With rare exceptions, like selected Olympics events or 19th century productions on BBC, I don’t watch TV. (We do watch DVDs because then the subject matter is our choice and they don’t keep hounding us to buy things.) Every couple of years when I get a glimpse of a drama, sitcom, or ad on American TV in some public place where I can’t turn it off or at someone else’s house where it is background irritation, I am reminded why I don’t.
Seeing it that infrequently I am struck each time by how much more nudity, sex, and violence there are, plus how much more vacuous and crude everything has become. As my first husband said, “I don’t want to ride the culture to the bottom.” And I personally don’t like being a voyeur, watching sex between two actors who aren’t married to each other simulating sex between two characters who aren’t married to each other.
I’m just funny that way.
Tonight I made an exception. I watched the vice-presidential debate. (I had watched the first presidential debate on the internet.)
I made myself watch the whole thing. Men slinging statistics and percentages at each other–numbers we lay people cannot possibly evaluate objectively. Accusations. Contradictions. Slams. (This doesn’t mean I don’t have a decided opinion about who was more right.)
I came away with my head splitting and my stomach tied in knots. I also came away with one strong conviction: moderators of debates should enforce the courtesy of having one person speak at a time. I had a desire–which grew to an obsession–to have Martha Raddatz interrupt Joe Biden’s running commentary through Paul Ryan’s turns to speak with, “Mr. Vice President, with all due respect, SHUT UP!“