Dear Dirty America


Bludgeoned to Death by the TV: Premature Death Linked to Television Watching

Bludgeoned to Death by the TV: Premature Death Linked to Television Watching
June 25
19:28 2014

Some people think you’re making a provocative statement when you admit to them you don’t own a television. When the AT&T representative was renewing my Internet plan over the telephone, he said, “Sir, it is going to take a few minutes to pull up your file. Do you mind if I tell you about a great offer from AT&T?”


Even though I had the most basic Internet plan, and wanted to keep it that way, I like to be accommodating, so I said, “Sure, Bob, why not?”

And the gates were opened. From the other end came a five minute spiel concerning the superior packaged deal offering TV, Internet, and telephone service for a great low price. There were many details involved. Nuanced plan options. HDTV channels. High-speed offers. He reasoned that since I didn’t have a digital U-Verse TV plan with AT&T, I might as well switch over because it just made good financial sense. I let him go on, without interruption.

After he finished, I said, “I don’t own a television.”

That’s where the conversation became awkward. He paused a moment. Then he said, “Oh, well, I see…wait, you don’t have a TV?” His voice had changed slightly. Like he was dealing with a wacko. Maybe I was pulling his chain.

I’m sure many folks don’t have televisions, but maybe I’m wrong. “I don’t want to have my sperm count lowered,” I said. “And I’m not really into being programmed by the flickering lights depicting endless series of drama, violence, sex, and sports hero worship. I try to keep my home abundant in positive, peaceful energy.”

“That’s offensive,” my AT&T rep said quietly.

“You bet it is,” I said. “I can’t even believe you were trying to organize a coup of my mostly peaceful life by hocking to me a plan of complete digital takeover.”

Bob did not try to sell me any more plans, nor did he share with me any more lucrative AT&T offers.

Now, imagining a world without TV just got a little better. A recent study (for what these studies are worth…) has shown that folks who watch TV for three hours or more a day were twice as likely to die as those who watched one hour or less. Whether this is up to bad programming chipping away at a person’s sound mind, or the stress-inducing commercials that blare every few minutes and wipe out one’s adrenal glands, nobody is certain.

It might have more to do with the blood pooling in one’s ass day after day, evening after evening, and the sedentary style of living that TV-gazing promotes.

But the facts are the facts, after all. As it has been reported:

The study involved more than 13,200 adults in Spain who were all college graduates, and were around 37 years old at the study’s start. Participants were followed for about eight years, over which there were 97 deaths.

Those who watched three or more hours of TV a day were twice as likely to die over the study period, compared with those whose watched TV for one hour or less daily, the study found.

From June of 2013 is a ‘Shard’-essay written by John Bennett titled Imagining A World W/O TV“, where he makes an important distinction to David Foster Wallace’s essay “E Unibus Pluram”.

Adam Michael Luebke


John Bennett
June 05, 2016

(reprinted from The Book of Shards)

Not only can I imagine a world w/o TV, I was raised in a world without TV, and I lived in a world with TV without TV and still do; but not free of the impact of TV.

TV is the master tool of Corporate Culture, which is the guardian ad litem of Commercialism. TV has put its brand on everyone.


This is a spinoff on E Unibus Pluram, David Foster Wallace’s novella-length essay about TV and its implications for fiction writers.

Wallace was an avid TV watcher, your typical six-hours-a-day viewer, and also a writer of no mean talent, a brilliant mind. He rightly states that there’s hardly an author writing today (and this was 1990) whose writing isn’t referential to the world TV creates, a blend of gelded news, soaps, Christian mega-church fundamentalism, documentaries giving token nods to high culture, pop music extravaganzas and gonzo sports– all of it stitched together by sixty-second commercials.

But a point Wallace fails to make is that although it may be unavoidable that TV leaves a welt on everyone’s soul, to have a welt on your soul doesn’t mean you’ve necessarily abdicated ownership of your soul to what put it there.

There was in 1990, and there are today, writers who transform the stuff of TV into a weapon that undermines Corporate Culture in ways that Corporate Culture cannot identify, because the place these writers are coming from is beyond TV’s comprehension, and TV is Corporate Culture’s seeing-eye dog.

It was only after reading Wallace’s essay that I realized he wasn’t one of them.


John_Bennett_Road_RageThe birth of road rage

Capitalism on a deathbed, or: Jesus was an American

In the Prophetic Essence of Visionary Courage, John Bennett Challenges & Incites

What we have to get by on

Waiting mortuaries

Find John Bennett’s novels, short stories, and shards at Hcolom Press. You can contact him, or get on his Shards list at Read a review of his novel Children of the Sun & Earth here

[underwater TV sculpture by Jason deCaires Taylor; Osama bin Laden photo courtesy of the Dept of War…I mean, Defense]


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