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OMPM: Television & Blogging March 14, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Blogging, Life Balance, Mindfulness.

Brian-with-coffee-and-newspaperIt’s been a long time since I wrote an OMPM: One Mistake People Make post.

Two posts I read yesterday spurred me to write this one.

(1) Maggie’s post ~ Land of the Free, Home of the Ignorant?

Maggie’s review of Susan Jacoby’s book, The Age of American Unreason, included Jacoby’s unreasoned opinion on blogging:

Blogs “spew forth, in largely unedited form, the crude observations of people who are unable to express themselves coherently in writing…”

Jacoby might be right . . . about some of the blogs some of the time.


But that doesn’t mean that we should make Jacoby’s mistake and lump all blogs together before dumping them into a single “waste” basket.

When blogs “spew forth, in largely unedited form, the crude observations of people who are unable to express themselves coherently in writing,” the solution is simple:

Stop following those blogs.

(2) Eric’s post ~ Wasting, Existing, or Thriving

Eric’s post has much to commend it, but his admonition about television lumps a panoply of education and entertainment into a very small “waste” basket:

4.  And this one might get me in trouble… Turn off the TV. How many hours do you waste (see, we’ve come full circle to waste) in front of that screen? Lessen your attraction (addiction?) to it and find other things to do, things that will stretch or challenge you. Consider actions that will nourish your thriving.


Whether watching TV is a “waste of time” depends on the viewer.  Engaging in any activity in a mindless way can be a waste of time ~ whether that’s blogging, listening to a podcast, watching TV, or reading a book.  

It’s NOT the activity but the attention we bring to it that matters.

Snoopy5Television brings nature, history, science, discovery, travel, cooking, drama, medicine, space exploration, and comedy directly into our living rooms.  

Most of us could never hope to experience all of that on our own even if Oprah agreed to finance our endeavors and we didn’t mind increasing our carbon footprint.

Snoopy5Watching thought-provoking shows (and reading inspiring blogs) allows us to expand our minds and experience life through the eyes of others.

Of course, there’s also a lot of “empty fodder” out there. It’s up to us to pick and choose where to place our attention.  See #1 on Eric’s List. 

Snoopy5We control the remote and can change channels from mind-numbing to mind-expanding fare.

When we are actively engaged and enjoying ourselves (even if we are “only” chopping wood or carrying water or cooking dinner or watching TV or reading a blog), we are not wasting time ~ we are living in the now.

Snoopy5When we are mindful as we read, write, sing, dance, and observe life (in real time or on TV), we are in a better position to:

* weigh possibilities and make wiser choices
* reclaim the reins and honor our priorities
* enhance what we get out of every experience

By way of example, watching a short clip like this might help us plan a fun, exciting, and educational summer get-a-way for the whole family:

When we remain awake and aware, we find we have not wasted our time.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Addendum:  David at Raptitude shared 15 Powerful Side Benefits of Living in the Moment.  On TV viewing, he has this to say:

11. You become less attracted to passive entertainment like TV.

One of the big draws of television is that it’s an effective way of giving you a break from your thoughts at the end of the day. A mindfulness habit gives you frequent breaks from your thoughts throughout the day, and so you no longer need TV as a therapeutic device. You’re already “unwound” by the time you get there. It can still be entertaining, but your standards for what to watch will rise.


Related posts:  75 Waggish Ways to Waste Time * OMPM ~ Overkill *  OMPM ~ Hanging on to Anger * Blogging: A Waggish Waste of Time? * Spring Break?  Travel Blogs Help You Pack Your Bags (WP News)


1. Rainee - March 14, 2014

A very spirited post today Nancy! I enjoyed it 🙂

nrhatch - March 14, 2014

Thanks, Rainee. TV is a tool for us to use or not as we choose.

If our time in front of the tube isn’t time well spent, it’s not the TV’s fault. Blaming the TV for “operator error” is silly. :mrgreen:

2. suzicate - March 14, 2014

As that was Jacoby’s opinion, another opinion could be that what she said was just a crude observation on her part.
Mindless activities though productive (vacuuming, mowing grass) are times my creative juices flow and new projects take birth in my mind.

nrhatch - March 14, 2014

Blanket statements like that made by Jacoby tend to demonstrate that the speaker’s mouth was ready to utter and sputter (and spew!) before the brain had fully engaged and thought things through. 😐

If we read a blog or a trashy novel and find it a waste of time, blaming the author is a ridiculous stance ~> we are not victims unless we paint ourselves into that role by failing to accept responsibility for the choices we make. Moment by moment, it is up to us to decide how to spend our limited time here.

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” ~ The Buddha

3. Lisa A. Kramer - March 14, 2014

I’ve been reading a book called CULTURAL DEMOCRACY: THE ARTS, COMMUNITY, AND PUBLIC PURPOSE by James Bau Graves for a while now. (It’s taken me a while because life keeps interrupting and it i\has a lot of info that I want to absorb–it’s a really interesting book). Anyway, in it he talks a lot about who decides what is worthy and how that influences society. One thing that has continued to strike me is how much attitudes of people like Jacoby or people who say all television watching is wasted time reflect on one person or group of people trying to say my life or my work is superior and more important, but every life and every moment has different meaning to every person. I don’t know if I’m making any sense at the moment but I guess I think that while every blog may not be brilliant, the act of blogging is valuable to the person or people involved. Just because it may not be considered high art doesn’t diminish that value.

nrhatch - March 14, 2014

Yes! What you are saying makes great sense, Lisa. In fact, you’ve illuminated (for me) why I decided to write this post:

“One thing that has continued to strike me is how much attitudes of people like Jacoby or people who say all television watching is wasted time reflect on one person or group of people trying to say my life or my work is superior and more important, but every life and every moment has different meaning to every person.”

Whenever someone makes a blanket statement about the relative worth of what we choose to do with our time, they are attempting to substitute their judgment for our own. In essence, they are saying that the world behind their eyes SHOULD be the standard bearer for others.

Poppycock! I am the ONLY expert on my life.

The danger does not flow from a lone voice inclined to benevolent dictatorship, of course. But other anti-blog (or TV) snobs join the mob and chorus and begin to cry out, “Turn the knob, you nob-heads.”

And one by one people who don’t have inner confidence relinquish their hold on the reins and allow OTHERS to start making their decisions for them. And they turn into a bunch of blithering idiots and easily-herded sheep. Baaa . . .

The End.

But wait! The story doesn’t have to end that way.

All we need to do is shake ourselves awake and the prison walls crumble of their own accord.

Lisa A. Kramer - March 14, 2014

I’m glad I made sense and helped clarify things. It was early morning after not enough sleep so I was pretty sure I was babbling.

nrhatch - March 14, 2014

Some people make more sense when “babbling” off the top of their head than others make in a life time of posturing and preening to attain posterity.

The latter tend to land flat on their pompous posteriors. 😛

4. Don - March 14, 2014

Such a good and articulate post Nancy. You have a real gift with words. Thank you for that. A pleasure to read.

nrhatch - March 14, 2014

Thank you, Don. I appreciate and value your warm words.

I had a conversation with my younger brother yesterday about the different ways we choose to spend time. He said he could never “find the time” to write and read all the words I do.

And that’s the “breadcrumb” right there ~> when we honor our inner voice we KNOW how to spend our time and where to place our attention without looking to others to set parameters for us.

Words don’t do it for my little bro . . . but they are the world to me.

5. Pix Under the Oaks - March 14, 2014

That video was wonderful. I did not know it was called wrack. That baby sandpiper?.. darling. Casperson’s Beach used to be primitive but CH tells me now that it is not. I really could live without a TV. Good thing because our Dish has been saying “signal lost” since last night when I wanted a show to put me to sleep. Enjoyed this post Nancy!

nrhatch - March 14, 2014

I love that video ~ talk about being in the NOW. Those kids are all over IT! And, like you, I didn’t know it was called Wrack. So I learned something. And I smiled with the kids. And I pressed the PAUSE button and relaxed into the flow of the water.

The one thing I didn’t do while watching it? I did not waste my time.

Like you, I don’t watch much TV . . . but I enjoy the shows that I choose to watch. Watching them is not a “waste of time.”

Often, the perpetual impatience to “do do do” is rooted in the frantic desire to attain something other than what we already have . . .

But nothing lasts.

So what’s the rush? :mrgreen:

6. Carol Balawyder - March 14, 2014

Great thoughts on blogging and TV. There are a lot of interesting, entertaining , informative bloggers. Your blog and this video you posted is a good example :).

nrhatch - March 14, 2014

Thanks, Carol. I so agree ~ the boundaries of my world have expanded as a result of the blogs I follow. From my perch in North America, I’ve been able to visit Asia, Europe, Africa, South America, Australia, and even Antarctica without having to pack my bags, update my passport, or suffer Montezuma’s Revenge. :mrgreen:

All of us need right balance in life ~ an interplay between BEing and DOing. And right balance reveals itself when we honor our inner wisdom and allow the path to unfold before us.

The Way teaches us the way. _/!\_

Carol Balawyder - March 14, 2014

Wonderful thoughts. Blogging is a passport to other cultures and ideas. That’s part of what I love about it. It really opened up for me another world 🙂
Have a very balanced weekend.

nrhatch - March 14, 2014

Thanks! I enjoyed the interview with Anne and her ghosts ~ she sounds quite balanced, especially with the oscillation in opinion between good & bad, brilliant & rubbish.

7. Grannymar - March 14, 2014

There is a place in life for everyone. Some people spout words at the speed of light, while others struggle to find five to form a sentence. On occasions the ‘five words’ say more than all the the words in a dictionary. Not everyone needs the services of a brain surgeon, but we all need the refuse disposal operators.

When I am stuck for inspiration, an hour of physical work helps with the thinking process.

The wonderful thing about blogging, is that there is no obligation to read or follow blogs, all we need is to have respect for each other.

Great post Nancy.

nrhatch - March 14, 2014

You might want to check out this quiz, GM. It’s about the people that really matter :


“None of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.”

Nothing lasts . . . so what’s the rush?

Grannymar - March 14, 2014

That was a very interesting read and I almost forgot to come back and thank you.

nrhatch - March 14, 2014

Glad you found it interesting, GM.

It’s apt analogy about the fleeting nature of fame achieved by chasing the “brass ring.” Everything ebbs and flows, waxes and wanes. When we step off the perpetual Merry-Go-Round, we find we’ve been chasing our own tails.

8. Kate @ Did That Just Happen? - March 14, 2014

Love this post, you are right, it’s not always what we do, but how mindful we are being doing it! Really did love reading this!

nrhatch - March 14, 2014

Thank you for your warm words, Kate.

Many people are in a perpetual rush to “do, do, do” and they urge us to “follow their lead.”

* When we are content ~> they claim we are stagnating.
* When we are happy ~> they say we’re being complacent.
* When we enjoy the “mundane” ~> they claim we are in a rut.

They’re constantly on the look out for their next “fix” ~ the next rush of adrenaline and excitement they need to feel alive.

Happiness is the goal behind all their striving.
They believe “just existing” is not “thriving.”

When we are mindful, we see that happiness is not “out there” in applause, awards, achievements, accolades, and certificates, it is in us. And once we stop striving, it surfaces of its own accord.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Val Boyko - March 15, 2014

Beautifully put Nancy 🙂

nrhatch - March 15, 2014

Thanks, Val. Here’s to happiness as a state of mind.

9. ericjbaker - March 14, 2014

Television is a great tool for observing and learning about writing, especially if you can find a high-concept show and binge watch. You can observe how the writers develop the story and the characters, not the mistakes, witness the corrections, see how plot threads can be resolved satisfactorily (or not)… The writing and acting is mostly found on television these days. It’s not 1970 anymore.

As for blogs being nothing more than crude, inarticulate ramblings of people who can’t write, I disagree. Shocker, eh? I’m blown away by how much writing talent can be found on WordPress, and by the depth and qualify of ideas expressed every day. Someone has been listening to herself babble for so long she has confused bloviating for insight.

nrhatch - March 14, 2014

Astute and articulate as always, Eric! Much more so than Ms. Jacoby and her myopic view of the world wide web. Whenever people criticize “the whole” of anything (art, music, etc.), it reveals both prejudice and a limited perspective on their part ~ perhaps they can’t see the forest for the trees.

Or maybe it’s sheer lack of imagination? 😛

I agree with your thoughts on TV shows too ~ we’ve been enthralled with the last few episodes of Elementary. Watching Sherlock and Watson unravel each thread has been a delight. I want to write like THAT!

10. jannatwrites - March 14, 2014

Good points, Nancy! Maybe it’s ego talking, but I like to think that in my blog, I spew forth, in largely well-edited form, my crude observations of fictional people and express myself quite coherently in writing. 😛

About TV, there’s a time and place for just about any tv show. Last night, I watched two hours of Impractical Jokers. Some of their antics are ‘inappropriate’ but I laughed a lot. I may not have learned anything, except that these guys are slightly crazy, but yesterday, I needed to lighten up. I NEEDED laughter. So, what might be one person’s waste of time just might be another’s link to sanity in that moment.

nrhatch - March 14, 2014

Nope, NOT your Ego talking. You are equal parts coherence and polished observation.

I agree that TV is a link to sanity at times ~> it’s easier to laugh at the idiots we see on TV than to laugh at the idiots we bump into in daily life. Because no one’s feelings get hurt. 😀

11. barb19 - March 14, 2014

Great post Nancy, and I loved the video clip; I didn’t realize about the wrack on beaches, but now I will look at it with very different eyes. Those kids were enthralled in the stuff they were discovering there!
There is always something new to be learned – even from blogging. Jacoby, eat your heart out!

nrhatch - March 14, 2014

Yay! Glad you enjoyed the video clip ~ I did know that the wrack on beaches was good for birds, but I didn’t know what it was called and I had a blast watching the kids explore its depths.

And, yes, Jacoby’s close minded view of blogging has closed off so many interesting avenues. For her, not us.

12. diannegray - March 14, 2014

I rarely watch TV, Nancy and this is the choice I make (mainly because it puts me to sleep) 😉

I didn’t know who Susan Jacoby was so I had to google her and apparently she is the ‘voice of reason.’ It concerns me when people set themselves up as the moral compass of the world because it makes them appear judgmental (and as you probably know, I’m not particularly into the judgmental thing).
The quote “crude observations of people who are unable to express themselves coherently in writing…” is an odd one. For a start, not everyone in this world can read or write and I thank the universe every day that I can do both (whether good or bad is insignificant). The word ‘pompous’ has just entered my mind for some reason, but anyway…
… some of my favourite blog reads are from people who have great difficulty writing because I know they’re putting themselves out there to the world warts and all and I LOVE hearing their amazing life stories (regardless of spelling and grammar) because they are so different from my own – in that sense it has opened up a whole new world for me. Blogging encourages writing and anything that encourages writing (to me) is always a great thing. People who scoff at others because they’re not as articulate need to learn what ‘first world problem’ means.

nrhatch - March 14, 2014

I love, love, love your observations and comments, Dianne. And “pompous” sprang to my mind too.

Jacoby has set herself up as the “arbiter of reason,” yet her opinions seem both unreasoned and unreasonable to me.

I’m with you, bloggers share amazing life stories with us. And I’m so grateful they do. Yours included.

13. Behind the Story - March 14, 2014

Your post stirred up a lot of interest, Nancy. It’s up to each of us to decide what is valuable and meaningful to us at a particular time in our life. Personally, I enjoy reading and contributing to various blogs. The conversations there are deeper and more wide ranging than those I tend to have at cocktail parties or ladies luncheons–although those can be fun and meaningful too.

nrhatch - March 14, 2014

I agree with you, Nicki. As a general rule, cocktail party chatter tends toward the trivial and superficial and doesn’t hold my interest as well as the “meatier” fodder on the blogs that I follow.

Tonight, I experienced the “exception” to that rule ~> we went to a reception at an Art Gallery where I enjoyed an engaging conversation with a couple who moved to our neighborhood in January. The conversation centered around the “border collie mentality” of some individuals who take it upon themselves to “herd miscreant sheep.” :mrgreen:

14. Three Well Beings - March 15, 2014

I really appreciate your perspective, Nancy. And I happen to fully agree. There is nonsense and “time wasting” available in a variety of formats. To single out either blogs or television is simply nonsense. I have a couple of friends oh-so-proud that they don’t even own televisions. I get a kick out of their arrogance, because somehow they know more about the vast cultural wasteland than I do, and I watch television. I’m thinking they are probably scouring the internet many more hours than I do for their entertainment. As you well state, it’s really about our mindfulness in any direction! 🙂

nrhatch - March 15, 2014

Thanks, Debra! Arrogance is a good word to apply to anyone who thinks that their limited perspective and close-minded view of the world is broad enough to encompass everyone. Silly Rabbits!

Pseudo-intellectual snobs are not my cup of tea
Better to “waste time” than listen to their diatribes on “reality” 😉

15. Jacqueline King - March 15, 2014

Your thought~provoking post speaks to me and validates my own beliefs, Nancy! I guess that’s what I’m seeking when reading blogs and watching television ~ confirmation that my opinions are valid and shared with others! that I’m not alone! 🙂

nrhatch - March 15, 2014

Thanks, JK. That’s why I wrote this post . . . to let people who view this issue as I do know that they are not alone.

As I said to Lisa:

“Whenever someone makes a blanket statement about the relative worth of what we choose to do with our time, they are attempting to substitute their judgment for our own. In essence, they are saying that the world behind their eyes SHOULD be the standard bearer for others.

Poppycock! I am the ONLY expert on my life.”

16. Val Boyko - March 15, 2014

So juicy Nancy!
Makes me wonder about all of those judgments hiding behind opinions…. and how its up to us to take responsibility for how we live our own lives.
Who are we to tell others how to live theirs?
Looking inwards is the way to peace and freedom, not pointing fingers.
That’s better ….. 😉

nrhatch - March 15, 2014

Do you remember Dana Carvey as “The Church Lady” ~ so full of righteousness that she felt confident in judging others?

That’s how Ms. Jacoby’s comment came across to me. I don’t need someone like her acting as arbiter for how I choose to live my life.

17. kateshrewsday - March 16, 2014

So true. It is mindfulness which makes the difference. Felix has just alerted us all that we are going to sit down and watch ‘Live from Space’ in five minutes. It’s someone from the International Space Station taking us round the earth in 90 minutes. We’re going to watch half an hour of it – mindfully 🙂

nrhatch - March 16, 2014

That sounds FABULOUS, Kate. How else would we experience something so fantastic if not for the telly? Enjoy your global circumnavigation.

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