Monday, November 5, 2007

Information Junkie: Hit me, baby

I laugh at writers who declare, 'Oh, I never watch television,' especially when they act like they're so above the medium. When I responded to one that yes, indeed, I watch television every single day and I love it, she said, 'Oh, you're such an information hound.'

Dogged in my pursuit of facts, trivia, and cool things to know? Absolutely. I'm an information junkie. I listen to BBC World News, watch CNN, read papers online, and soak up pop culture. You simply can't be a writer and stick your head in a hole, determined to write your opus without that annoying outside world nibbling at your brain.

Stuff happens, really cool stuff, funny stuff, sad stuff, life stuff: hundreds of thousands of tiny ideas marching past, just waiting to be grabbed. The media feeds off itself, so if you see two articles on the same subject in the newspapers, you'll likely see a televised news piece on it within a couple of weeks. Then it becomes a trend, and more articles are written. I swear, CNN staffers must have Digg in their bookmarks, because those stories pop up on TV regularly.

Admittedly, I don't watch everything. Never seen 'Survivor,' 'American Idol,' or 'Dancing with the Stars.' But I usually know what's happening on those shows, because CNN reports it. I do love my sitcoms, plus my sci-fi, and all the lowdown on History/Discovery/A&E/Science/E! (oops, how did that last one get in there?) But it's all about being connected.

Give me my 'Daily Show,' 'Colbert Report,' my late-night menu of Jay Leno and Craig Ferguson, plus some Nick at Nite thrown in for good measure. Fork over 'Mythbusters,' 'Dirty Jobs,' 'Heroes,' 'Chuck,' 'Eureka,' and isn't it time for 'Deadliest Catch' again? I know which trendy actress has a CDL, who has a man-sized safe in his office, and what the Britney-joke-of-the-day is. Because it's fun, and it's part of the culture in this moment. It also gets me work, because I can see trends starting up.

That said, the lack of fresh television is in the news, and I support the striking writers completely: I'll watch the reruns, speed up the Netflix rotation, and root for those guys to get their deal, because part of their complaint is the lack of respect for what they do. That's a complaint all writers have, from the local reporter to the Hollywood script writer. The other complaint is one we should all understand: getting paid what we're worth. So while the guild writers do what they have to, I'll be chilling out, waiting with giggly glee, and wagging my big hound tail to see their work back on the screen.


Danette Haworth said...

Ha! I have my favorite shows, too, and I'm not afraid to admit it, either! There are others, I know it--I've heard millions!

Anonymous said...

I watch a lot less tv than I used to, but I'm not proud of it--I just find it interferes with my internet addiction.

I like the Daily Show a lot, but I resent the fact it seems to leave women pretty much out of the picture. It's rare that women even appear, and when they do they are usual there because they're hot, not because they're intelligent or important. Male authors must outnumber female ones like 20 to 1 on that show. And Jon barely gives his women guests a chance to say anything he's so busy flirting with them.
(OK--so Lynn Cheney was a notable exception!)

But except for its apparent careless misogyny, it's a brilliant show.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a TV, and can't say I miss it except during the times of big news stories like the World Trade Building bombing and stuff like that. I do miss my public broadcasting shows that I watched faithfully when I had a TV. I don't have anything against TV; it's just that my husband would leave one on 24 hours a day if we had one, and he will watch anything. When we moved to our present home 20 years ago, there was no TV antenna on the roof, and the reception was terrible, so we just gave our TV away and have done without one. However, I, too, have a thirst to know everything from obscure trivia gems to what the heck will Britney do next? I keep up with the latest-breaking news stories, and read a lot of magazines and newspapers. Once I was asked by someone, who scoffed at pop culture, how do I know so much? "Well, I answered, "I read People Magazine, and you should too." There is just never enough time to soak in all the information I would like to assimilate. I don't think Seekers of Knowledge, no matter how trivial that knowledge may be, need to apologize to anybody.

Rebecca Laffar-Smith said...

WOW! With all that TV how do you find time to write? I've found I watch a lot LESS T.V. then I used to but I've also found how effective T.V. is for writers. We can learn so much for our favorite shows. In fact I'm writing a Five Part Series about what Stargate has taught me about writing at the moment!

There are shows I love and shows I hate. I think the important thing is to find the balance between watching for a reason and losing time. I used to lose time watching T.V. I'd sit there in the morning and come to hours later with no idea what I'd seen all day. Now I sit down in front of the box only to watch something with a specific purpose. My lost time is now all devoted to internet and computer games. ;-)