraid that if we get rid of the television we would be depriving Juniper of the fun I had growing up. I don’t want to be that crunchy granola or fundamentalist religious parent that forces my ascetic beliefs onto my children, but at the same time I feel that modern television is pure brain garbage and is just another excessive attention deficit inducing trash pile that sucks away happiness.

With our move coming up in the next few weeks it would be the perfect time to get rid of television and change the way we interact in our living room space. So I’m really thinking this over, weighing the pros and the cons. What do you guys think, should I dump the television? Do you think I would be depriving my daughter? Let me know in the comments, I’m really interested.

Fargo Season 3 and villany.

Varga

I spent most of the weekend watching the entirety of the third season of Fargo. If you know me, I often go on about how Fargo is the best television around. Excellent show and every season takes the writing up to greater heights.

This season gave us Mr. V. M. Varga, one of the most terrifying villains I’ve ever come across. The writers managed to pull off a depiction of pure unrepentant demonic evil flawlessly, and most importantly without resorting to caricature or gore. Varga is beautifully written satanic evil perfection.

If you are a writer, I recommend watching this season. It’s a stand-alone, so you don’t need to watch season one and two. Watch this for the fantastic writing and expert use of symbolism and Biblical allusion.

Stranger Things

***Potential Spoilers Below***

stranger-things

As far back as I remember my choice of visual entertainment has been the long form television show. While I enjoy a good movie I  prefer the long arcs and character development found in television. Star Trek:TNG, DS9, Babylon 5, and The XFiles is what I loved. You can imagine how happy I am that we are now in a golden age  television. Even better, we are at the beginning of entire seasons instantly released  so one can binge entire shows in one sitting.

Netflix’s Stranger Things is a must watch example of this new format. A pastiche of 80s horror,  scifi, and pop culture, that pays homage to everything and everyone including Stephen King,  Stephen Spielberg, John Carpenter, The Clash, and classic Dungeons and Dragons.

The show takes place in Hawkins, Indiana over several days during the Fall of 1983. A 12 year old boy mysteriously vanishes one night. His close friends begin searching for him on their own while the town Sheriff begins  His disappearance sets in motion a chain of events involving secret government projects, psychics, and a horrible evil force from beyond.

Stranger Things has an outstanding cast of young actors complimented by a fantastic performance by Winona Ryder. If you enjoy 80’s genre horror/scifi movies like E.T., Poltergeist, Carrie, and Stand by Me, you will love this show.

**Some Potential Spoilers**

strangerthingsposter

While I enjoyed the 80’s references and old movie homage what I truly enjoyed about the show was the really good somewhat esoteric occult symbolism. Off the top of my head several things stood out.

The failure of fathers. Every father figure character in the show was a failure. From the creepy Dr. Breener the evil scientist abuser to Will Byers self serving waste of a father. Even Sheriff Hooper failed as a father in his own eyes and attempts to redeem himself. This theme coupled with El being a somewhat angelic figure(The gold wig, levitating above water) that is sacrificed alludes to a few occult/biblical themes. Contrasted with the portrayal of mothers it gives you plenty to think about.

Running away with the horrible father theme you could see the whole show  being about child abuse. Specifically abuse by fathers. El is clearly the victim of Dr. Breener who she calls “Pa.” The other main victim is Will Byers, the son of a druggie abuser who abandoned him, his brother, and mother. The Byers family has an alluded element of darkness and child abuse that is not hard to catch.

El’s name is Eleven. When you look at numerology and occult symbolism of the number just by doing a quick google search you realize it was intentional. It represents duality, psychic power, super intellect and danger.

The idea of duality in 11 is the key symbolism. She is two different things, on one hand a innocent child on the other a powerful weapon. The world is shown having more dimensions with the Upside Down, a good and a bad.

What does this mean? I think that the main monster, the Demogorgon is actually the Upside Downs representation of child abuse. The Demogorgon is the other side of El, the other half of Eleven, the representation of all the child abuse alluded or shown in the series. At one point El even states “I am the monster,” in one of the episodes.

What do you guys think, any other theories? I love weird occult stuff believe that symbolism of this sort adds depth to stories allowing for greater connection and enjoyment.