Undecided Voters: The Importance of TV

CNN's Undecided Voters

Baby pictures, clothing, food choices… and TV?

CNN recently published an interesting feature on undecided voters in the 2012 election. This post isn’t about the politics of the article – rather, it’s about the decision to include both the television and what’s on the television as one of the important elements of the profile of a person. And of course, the token atelevisionist is also included – the “single woman” archetype who has “NO TV”, though I don’t find that archetype to actually be very representative.

How much does the type of television you have and the shows that you watch on it say about you? Does it say enough about you that it would be important to protect it in the same way we protect the records of what we check out from the library? Is this a much more relevant measure of who we are in this day and age?

Why does TV matter so much? Recent polls have indicated that Americans are watching more than ever, with some estimating it at around just under 40 hours of television per week, which is equivalent to a full time job.

“In a 65-year life, that person will have spent 9 years glued to the tube.” – TV & Health

How many of us say we just don’t have enough time to do everything we want? How would you like an extra nine years?

Television is also interesting because among all of the common things we do in our lives, it is the only one that we rank as highly enjoyable in the moment, but unfulfilling in the long term. And this is something that I struggle with a great deal in my own life. Sometimes after a long day at work, all I want to do is come home and plop in front of the television and just get lost in a show. And yet, there are so many meaningful things that I want to accomplish with my life that I need to put time and energy into – and that includes maintaining meaningful relationships with people in my life that I care about.

Clearly television is an important part of the American life. What does it say about you? Here’s my television profile:

I own no television and do not have cable.

However, I do own a projector and have a surround sound system. The television I do watch comes almost entirely from Hulu. I watch mostly fictional shows, and I lean toward sci-fi with some of my all time favorites being series like Buffy, Stargate, and Doctor Who. I’m not exactly sure what this says about me, but I do think that when I watch TV it’s for escape and for the benefit of imagining how much more might possibly be out there.

Tell me about you… what type of TV do you have, what kinds of shows do you watch? What do you think this says about you?

Bonus question: Would you give up TV for an extra nine years of life? If so, what would you do with that time?

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