I Don’t Watch Television by Lawrence Von Haelstrom

I don’t watch television. Sure, I own one, but I only use it for the occasional National Geographic DVD from the library. Maybe I’ll watch it on special occasions or when something important is happening like a national election, but I really hardly ever even turn it on. And I certainly don’t watch reality television. I don’t even know the names of any of those shows. There’s one about New Jersey, right? And of reality television, I most certainly do not watch any of those insipid singing contest shows. It’s ridiculous to even think you can discover talent through a TV game show. And who are these people that want to compete? Certainly, if they had the talent and the drive they could find a certain amount of success on their own. So you have these glorified karaoke contests on national television, and sadly, this is the closest thing you get to live music on prime time television.

I can’t believe how dumb these shows are. What’s that new one? The one that looks just like that American “Idle” show? I think it’s called X-Factor or something like that. I wouldn’t know, since if I wanted to watch off-key pop singing I would just get a drink at Innuendos at the Holiday Inn on Thursday nights. How can you watch this show, anyway? It seems like it’s one minute of show for every five minutes of commercials.

And who are these judges? Who’s this L.A. Reid guy? Sure, he established the careers of Bobby Brown and Boyz II Men, and sure he was the executive producer on seminal hip-hop albums like Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below and Jay Z’s American Gangster, but why should I trust what he says about these amateur singers? I’m glad I don’t waste my time watching this junk.

And if there’s anything dumber than these shows, it’s the people that watch them. I mean, how could the voters send Astro home? What sort of nonsense is that? Astro came up with new verses every week! Everyone else on Michael Jackson week just acted like deers-in-headlight, scared to death of not paying proper tribute to a legend. But Astro took the chorus from “Black and White,” smashed it to bits and built an entirely new song. A song for us, now, in 2011! Just like Paula Abdul said, Astro is “the future… and our past and our present.” Seriously, rap is over thirty years old; how can the people of mainstream, television-watching America still not accept it? I’m just glad I’m not one of them. I’ll never watch any of those shows.

No, I do not watch television. I really don’t know why I even own one. I always have something more important to do. Look at all the extra hours I have in the day because I don’t bother with mind-numbing, complacency-inducing drivel. I would love to convince others to turn off their televisions and go out and do something. Let me offer you this: the next time you want to waste time watching television, call me instead. We’ll go out and I’ll show you a million more exciting and worthwhile things to do. I’m serious. Anytime, just call me, I’m free. Except for maybe Wednesday and Thursday nights at eight, that always seems to be a bad time for me.


Lawrence Von Haelstrom is former junior bull-roping champion and street magician’s assistant.