Friday, August 7, 2020

A Melancholy Tale

     They say that all good things must end someday. -- Chad and Jeremy

     The C.S.O. and I decided to do something yesterday that I wouldn’t have predicted even two weeks ago. That is: we decided to terminate our cable-TV service.

     We’d had it for quite a while – nearly forty years. A great part of the reason is that I’m a massive New York Yankees fan, and she’s a die-hard New York Rangers fan. Going to games in person costs us more time, effort, and annoyance than the enjoyment we get from them, so we’ve preferred to watch them when they’re telecast.

     But today we have the spectacle of millionaire athletes claiming to be “oppressed,” of their colleagues taking a knee during the national anthem, and of club owners and executives kowtowing to the Black Lives Matter crap. Baseball and ice hockey, the sports we watched to be free of our cares and the troubles of the world for just a couple of hours, had been politicized, and in the very worst way. We couldn’t enjoy them any more.

     So I called our provider and terminated the TV service. The company representative asked why, and I told her. Her reaction was sad: “Well, we can’t do much about that.” I wasn’t about to argue.

     I suppose there will be spinoff benefits. I’ll be saving about $100 per month. Also, we’ll have more time to work, more time to read, and more time to think. But those are the things we retreated into sports fandom to get away from for a little while.

     Ironically, among the reasons sports are enjoyable to the fan are that:

  1. We can grasp the rules of the game;
  2. And they don’t change while it’s being played.

     (Yeah, yeah, I know: the Pine Tar game. But that was an exceptional exception.) Compare the relative stability of the rules of pro sports to our current social and political turmoil.

     As I write this, it occurs to me that there are probably others in the same boat: persons who have cable-TV subscriptions mainly if not exclusively to bring them sports telecasts. How many of them are wholly disgusted by what’s happened to pro sports? How many will elect to “tough it out” until sanity and decency return, and how many will “cut the cord” rather than endure it? If the latter are numerous enough, the cable-TV providers will take a lot of damage.

     I’ve been “filling the gap” by watching snooker videos on YouTube. They’ve made me a big fan of Ronnie O’Sullivan. However, there aren’t all that many really good ones, and Beth finds them boring. Maybe we’ll start watching Australian rules football. Can you get that over the Internet?


Linda Fox said...

I understand. Hard to argue against saving that much money.

When I moved South, I had difficulty finding my beloved Indians games with the basic cable access. I was too broke to pay for the high-end cable, so I had to find substitutes.

Local sports was one of the changes I made. Oh, sure, when visiting, I still caught the games (I was MORE likely to attend in person than I'd been before). But, local high school or AAA sports leagues abound, and it will still a fun activity (more so, in some ways). The excitement and joy are obvious in the stands, and supporting the local teams brought me into contact with the new community in a good way.

I just plain watched less TV. I read more. I found other things to do.

I think one outcome of you dropping cable will be that you will - other than a few times - NOT miss it.

Unknown said...

We cancelled our cable several years ago, and we get most everything we want via a streaming service. So far as I can tell, the only downside is we now have no idea who all these "celebrities" are, but if that's the worst thing, I think we're good. We watch a lot less TV now, and when I try to watch broadcast TV now, I am appalled at the number of commercials, and how mindless the content is. And saving the $100 plus per month is a good thing!

Mike Guenther said...

Let's see...we " cut the cord" before the last time The Packers were in the Super Bowl. That's a long time ago. We had satellite and when we cut it off, we saved 120 a month. We do have various inexpensive streaming services, though. Basically for movies and old TV shows when tv was still somewhat wholesome.

Ragin' Dave said...

Rugby. It's a fun game to watch.

Andy Texan said...

TCM is the only station I use on my entire cable package ($150/mo). There is plenty of wholesome nostalgia in old Hollywood. They used to be patriots. Occasionally I turn to a movie on another station but cannot watch due to commercials. Am totally oblivious to popular (woke) culture and I sleep soundly as a result.

IamDevo said...

Dear Andy:
You can get tons of old movies for free on various streaming services, so if that's all you watch, CUT THE CORD. Your $150.00/month payment goes directly to feed the beast, or did you not know that? Whether you watch any of the programs offered on the package is irrelevant; your money goes to them all, ESPN, Al Jazeera, Disney, etc. You shouldn't be sleeping so soundly now, knowing that you are directly funding your socio-political enemies to the tune of $1,800.00 per year.

Stacey said...

Can you all state what streaming services you use. And what is the cost?


If it were me (and not the wife / kids) I'd have turned off the cable TV ages ago.

IamDevo said...

Get the "Old Movies" app on your cell phone, then Chromecast to your TV. Voila. Or just go to You Tube and search. It's remarkable how much content, including old movies is out there for FREE.

Andy Texan said...

Thanks IamDevo. Perfectly aware of the way cable fees are distributed. Will look into it.

Dr. Mabuse said...

It's easy to lose track of how much cable is costing, especially if you're a Boomer like me. I grew up in an era where cable was almost like a utility that everyone had, and the cost was pretty minor. When I realized that I was paying over $150 a month for cable, and watched almost nothing but the Weather Channel, I decided we should think about cutting the cable.

But the decisive moment came when we had to have some work done to repair a wall in the family room, and I had to disconnect the TV and move it, with the rest of the furniture to the other side of the room. The work was done, everything moved back and reconnected. Then 2 weeks later, I went to turn on the TV to check the weather forecast and nothing happened. I realized I'd forgotten to the push the ON button on the surge protector after reconnecting the TV and cable box, and it had taken me 2 weeks to realize it! That was it, I called to disconnect the cable that very day, and we haven't missed it once since.

I did, however, feel a real nervous trepidation after making the plunge. It was weird, as if I were marrying out of the tribe or doing something really daring that would cut me off from all that was familiar. That's how ingrained TV watching had become, even though I didn't enjoy it or even participate very much anymore.