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Turning Over New Leaf

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Why Do You Focus On Negativity?

tv

Why Do You Focus On Negativity?

 You don’t? Well, you fooled me.

Today, I thought I would relax a little and do something I do very infrequently. I decided to watch television. There are a few shows I can get into from time to time, but for the most part, I turn on the boob tube just to look through it. I use it for white noise to drown out other sounds around me so I can clear my head, sleep, or just think.

Actually watching television taught me a great deal this day. It began when I turned the TV set on. I entered in the middle of a lawyer’s commercial showing severely injured victims of auto accidents, people who were denied social security claims, and disabled veterans. I waited until the end of the commercial so I could see what show was currently playing on that particular channel.

The original lineup of unfortunate victims was followed by a second lawyer’s ad. This one informed me that people suffering from asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, or asbestos-related cancer would find a close friend who cared by calling an 800 number.

When the third commercial popped up asking, “Do you suffer from COPD,” I clicked to another channel. And was I happy I did! Now I know that my friends suffering from diabetes have a better chance of getting compensated for one of the 947 different complications that can arise if they fail to call “Bob.” Bob is not a lawyer, but he knows a good one.

Once again, I clicked to another channel, hoping to find Bonanza or Little House on the Prairie. Instead, I found a has-been celebrity pitching for Death Insurance. Now that I was all primed for relaxation, I was able to watch a crippled man drive around his home in a power scooter that gave him his life back, immediately followed by a doctor explaining how sleep apnea can be cured with CPAP therapy. I was not yet fully relaxed, so I clicked to another channel.

Lo and behold! It was a news channel. Unfortunately, the moderator announced he would be back in three minutes with a report on the debt crisis. I waited the three minutes, while listening to the leading causes of heart attacks among women, the best places to receive cancer treatments, and two identical commercials stressing how to recover money if you contracted mesothelioma. Not having the staying power to wait for the debt crisis news, I pushed the power button on the clicker and uttered something akin to “holy poop.”

If I were to suggest to my friends and neighbors the importance of telling their children how stupid they were on a daily basis, or how ugly they were compared to other children, or how they are destined to be losers in life, I would be branded a monster. Yet, I suspect that many reading this post regularly do something similar to themselves every day. They watch television and inundate themselves with negativity.

Why on God’s Earth would anyone want to focus on death, heart attacks, cancers, disabilities, money problems, or anything else that fills their minds and hearts with sadness? Yet many do. I humbly suggest that frequent television viewing just might be the cause of someone’s depression. At least I have never even heard of anyone kicking up his heels and exclaiming loudly, “Oh boy, mesothelioma”!

Screw the lawyers, pharmaceutical companies, and the insurance industry. Go read a good book and relax. That’s what I did.

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22 comments:

  1. Don't have a TV haven't had one for about a year and a half, have to say I have been much happier since I got rid of it.

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  2. Chibi Janine: I am proud of you. When I lived in Vermont years ago, we had no TV, and those were some of the happiest years of our lives.

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  3. Amen. I don't watch TV that much for that reason. There is nothing but junk on there most of the time.

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  4. Karen: Good for you. I find that so many people do not realize they are bombarded with TV negativity all day long, and then they wonder why they are feeling glum.

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  5. Well said JJ! I haven't watched TV in a very long time and I am happy. Come to think of it, everyone that I know that doesn't watch TV is happy (there aren't many, but I do know a few people who don't watch TV either). Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

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  6. Oh yes, commerical time is a great time to take the doggies out, go for another fruit juice bar, perhaps open a bottle of wine....anything but watch commericals today. But I have watched a video on commericals from years and years ago..now I can watch those and feel pretty darn good about myself, and the entire world around me, okay I may have to watch the man in the grocery store who stacks the toilet paper, but as they say those were the days...yes they were...most people held doors and said thank you a lot too.... glad you found a great book! I don't watch a lot of tv either but the few shows I like we have them set to record, and you can buzz right through those commericals of today!

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  7. Suze: How did I know?

    Miriam: Fancy that. I guess there must be a connection.

    Karen S: I have a CD of old TV commercials that I show my classes in my Pop Culture course. When I watch it, I realize how much our culture has changed.

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  8. JJ .. hear! hear! I couldn't agree with you more. I reckon it is one of the biggest sources of depression for some people. A book, a good film, a relaxing bath, sitting outside under the blue skies or starry night sky breathing in fresh air or a great chat with good company surpasses TV at any given time. I'm with you JJ! Also I wanted to thank you for your beautiful comment on my blog. I am flattered! Have a wonderful TV free day my friend.

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  9. Katherine: Any one of those things helps. The constant refrain of misery has no up side. A "starry night sky breathing in fresh air" is so much better.

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  10. I remember a father telling me at a parent-teacher evening once, how, in a moment of despair probably not unlike the one you describe in this post, he through his TV out! His son was one of the most voracious readers of novels I'd ever taught.

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  11. Akseli: It is a shame. It can be a very effective educational media tool. We are just teaching the wrong things.

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  12. I hear you! My favorites are the ones for drugs that will fix some problem but at the risk of permanent side effects, death (rare of course), digestive inconvenience, thoughts of suicide, eye discoloration, increased risk of cancer, and who knows what else. I know the lawyers make them put that in there, but why would anyone rush to call their doctor to try out any of this? I stay away from the news and hit mute during commercials.

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  13. Galen: I agree. In the 1970s, a law firm started litigation asking the courts to permit lawyers to advertise. I knew if the courts consented to an interpretation of the Canons of Legal Ethics that would allow attorneys to advertise the profession would be cheapened. I believe I was correct.

    The law business is diluted. The requirements for admission to the Bar have been relaxed. Multi-state exams and attitudes that have destroyed our education system now permeate what used to be a profession. Lawyers are running around seeking clients like rats in an outhouse, amidst enormous competition.

    One result is out-of-control tort litigation. Things have spiraled downward and now informed consent is required before cutting toenails. Thus, it is impossible to advertise medical treatment without bombarding the public with negativity. The entire system, legal, medical, and insurance, must be overhauled.

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  14. Want to avoid all those depressing ads? Just start watching your program five minutes later, back it up to the beginning, and fast forward through the commercials! That's what we do!!

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  15. Buen texto. Interesante. Un placer leerte y seguirte con el permiso tuyo. Que tengas un buen fin de semana amigo.

    http://socialculturalyhumano.blogspot.com/

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  16. Darwin Bruno: Muchas gracias, amigo.

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  17. Judie: That would require taping the show. I don't watch it enough to buy the equipment.

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  18. JJ, we have dvr with our Direct TV, so it is easy.

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  19. JJ:
    Yep...I buy the DVD and skip the commercials. Most of the time, I read a book or magazine. I'm with you on the negativity!

    Judie:
    DVR is easy. JJ, it is easy to fast forward the commercials...LOL

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  20. Judie & A-M: I think I'll stick to reading.

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