Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Why I Don’t Watch TV

 

I don’t watch TV. My wife enjoys it, so I try, sometimes. I’ll sit with her on the couch to watch a program, but I rarely make it halfway through. Fifteen minutes in, I’m up wandering around, or reading something. I just can’t do it. But sometimes I try, and I’m quickly reminded why I can’t.

Last night, she was watching a program called “The Resident.” It’s an “ER” type of show, about young, beautiful, impulsive, passionate, beautiful doctors in training. I watched for at least five minutes. Maybe ten. But then there was an absolutely remarkable scene which reminded me that I had something important that I had to do somewhere. Forgive me if I get some of the back story wrong, but here is how I understand it:

Dr. AJ Austin is a black surgeon who discovers that he was adopted, and arranges to meet his birth parents. His mother, as it turns out, was also a physician. He meets his birth parents in a restaurant. The hipster Dr. Austin, of course, wears his hipster hat indoors, at the table, to demonstrate that he is a caring compassionate urban hipster, or possibly to point out to his mother that he has such horrific table manners that she probably should have raised him herself.

And before we get to the remarkable dialogue of this remarkable scene, let me remind you that this was written by liberals, for purpose of promoting liberalism. This was not produced by conservatives, for the purpose of making liberals look bad. Bear that in mind as you read this dialogue, as AJ Austin’s parents try to explain to him why they gave him up for adoption while she was in school:

Mother: “Medical school was like a dream. Full ride, good grades.”

AJ Austin: “I understand. You had priorities.”

Mother: “No. No, not priorities.”

Father: “She could have ended the pregnancy. Credit us that. We saw it through.”

Holy Toledo.

First, it sounds like she is claiming to have no priorities whatsoever, but I think she meant to say that her career was not a more important priority than her child. Well, ok. We’ll come back to that later.

But what really gets me about this scene is that the liberal authors of this liberal program are openly acknowledging that if his mother had had an abortion, that AJ Austin would never have lived. But she didn’t have an abortion, so he’s alive. So even those who support abortion acknowledge that it ends a life.

What a chilling admission.

Look at it from AJ Austin’s point of view. Like many adopted kids, he wonders why his own mother abandoned him. It’s only natural to wonder such things. Facing her son years later, the parents feel guilty about it, but instead of just saying, “I wanted you to have a better life than what I could provide for you at the time” or something like that, she instead says, “You should be happy that I didn’t murder you.”

Remember that this is not actually an off the cuff comment from a nervous person in a conversation. This was written by a team of professionals. This is exactly what they wanted to say.

What a way to make the mother look virtuous.

The conversation continues (and remember, she just got done telling her son that her career was not a higher priority than him):

Mother: “At 22, it wasn’t just Lamar who wasn’t ready. I didn’t think I would be a good mother. I still don’t know if I ever was. But I knew I would be a good doctor. A really good one. And it was a time when there were almost no doctors who looked like me. That mattered. I had a goal, a mission, something to prove, and I proved it.”

Translation: I was forced to abandon my child by evil white racists.

Um, gee Mom, I’d never thought about it like that. That makes perfect sense. Thanks for explaining why certain social problems are more important than your children. Tell me, if global warming had been popular in those days, would you have murdered me to reduce your carbon footprint?

Look, I know that they have to come up with an hour of this stuff every week, and they may not have time to have this make sense. And I know that many of us make decisions in our youth, especially under difficult circumstances, that we later regret. That’s not my point.

I’m just amazed what modern leftists consider to be positive character traits. They want to illustrate virtuous black people. And this is how they do it. They could have done it differently. The mother got pregnant young, gave her baby up for adoption, completed her education, and both she and her child had a good life, overall. Hey, tough situation. She did the best she could. Just explain that. She did the best she could, and things worked out well for everyone in the end. What a great story!

But no. It’s not her fault. It’s society’s fault. Evil racist white men. They made her abandon her child, so she would have time to become a black female doctor, which evil racist white men hate. We’re lucky that she didn’t give into those evil racist white men and actually murder her child. That would not have been her fault, either, of course. Good for her! Way to stick it to the man!

It’s better, I suppose, if you look at this TV program as an impressionistic painting. Appreciate the overall message, and ignore and the messy, squiggly lines. White men are evil racists. Microaggressions kill babies. Unless a mother shows such remarkable strength of character that she can overcome evil white male racists and give birth to the child she conceived and finish the medical degree that she started. As long as we can agree that white men are evil racists, it may be better if you don’t pay close attention to the details here. Just eat your almond butter and avocado crackers, and absorb what we’re feeding you here.

Goodness.

The rest of the show was probably equally horrifying, but I had something important I had to do somewhere…

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There are 42 comments.

  1. PHCheese Member

    Still a vast waste land. I usually have it on in the background while reading or on the internet. Probably would not have one if it wasn’t for sports.

    • #1
    • November 23, 2019, at 8:29 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  2. Arahant Member

    Dr. Bastiat: The rest of the show was probably equally horrifying, but I had something important I had to do somewhere…

    I feel the same about television.

    • #2
    • November 23, 2019, at 8:51 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  3. Jim McConnell Member

    And it’s even taking over sports broadcasting (see the late ESPN). Thank goodness for the mute button.

    • #3
    • November 23, 2019, at 9:15 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  4. aardo vozz Member

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    And it’s even taking over sports broadcasting (see the late ESPN). Thank goodness for the mute button.

    Also thank goodness for being able to follow scores and highlights (if any) online( with the mute button 🙂).

    • #4
    • November 23, 2019, at 9:33 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  5. Hoyacon Member

    If there were no doctor shows, no cop shows, no sitcoms with male idiots being the butt of jokes, and no “talent” shows judged by really annoying people, how mush television would there be? It would be like the late 40’s, early 50’s with not much on. Bliss.

    Exception to the rule: House.

    • #5
    • November 23, 2019, at 10:12 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  6. Seawriter Member

    Years ago (it was the second or third book I reviewed) I reviewed Challenger Park, a novel written by Stephen Harrigan who had previously written the excellent Gates of the Alamo. I was expecting a lot from Challenger Park as a result. Instead it proved a third rate soap opera. The book was set at JSC in the Shuttle era. The main character was a female astronaut. She claimed to put her asthma-plagued child first, but he came first only until there was something she wanted more – a trip into space, or an affair with one of the flight trainers. The book even featured a non-stop drive from Houston to Cape Canaveral by one of the lovers. (I thought it the most contrived thing evah, but no, a few years later Lisa Nowak did just that to injure her ex-flame’s new squeeze.)

    Ironically the only character I found sympathetic was a nineteen-year-old girl hired as an au pair for rocketgirl’s child (the one that came first, you know). She wanted to get married and have a bunch of kids, and all the “grown-ups” in the book thought she was a slacker. The book exulted the most bass-ackwards set of moral values I ever encountered, and all the other reviews called it a bold look at a modern woman. Yuk.

    Mind I was working in that environment. I worked with engineers and astronauts. There were some crazies (eg Nowak) but most of them had both feet on the ground. 

    That book is what created my policy of only writing positive reviews. I did not want to waste my time (or my readers’ time) on books not worth reading. If it did not merit a positive review, I read a different book and reviewed that instead.

    • #6
    • November 23, 2019, at 10:13 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  7. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    I have been unable to watch doctor shows since I learned enough to know they are all fake. Two doctor shows I have watched. The first was “Northern Exposure,” which my office staff insisted I had to watch. IT was OK but got crazy the last season. I guess they ran out of material.

    The other I like, although I haven’t watched it for the last two years, is “Doc Martin” on British TV. The technical advisors are good. The only thing I notice is that Martin, the actor doesn’t know how to use an opthalmoscope. I taught medical students to use them for 15 years so maybe I’m over focusing. It is fun to watch the NHS in action. It is hugely popular in Britain and is now on 9 seasons. The town where the story is set has become a huge tourist attraction.

    The only TV shows I watch are college football and my wife is much more enthusiastic than I am.

    • #7
    • November 23, 2019, at 10:29 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  8. Percival Thatcher

    I stopped watching TV when it seemed that every show was a “reality” show. I reject their reality. That left old movies and sports, and lately the old movies are disappearing into the black hole of streaming services who are buying up all the content and making it proprietary. The problem with sports broadcasting is that the announcers jabber even when they have nothing to say. The advantage of having both a play-by-play announcer and a color analyst was that they could spell one another and this worked when the two had rapport with one another. Lately they have been adding a third, and it appears that they are paying them by the word. The lack of anything intelligent to say does not prevent them from saying stuff.

    We should have cloned Vin Scully.

    • #8
    • November 23, 2019, at 10:31 AM PST
    • 11 likes
  9. The Reticulator Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    I stopped watching TV when it seemed that every show was a “reality” show. I reject their reality. That left old movies and sports, and lately the old movies are disappearing into the black hole of streaming services who are buying up all the content and making it proprietary. The problem with sports broadcasting is that the announcers jabber even when they have nothing to say. The advantage of having both a play-by-play announcer and a color analyst was that they could spell one another and this worked when the two had rapport with one another. Lately they have been adding a third, and it appears that they are paying them by the word. The lack of anything intelligent to say does not prevent them from saying stuff.

    You have to admit, though, that once in a while they talk about the game.

    • #9
    • November 23, 2019, at 11:17 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  10. Percival Thatcher

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    I stopped watching TV when it seemed that every show was a “reality” show. I reject their reality. That left old movies and sports, and lately the old movies are disappearing into the black hole of streaming services who are buying up all the content and making it proprietary. The problem with sports broadcasting is that the announcers jabber even when they have nothing to say. The advantage of having both a play-by-play announcer and a color analyst was that they could spell one another and this worked when the two had rapport with one another. Lately they have been adding a third, and it appears that they are paying them by the word. The lack of anything intelligent to say does not prevent them from saying stuff.

    You have to admit, though, that once in a while they talk about the game.

    It happens. Even a blind pig finds an acorn now and then.

    • #10
    • November 23, 2019, at 11:29 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  11. Samuel Block Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat: The rest of the show was probably equally horrifying, but I had something important I had to do somewhere…

    I feel the same about television.

    Oh man, thought I was alone on this! The last TV I had was literally decoration. I think if we could somehow convince Americans to not have televisions in the middle of their house, we will have saved future America for at least 7 generations. 

    Or at least I’d be a little less peeved.

    • #11
    • November 23, 2019, at 11:48 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  12. jonb60173 Member

    I barely watch tv except for twenty minutes after sliding under the covers I’ll throw on either Frazier or The Big Bang Theory for a little icing on my beddy bye time. Recently my wife’s nudged me into the Hallmark channel. I’ve found it sappy, but also good clean entertainment. I feel a little better for having watched it. I guess this is what the center-right has been funneled to. 

     

    Ps – the problem with watching The Big Bang Theory is it’s on Sandra Bees’ station and whatever her right wing hating show is called. So I gotta do a quick “mute” when her face appears to promote because the first word out of her mouth is Trump, and then it goes lefty hate from there.

    • #12
    • November 23, 2019, at 12:03 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  13. aardo vozz Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    I stopped watching TV when it seemed that every show was a “reality” show. I reject their reality. That left old movies and sports, and lately the old movies are disappearing into the black hole of streaming services who are buying up all the content and making it proprietary. The problem with sports broadcasting is that the announcers jabber even when they have nothing to say. The advantage of having both a play-by-play announcer and a color analyst was that they could spell one another and this worked when the two had rapport with one another. Lately they have been adding a third, and it appears that they are paying them by the word. The lack of anything intelligent to say does not prevent them from saying stuff.

    You have to admit, though, that once in a while they talk about the game.

    Didn’t mean to flag this. For some reason the unflag button isn’t showing. Sorry!

    • #13
    • November 23, 2019, at 12:33 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  14. Percival Thatcher

    aardo vozz (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    I stopped watching TV when it seemed that every show was a “reality” show. I reject their reality. That left old movies and sports, and lately the old movies are disappearing into the black hole of streaming services who are buying up all the content and making it proprietary. The problem with sports broadcasting is that the announcers jabber even when they have nothing to say. The advantage of having both a play-by-play announcer and a color analyst was that they could spell one another and this worked when the two had rapport with one another. Lately they have been adding a third, and it appears that they are paying them by the word. The lack of anything intelligent to say does not prevent them from saying stuff.

    You have to admit, though, that once in a while they talk about the game.

    Didn’t mean to flag this. For some reason the unflag button isn’t showing. Sorry!

    Aw, hell. That’s okay. I’ll flag it too. That will even it up.

    EDIT: Never mind. I thought you flagged mine.

    • #14
    • November 23, 2019, at 1:02 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  15. Boss Mongo Member

    Dr. Bastiat: It’s better, I suppose, if you look at this TV program as an impressionistic painting. Appreciate the overall message, and ignore and the messy, squiggly lines. White men are evil racists. Microaggressions kill babies. Unless a mother shows such remarkable strength of character that she can overcome evil white male racists and give birth to the child she conceived and finish the medical degree that she started. As long as we can agree that white men are evil racists, it may be better if you don’t pay close attention to the details here.

    • #15
    • November 23, 2019, at 1:05 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  16. OldPhil Coolidge

    Percival (View Comment):

    I stopped watching TV when it seemed that every show was a “reality” show. I reject their reality. That left old movies and sports, and lately the old movies are disappearing into the black hole of streaming services who are buying up all the content and making it proprietary. The problem with sports broadcasting is that the announcers jabber even when they have nothing to say. The advantage of having both a play-by-play announcer and a color analyst was that they could spell one another and this worked when the two had rapport with one another. Lately they have been adding a third, and it appears that they are paying them by the word. The lack of anything intelligent to say does not prevent them from saying stuff.

    We should have cloned Vin Scully.

    You got your play-by-play person (not always a guy), and you got your color person (usually an ex-jock). Then you got the on-field “reporter” (usually an up-and coming type) whose only apparent job is to find out who’s in the tent getting examined, and to get the coach to say nothing worthwhile coming off/on the field at the half. Now oftentimes we’re also getting the “rules” guy, usually a retired ref, who gives his opinion on controversial calls, and who is pretty much wrong 50% of the time like he was before he retired. 

    I’m looking forward to the “stands” guy who will conduct interviews with drunk fans during the game.

    • #16
    • November 23, 2019, at 1:19 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  17. The Reticulator Member

    OldPhil (View Comment):
    I’m looking forward to the “stands” guy who will conduct interviews with drunk fans during the game.

    Might be the way to get some substantive commentary. 

    • #17
    • November 23, 2019, at 1:27 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  18. WillowSpring Member

    When we moved out in the country, we couldn’t pick up any TV, so we pretty much decided to do without it. That worked for a while until the Bush/Gore election with its “hanging chads”. We gave up and got Dish Network. Once the election was over, we found some interesting programs – there was a “Farm Channel” or something like that which would have a half hour showing how to train a horse to get on and off of a horse trailer. It is probably a sign of some sort of character defect, but I found it fascinating.

    About the only “real” program we watched was House.

    These days, the TV is basically for political events such as the House hearings this week or a Trump Rally. I used to watch sports, but no longer care. After the kneeling season, I quit entirely. Being in Redskins territory, that is no real sacrifice.

    The good news is that we have much more time to read.

    • #18
    • November 23, 2019, at 1:41 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  19. Percival Thatcher

    OldPhil (View Comment):
    I’m looking forward to the “stands” guy who will conduct interviews with drunk fans during the game.

    That would have been really something to see at the old Chicago Stadium during a Blackhawks game. It might even have made the Tribune the next day.

    Sportscaster Flung Onto Rink in Third Period

    • #19
    • November 23, 2019, at 2:22 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  20. Amy Schley Moderator

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):
    I have been unable to watch doctor shows since I learned enough to know they are all fake.

    Scrubs was probably the best and most realistic doctor show, especially in how everyone is depending on each other but also how everyone has obnoxious quirks that drive their teammates crazy. Whether it’s impostor syndrome or burnout or problems at home, everyone’s just trying not to kill their patients who are also aggravating. (Richard Karn has a great recurring role as a hypochondriac.)

    • #20
    • November 23, 2019, at 2:55 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  21. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    We watch three things. Squash TV (special extra streaming), South Park, and Hawaii 5-0. Mostly I have my nose in a book or the Wall Street Journal.

    For all you sports fans, if you have never watched a professional squash tournament, you are missing out on some exciting action. You can find many matches on YouTube if you want a taste.

    • #21
    • November 23, 2019, at 3:43 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  22. EJHill Podcaster

    I know I speak for Rob and all the other TV professionals on Ricochet when I say you’re all philistines that are taking away the food from our tables and forcing us to beg in the streets. Feel better?!?

    • #22
    • November 23, 2019, at 7:27 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  23. Manny Member

    My wife is the same as your wife, and I’m the same as you! I can’t stand TV either. The only thing that interests me these days are sports and EWTN, which is the Catholic channel.

    • #23
    • November 23, 2019, at 7:47 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  24. Arahant Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    I know I speak for Rob and all the other TV professionals on Ricochet when I say you’re all philistines that are taking away the food from our tables and forcing us to beg in the streets. Feel better?!?

    Read books instead, (says the author).

    • #24
    • November 23, 2019, at 8:09 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  25. Jon1979 Lincoln

    I suppose this could set up a future episode where AJ Austin comes out as pro-life, because his mother told he she almost killed him before he was born, and he doesn’t want to see a life of someone who could grow up to be a doctor like he is needlessly wiped out.

    Of course, Twitter would go wild, the series would be put on hiatus for several weeks until new showrunners could be found, and the actor and the network would have issue repeated apologies if an episode like that aired. But the thought processes for AJ would be more logical there than if he was just told he was almost aborted and it had no effect whatsoever about his opinions against abortion.

    • #25
    • November 23, 2019, at 8:42 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  26. MISTER BITCOIN Coolidge

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    Still a vast waste land. I usually have it on in the background while reading or on the internet. Probably would not have one if it wasn’t for sports.

     

    i signed up with youtube tv 2 weeks ago.

    so far so good.

    i got it strictly for football season.

     

    • #26
    • November 23, 2019, at 11:00 PM PST
    • 1 like
  27. The Dowager Jojo Member

    I don’t touch the remote because it loses the “recent” settings my husband wants to keep, and because I don’t care what’s on and usually wander away. Funny, we do watch “The Resident” because our daughter is one. (She doesn’t watch it – doesn’t like it, and no time.) That scene with the birth mother bothered me, too. 

    • #27
    • November 24, 2019, at 1:05 AM PST
    • 1 like
  28. Seawriter Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    I know I speak for Rob and all the other TV professionals on Ricochet when I say you’re all philistines that are taking away the food from our tables and forcing us to beg in the streets. Feel better?!?

    Read books instead, (says the author).

    Beat me to it.

    • #28
    • November 24, 2019, at 5:24 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  29. Gaius Member

    TV drama is the most conservative art medium for the reason that what happens this week must have consequences the next. If those consequences are not true to life the audience can tell. The tv writer simply doesn’t have the freedom that the novelist, musician or filmmaker does to frame the story or even craft the reality in which it takes place. Our current “golden age of telivision” is owed entirely to the fact that shows like Breaking Bad and The Sopranos have been able to tell stories in keeping with enduring truths about human nature. In tv, the facts of life are still conservative.

    • #29
    • November 24, 2019, at 10:00 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  30. MACHO GRANDE' (aka - Chri… Coolidge

    Plenty of great stuff out there that’s not broadcast.

    The Crown is a fantastic series on Netflix.

    Safe was a fantastic series.

    Breaking Bad

    The Wire

    Fleabag (highly under-appreciated)

     

    These are just the big ones off the top of my head. The great thing about the market is you get to choose, and there’s more choice now than ever. So find something worth watching, to unplug from the day. That’s all it is. Entertainment. Even documentaries.

     

    • #30
    • November 24, 2019, at 10:51 AM PST
    • 1 like