Monday, September 19, 2005

wasting time

"Computers are televisions too! Staring into a CRT, be it television shows or otherwise has a similar effect upon the mind. Granted, one interacts with the computer, none the less, it is the same basic medium which involves staring into a flickering light, creating the same addictive illusion that something is continually happening of entertainment value. I am not a luddite, but I am both a television and computer addict who recognizes the stultifying effects of this flickering, elusive and seductively medicating medium. " (source:

I find that when I'm done checking emails/news/cecil I kind of linger around on the computer and do absolutely nothing constructive for a while. I might go to and watch the video of the fainting goats over and over again or play some flash game like which is a really silly game to play, kind of like the "hit the penguin as far as you can with a baseball bat" flash game. (can't remember the link). Stick cricket is particularly effective as a time-consuming anti-constructive type game.

Often I do this even though I have other, more important things to do, for instance assignments, projects, washing and dishes etc. I am finding that the argument applied to anti television discourse can be applied to the internet. Anti-television discourse argues that television is basically a non valuable cultural form of society, an unnecessary distraction that invites passive participation. Although it can be argued that control is the main issue in anti-television discourse, that the viewer is being controlled by the sender, and not the individual themselves (Mander '78), I don't agree that the issue of control affects whether or not the web surfer is passively participating in a non valuable form of culture, we control what web site we go to just like what channel we change to. It's just sometimes I'd rather hit a penguin with a baseball than do my readings, much like sometimes I'd rather watch Scrubs over something on the History Channel.

Steve Jobs said "You watch television to turn your brain off and you work on your computer when you want to turn your brain on" (Macworld Magazine, February 2004). I don't necessarily agree with this, I think that the mindless entertainment that invades your home through the television set has just been transferred to the computer screen. I can choose to go to informative websites just like I can choose to watch the discovery channel, It doesn't necessarily mean that I'm going to.


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