« A New Enterprise! | Main | Terence, This is Stupid Stuff »

Another Post on Freedom

A while ago, when the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an advocate for rights in the digital age, alerted me to the fact that there are some in the entertainment industry who believe that viewers are obligated to view commercials on television—that, in fact, in those people's minds, viewers hardly have the right to go to the bathroom more than once every two hours or so—I thought that surely this was an isolated incident of a few someones who were out of touch with reality as the rest of us know it.

Apparently, however, Philips thought it was a good idea, and ran with it.

I am so glad that I disconnnected myself from the time sink that is television ten years ago. I've never regretted it, and I strongly encourage others to experiment with removing it from their lives.

For those of you who are wondering, yes, I do now own a television set, but it isn't receive any kind of cable or broadcasts; it is strictly for watching DVDs. But whether you watch television or not isn't the point. The point is that, if you do choose to watch it, you are entitled to watch what you want, and to skip or avoid that which you do not want. When companies begin to think that they own you—that you must either be forced to watch commercials or pay to be able to skip them when fast-forwarding on a recording you have made—then something is seriously out of balance here. In fact, if you are like most Americans and have cable service, you have already paid to watch anything you receive on your television. So, since you have already paid, why should you pay again for the privilege of not watching something?

(I will abbreviate my bootless rant on how cable television was promoted, back when it was first gaining strength, as a way to watch television that was free of commercials. Petitions were circulating asking the good, kind voters to permit cable television to come into the Santa Clara area back in the late 1960s/early 1970s, and that was the claim, right there in black and white: Cable television will not have commericals. Period. Hah, I say.)

If you want to do something about this, visit the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Web site, join them, donate to them, write to your legislators, or do all three. Don't just sit there and complain later when you find yourself paying twice for advertising you never wanted to see once.

While on the subject of personal freedoms, take a look at this guy's Web log. I like how he thinks.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)