So my housemates were loafing on the couch the other day in front of the television. While I was in my room organizing my notes, I heard them making snide comments at a show that was all about the "white trash" sport of lawnmower racing. "That is so stupid," one exclaimed, fascinated. "What complete dorks," the other agreed. This abuse continued as they watched the program right to the end.
At first I was irritated beyond all reasonable proportions. These two people were camped in front of the television, as they are for hours every single day, casting aspersions at a show about lawnmower racing? Who are the "dorks" in this arrangement? The dorks on the lawnmowers, or the dorks passively mocking the dorks on the lawnmowers?
But quickly I realized that now, I was behaving in an even stupider fashion. Now, I had become a dork, complaining about the dorks, who were complaining about the dorks riding lawnmowers on the television. This was bad.
So I shifted gears and decided that the true focus of my hate should be the television. Then I realized that all this moral tap-dancing was distracting me from my notes. And then, I realized the greater dilemma.
I have, essentially, three options.
- I can follow my first impulse, and call my housemates dorks for watching dorks on TV, when they could be out playing street hockey or something. They'd be angry, I'd be angry, and our living situation would become tense and combative.
- I can follow my second impulse, and seethe about what a lurid pathetic device I think the television is, which would only be half true in my heart -- but I would keep my mouth shut about it, and seethe internally, in order to maintain the harmony of the household.
- I could forget about it, and the habits of my housemates, entirely, and just get back to my notes. Perhaps I could request they change the channel, or turn on some music of my own.
Perhaps if they were teenagers, or younger, I would make some offhand comment about how television is reaming out their minds like lemons being twisted on the nipple of an old-fashioned juicer, how they're spending what are potentially the most active eras of their single lives sitting down, saying nothing. ... But really, what's the point of all that? They're comfortable in their habits, and I have no use for them.
And yet, my own behavior is far from perfect. I've spent a lot of time sifting through media myself, especially recently. And now, in my own journal, I've wasted my time adding to the shouting match of "dorks", pointing my finger like everyone else. In this regard, I have failed.