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My media consumption runs in cycles, to have peaks and troughs and swings in a bi-polar way between different types of entertainment. This weekend represents one of these fluctuations so there is no better time to put it to paper.

There is a baseline for all my entertainment needs, and that baseline is the book. I’ve blogged before I believe on how central books are to my life, and how difficult it would be for me to live without the respite that well crafted words can offer me. Their strength is their call to the imagination, words that conjure images in the mind, require no simulacra to be placed before you, no words to be said, no pictures to be drawn; secure in the knowledge that human the being is self-sufficient in these respects, that he can create those experiences by himself and then interact with them.

But I don’t want to talk about the baseline. In addition to books and sports, starting from University I have developed an appetite for more visual, visceral and tangible entertainment. This desire flips between movies and TV, on a knowable if unpredictable frequency.

For the last six to eight months I have been in the TV mode. Movies are almost forbidden in the TV mode, but they do play a peripheral role in what I would prefer to do. Movies will be only seen in the Cinema and usually as a social outlet rather then out of personal desire. TV shows on the other hand are tracked down almost religiously, and I’ll watch seasons of shows that I enjoy repeatedly and more often then not watch whole seasons in a day to sate my mind. It is a desire for comfort, the same characters in slightly different situations doing approximately the same things. That doesn’t mean that I don’t get as involved or am immune from anger at the TV shows, it’s not watching with some sort of passive detachment at all. James will be glad to recollect to you how I used to shout at the characters in Battlestar Galactica, and would recount to him my sheer frustration of how stupidly and illogically they had acted in a situation.

The other mode is the precise inverse, and it is that which I’ve flipped into from the start of this weekend. It is focused on movies, with the desire really for longer initial, less complex stories and perhaps more forgettable experiences with less long term commitment and repeated viewings. TV becomes very optional in the Movies mode, it sounds like a nice idea, and I might download my shows with the notion of getting around to watching them at some later point, but that may or may not happen and it is likely to happen when the Movies phase ends. To give you an example of how drastic the flip has been, this weekend along I have watched 5 movies, and I’m probably likely to watch 6 before the close of play today, since I write this just after 6 on the Sunday. Now I don’t want you to think that I’m sitting here watching Citizen Kane or some other classic deeply symbolic and nuanced work of cinematic art. I’m watching average mainstream cinema, most of it in the brain firmly in the off position category. Movies like Crank and Dead or Alive. And I’m thoroughly enjoying it, which wouldn’t be comprehensible in the TV phase, where things should to be meaningful, complex and nuanced.

I don’t have a clue why this happens, or what it means at any deep psychological level or even at any normal television watching level. My actions are still the same. I sit in front of my laptop, put on my headphones and watch the pretty pictures on the screen go by, and listen to the words that the nice men and women are saying. As entertainment goes, most people take TV and Movies to be very similar if not homogeneous. They’re roughly the same thing, but for me they have this kind of crystal clear bifurcation between them that doesn’t allow me to let them coexist together peaceably in my viewing habits. It is odd, but that’s the way it is.

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One Comment

    • behappy168
    • Posted January 15, 2007 at 2:20 pm
    • Permalink

    It is indeed odd that you don’t like to mix movies and TV. I regularly watch them consecutively.

    I actually see the two differently than you do. Because I get my TV shows from um, the TV, they are watched on a per episode basis and therefore are shorter than a movie. Also because TV shows have no need for introductions (that’s done in the first episode), there is less to adjust to. In that sense I find TV shows require less commitment than a movie.


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