Again with our long-running multi-part series: My choices are not judging yours. (And if they were, why should you care?)
As we have mentioned before, and I quote, “personal finance blog posts about the latte factor are always devolving into arguments in the comments about whether or not we should get rid of tv and whether getting rid of tv means you’re some sort of effete arugula eater who thinks you’re better than anybody else.”
PF blogs focus on the money aspect, as we did in our previous post. Today’s post focuses on the effete arugula eating portion, as do the academic blogs that tackle this topic.
Folks, there are only 24 hours per day and a lot of things competing for our time. You can watch tv or do something you like better. Maybe you like to read trashy novels to decompress. Or garden. Or (pfeaugh) exercise. Or maybe you don’t even have time to decompress because your life is so crazy. Maybe you live someplace where it’s beautiful outside instead of stifling. Or your family needs to keep you up on all the local gossip, something that rivals any reality show. Or you’re addicted to computer games or fora or blogging. Maybe tv is the best option for you. Maybe it isn’t. We can’t make that decision for you, because our utility functions have different weights (and we have different opportunities as well).
The only problem is when you wish you were watching a different amount of tv but for one reason or another you’re not happy with your own amount of tv watching. Then perhaps you should do a time audit and figure out what needs fixing. Put in some commitment devices.
If your preference is to watch tv, maybe you think doing other stuff is a waste of your time (and it probably is for you). If your preference is to do something else, maybe you think that watching tv is a waste of your time (and again, it probably is for you). That’s fine. We all have our own preferences and we’ve made our revealed preferences based on our own preferences. And our preferences are allowed to be different than the mainstream (yes, the majority of people still watch some form of video entertainment in the US) or identical to them.
I find the posts complaining about how people who don’t watch tv being lying effete snobs more annoying than the posts talking about how turning off the tv for a month changed their lives for the better. I’ve never actually seen a post from someone saying that tv is a complete waste of time and only stupid people watch it, though I have seen many posts complaining about people who say such things. (Not to say such posts don’t exist, just that I haven’t read any.)
It all reminds me of when I was a kid and my uncle teased me for asking for a bratwurst (like the adults were having) rather than a hot dog like all the other kids were having… but I LIKE bratwurst. I don’t like hot dogs, never really have. Am I saying you’re a loser plebeian* for liking hot dogs? No. Am I some sort of elitist scum for disdaining the humble processed dog? Maybe. But seriously, I promise I don’t get together with my similarly foodie friends and snicker about your hot dog eating habits. I probably don’t even NOTICE whether you got a hot dog or a burger or a brat. And I may not understand your choice– since I think hot dogs are gross, but that doesn’t mean I think any less of you as a person. (And if I did, wouldn’t that say more about me than it does about you?)
I also don’t care if your secret pleasure is that reality show about the people from the Jersey Shore. Or you just like commercials. Or you prefer artsy fartsy films. I honestly could not care less. I just don’t have the energy to judge you on those choices. Sorry. (Though if your preferences do overlap with mine, totes let me know– we should hang out.)
So why spend energy judging me on my unplebeian choices? I like what I like because I like it, not because I’m trying to be better than anybody else. I’ve spent a life-time of being made fun of for liking opera and musicals instead of pop** (exception: alternative and metal), eating brats instead of hot dogs, drinking milk instead of soda… and more! (#2 prefers soda to milk, and lemonade to both. #1 is on board with lemonade, but only real lemonade, none of that minute maid or crystal light crap.) We’re not in middle school anymore, guys. We’re allowed to have different preferences. I’m secure with my preferences.
Are you secure with yours?
* I’m so plebeian that spell check informs me I can’t even spell the word
**oddly, people are always surprised to find out I dislike ballet (except the Nutcracker)… not sure why liking opera necessarily means a person likes ballet, when opera is interesting and ballet is boring (though my sister disagrees on that last point). Obviously if I were really judging your lack of culture I would enjoy ballet too, right?