I was so broke about a year and a half ago, I cancelled my cable television. Commercials seemed a bore, so I got Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime, and still saved $100 a month, and didn't have to put up with endless commercials. I never realized how much power TV commercials had until I wasn't seeing them at all.
I was hanging out at my friend's house and she had the TV on. I saw a commercial for a supplement pill to cure low testosterone in men that could be ordered with a phone call to an 800 number. "What a scam," I remarked. It just seemed like placebo caplets to me. Without a prescription, they weren't going to do much good. Then a commercial for another supplement came on, this time, to cure insulin resistance, but they described the condition incorrectly. "That's not how insulin resistance works!" I yelled at the TV.
Being an election year, I've started to see TV spots where certain issues and topics are brought up over and over. I've realized that I feel more firm in my politics because I don't watch these news channels now, and I do all my research myself, looking for the most accredited source without bias. And it's surprising to me how much people quote the TV spots when talking politics.
There was a gas pipeline burst on Thursday in Alabama. And now the rumors of gas shortages are driving the paranoid people of Middle Tennessee crazy and the gas stations have cars lined up to the interstate. But me? I'm just annoyed, because if people weren't filling up jerry cans and freaking out, there wouldn't be a gas shortage in the first place.
All this has made me realize how much control the TV has over our minds, but it's super subtle in doing so. When I was bored and had cable, I'd find myself turning it on for background noise or aimlessly flipping channels when I was burnt out. Don't get me wrong, I'm going to watch TV shows and movies and reality TV (I loved Hellevator
, just like I love the Soska Twins), and I'm not giving that up. But not having 24/7 access to news networks and an endless sea of commercials trying to convince me that I NEED their product has changed how much I do and do not trust ideas presented to me. It's allowed me to think for myself and want to investigate more. I like research, and I like doing it more now. I don't have propaganda sneaking into my psyche so much any longer. And I feel like it's sad that Americans don't know how to research and can't tell that they're being bombarded by ideas and images that are not their own and are accepting them as fact without true research. We trust our news networks to have fact-checked ahead of time, but nothing is further from the truth. It's gotten to the point that comedians are the only ones telling the truth on news-satire programs, but the trained and accredited journalists are not getting the freedom to present their research to the public, silenced by the conglomerates who own the media.
I wish I could get everybody to spend a few months without cable TV, just so they could see how much it really control them to not think, just blindly believe.