What is it that religious Jews have against television? Aren't you a bit cut off from reality? How do you know what's going on in the world without a TV in the house?


I would say that it's the other way around—TV cuts you off from reality. Whatever you are watching, whether it's the news or entertainment, you are missing out on what's going on in the real world. The news is a distortion of what's going on in other people's lives, and the entertainment is a distraction from what's going on in your life. "Reality TV" is an oxymoron.

The TV news is simply reporting the facts - right? Wrong. It is only reporting the facts that are visually captivating, will maintain the ratings, conform to the prejudices of the viewers (not to mention the station owners), and fit into neat little segments - as if there has never been a story too complicated to report in three minutes....

But it's not only the news that distances us from reality. Just as TV news replaces the facts with a contrived opinion, TV entertainment replaces real human interaction with somebody else's fantasies. Those who spend their hours following soap operas are missing out on the days of the lives of their own family and friends. The sitcom junkies are oblivious to the hilarity of everyday living. And the fans glued to "reality TV" are blind to the reality happening in their own home.

Could it be that TV is a major cause of the relationships crisis we face today? Apart from the time wasted in front of the box, there is a deeper effect the media is having on our generation of TV addicts. So many people are complaining that they can't find somebody to love. How often do we hear, "I just can't find the right person." Well, to a couch potato, it's no wonder no one is "the right person." Who can compete with the beautiful, funny, interesting and witty characters that strut the screens and fill their minds every night? Never mind that it's all contrived and staged. How many people do you know who fit TV's narrow definition of what is considered attractive? Of course no one in the real world matches up.

Personally, I feel more in touch with reality without a TV. You may not be ready to throw yours out the window. But at least ensure that it is you that controls the television, and not the reverse. Make sure you are not missing out on real relationships in favor of imaginary friends. Life was not meant to be lived only during commercial breaks.