Idiot vs. Idiot Box


TV Turnoff Week was always the one Adbusters campaign I thought was a perfectly fine idea: People choose to go seven days without television, and use it as a sort of conversation-starter to encourage others to do the same, get outside, read a book, talk to friends, whatever. You don't have to share the Adbusters crew's pose of pathological hatred for that hyperkinetic "vast wasteland" to think trading in a habitual infomercial viewing for Proust or the park once in a while might be healthy.

Except, naturally, they've found a way to turn what had been voluntary and innocuous into something intrusive and obnoxious: The mag is encouraging their self-styled "culture jammers" to prowl the streets with a keychain device called TV-B-Gone, a remote control universal off-switch for televisions, shutting off the tube in restaurants, bars, cafes, waiting rooms, and other public places. Sitting in the park and reading, apparently, lacked activist frission. I'm morbidly curious to see what happens when one of these proud sanitizers of the media landscape decides to enlighten the lumpenproletariat by making the local sports bar Fernsehenrein on game day.