Guest Opinion

Subtle Addiction

By:  Greg Allen - Special to GCN   31517

None of us can claim perfection. We are inherently flawed; that's what makes us human. You might say we’re creatures of habit. Our make-up is one of good traits, and others not so.

You might think an addiction is something more serious than habit, but it’s not defined as such. An addiction is a dependence on or commitment to a habit or practice. We often hear about the addiction to drugs, pornography, or alcohol, but I stand on the premise that there’s a subtle addiction assaulting us daily. My conjecture is this one is seldom debated, yet television can be a very real addiction in itself.

When I was a tyke programs like Leave it to Beaver, The Lone Ranger and Batman were downright tame as far as programming was concerned. They lacked profanity, violence, and certainly didn't have shady content that bordered on the obscene. However, by today's standards, that type of programming would be considered lame.

Those producing today’s shows sure push the envelope. Shows like Two and a half Men are loaded with sexually explicit dialogue that isn't really comedy at all. Other shows like Criminal Minds, CSI, and Flashpoint are heavy laden with violence.

Television can be like any other addiction; we can choose to indulge are not. My premise is one that there's nothing wrong with television, if you control it and not let that boob tube lay waste to you.

When Elvis Presley first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show the cameramen were instructed to not show below his waist, for Elvis would slowly move his hips in a provocative manner that would drive women wild. The censors didn't care for that. Yet today’s programming has metamorphosed into the distasteful.

Some time back I found myself suffering in a fog of depression. I don't know what triggered it, but I finally realized the state I was in after a month or so. I would come home from work, take a shower, change into my pajamas, grab something to eat and drink then slip into bed with that therapeutic remote control. That went on for days, yet my wife never said a word. I guess she never thought a thing of it. It took me a while, but I soon realized I was depressed and was treating it with a drug of sorts.

My wife and I used to watch the show Criminal Minds. Why? I don't really have an explanation as to why, but one night we were watching it and the episode showcased a serial killer who was a satanic worshiper and a cannibal as well. They caught him when he killed a young woman and chopped her up in the barbecue and served her at a church function. I remember saying, “For cryin’ out loud, Cindy, why are we watching this garbage?” She couldn't answer, but I then added, “We’re never gonna watch that again!” The next day I kept asking myself, “Of what value was that program to me?” The answer would always revolve back to “None.”

I'm convinced television isn't all that innocent. It's a serious matter when it pertains to things you allow to flow past the gate of your mind. If you dwell on something long enough it will overtake you.

I used to watch that popular show Survivor, until I came to the conclusion that their motto of “Outwit, Outplay, and Outlast” would be better defined as “Deceive, Hedge, and Plunder.” (I grew to detest the behavior they’ve promoted)

A college professor of mine once said television was the biggest waster of time that was ever invented ~ I now concur with her.

I'm finding myself less and less interested in television anymore. The older I get I think taking in nature on a walk, reading a good book under the shade of an old oak, or creating something out of nothing is far better than wasting time on programming that’s of little benefit to my soul.




Greg Allen’s column, Thinkin’ Out Loud, is published bi-monthly.  He’s an author, nationally syndicated columnist and the founder of Builder of the Spirit in Jamestown, Indiana, a non-profit organization aiding the poor.  He can be reached at
www.builderofthespirit.org or follow him on Twitter  @GregAllencolumn 
© Greg Allen ~ All Rights Reserved


Welcome to GulfCoastNews.com