I have decided that my new year’s resolution is to watch more television. It may seems odd, since most people’s resolution necessitates getting off the sofa.
There are a couple of drivers for my desire to become a couch potato.
Views of the news
One reason is that I have come to realise that I have surprisingly little knowledge of pivotal visual news events. I get almost all of my news from the radio or from reading articles on the web. In fact, if I’m honest, a lot of it is gleaned from Twitter.
This is easily enough to have an idea of what’s going on in the world. But I don’t have the full picture because, well, I don’t see the pictures.
This hit home when I was watching some of the end-of-year review programmes and realised I was basically about to see everything for the first time. For instance, I knew all about the footage of Muammar Gaddafi’s capture, but had never seen it. I had no idea what Paul McMullan looked like, even though I knew all about what he was saying. I hadn’t seen much footage of the London riots. And so on.
The other motivation is the increasing sense that I am detached from society. I just can’t take part in those water cooler conversations.
It may be no bad thing that I have never seen an episode of The Only Way is Essex. But my lack of popular culture knowledge means I am veering dangerously close to the territory inhabited by the mythical high court judge who asked who the Beatles were.
The problem is that I stopped watching television for a reason — mainly because I don’t like it very much. There was a point where the only programme I regularly watched was Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe, a programme about television. When I thought about how ridiculous that was, I gave that up too.
I didn’t stop watching TV completely. I mainly used it for watching motorsports. Apart from that, there were just be a handful of TV series that I would watch.
I’m not terribly sure how to watch more without ending up watching crap that I can’t stand. I stopped watching TV because I didn’t want my brain to rot. Is there a way to participate in water cooler conversations without your brain rotting?