Saturday, November 22, 2008

From The New York Times on Wednesday:

Happy people spend a lot of time socializing, going to church and reading newspapers — but they don’t spend a lot of time watching television, a new study finds.

That’s what unhappy people do.


I can't dispute this one, in terms of personal and observed experience.

Though, it's hard to say if "gluing oneself to a computer and reading online versions of the news" really qualifies as "reading the newspaper."

But assuming it does ... my household aligns with this. Carl will sit in front of the TV all day whenever he can. I drop in to watch "Two and a Half Men" and then it's back to my preferred set of activities. I can only take the tube for a couple of hours tops, even without the usual distractions. Does blogging count as "socializing?" I think most people would say it does. Maybe not the same as attending a party or playing bridge, but there is give and take, varying according to the blogger's preferences and topics.

Too much time on the living room sofa is like being stuck in a high school locker room where there are lots of smelly socks.

Carl gets ALL his news from TV. He's not miserable, but he's certainly depressed and disinclined toward socializing.

Now, what would we have said in the pre-TV days? What did the unhappy people do back then?

Is there a correlation between TV-induced idleness and depression? How about the similar timelines between TV and other conveniences such as automatic washers and interstate highways that led to the development of supermarkets?

It's all connected, folks.


Dana said...

Wow! We live in the same home, don't we? At least this was confirmation that I am doing the right things to combat unhappiness!!

Howard Bagby said...

That is an interesting way of looking at it. To me reading on-line is the same as reading a newspaper. I used to buy 2 papers a day, but earlier this year the Atlanta Journal-Constitution decided Calhoun was too far north to deliver papers to. Of course then gas was outrageous so I really don't blame them. That did mean if I wanted to read it on-line was the only way.

I don't like television news. They only give you a very small part of the story and since they have time constraints it seems only the worst gets on. That could make a person depressed if that's all they get. As for television, I rarely sit and watch it. It is on as background noise and I will occasionally pay close attention, but not for long.

I also believe that communicating on-line is socializing. You get to know someone from their writings and friendships develop. There is nothing wrong with that.

I hope I didn't get too long winded here. You struck a creative spark with your post.

Kay Dennison said...

I wonder what depressed people did before TV.