Idiot Box

I don’t watch TV anymore.

Take note–that’s my conscious choice. I could watch TV if I wanted to–it just so happens that I don’t. Flipping through the channels, I feel as if I haven’t missed out anything during the last ten years. Most shows in the Philippines follow a formula that makes it quite predictable–right from the start, actually. Watching “stars” attempt to replace respectable dancing with spastic seizures on noontime varieties just make me want to throw breakable things at the TV, and soaps–excuse me, telenovelas–just make me roll my eyes so much that both of them will get whiplash within the first 10 minutes. Sorry, making googly eyes while reciting lines in a high-pitched voice just don’t cut it as acting in my book, and I’ve seen enough scantily-clad women jiggle their wobbly bits on noontime television to last me a lifetime.

Here’s the thing: shutting the TV off freed hours of my time, so I started doing what people from days of old did to entertain themselves–I read books. I found out that no kind of high-definition TV could match the vividness and clarity of pictures in my head, and that no amount of CGI could recreate the awesomeness of my imagination. Instead of watching a boy and a girl struggle to churn out what passes as cutesy love on TV for the nth time, I could take a peek into the mind of an educated serial killer, or ride with the armies of men towards a glorious battle for Middle-Earth. I could have a conversation with a renowned Asian concubine, or take part in a twisted game where high school students are forced to kill each other in a frenzy of blood and carnage. I could go back in time to visit a farmer’s earthen house in ancient China, or go to the future to see how women survive being forced to function as nothing more but breeding stock.

The variety is endless. The characters are as beautiful or obnoxious or hideously appalling as they’re supposed to be. There are no edited-out scenes, no bleeped-out words, and no commercial breaks. And the best part of it all: they make excellent companions for coffee and tea.

So forgive me for not giving a flying fig about Sir Chief. I’m far too busy attending the wedding of the High King and his beautiful half-elven Queen. Now if you’ll excuse me… I must pass through the looking glass–I’m late! I’m late!