February 29, 2012

Any Way You Watch It

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There were two big happenings that came out of the Oscars last weekend. The first being Angelina Jolie’s right leg as the pasty stunner of the red carpet, poking optimistically out of Jolie’s midnighty dress. It currently has its own twitter (@AngiesRightLeg) and has spawned some hilarious photoshops, dubbed “legbombing.” You all should check those out for a good cackle or two. The other crowning moment of the night was J.Lo’s nipple attempting to escape from its confines, which has since garnered her enough media attention to rival the Grammy dress of 2000 that nearly exposed her Chamber of Secrets.I learned all of this from my social media feeds because I didn’t actually watch the Oscars. This is partially because I’m not the kind of girl who really enjoys award shows and partially because my house doesn’t own a T.V. with cable. My housemates and I decided not to get cable because we deemed it an unnecessary expense. After all, the concept of T.V. as we know it is dying. With the advent of Netflix and Hulu, and even YouTube to a certain extent, who the hell needs cable? Nearly everyone I know basks in their weekly dosage of Glee, Portlandia and How I Met Your Mother from the glow of their laptop screen, more often than not between homework assignments in the library. I would guess that it’s a hell of a lot more challenging to bring your DVR to Mann with you.What’s more, assuming you get your shows using legal methods, both Netflix and Hulu Plus are less than half the price per month of Time Warner Cable’s DVR box ($19.99, not including equipment). Maybe the biggest plus of these online viewing venues is that informercials haven’t pervaded online commercial breaks, so you’re not forced to watch ads for SlapChops or Zoobooks while you wait for Barney to suit up.As a Cornell student, there are very few reasons why you should be purchasing cable. The first being that you are exceedingly into live sports and/or enjoy yelling at an inanimate screen, and the second being that you are a sucker for award shows. I’m not sure how prevalent the Oscar-loving demographic is, but I think the world would keep turning should you fail to witness movie stars handing out little golden men. This goes double for you if you live in a dorm. Every single dorm has T.V.s readily available for you to use, so why would you waste your money?This is not to say that owning a T.V. is a waste. There is a huge difference between paying for cable and being in possession of a television. T.V.s are multifunctional. They’re useful for Brawl (or insert game of choice) sessions, playing movies and hooking up your laptop so that you can stream Netflix on the big screen for a wider audience. All you need at that point is an HDMI cable or maybe a game system and you’re in business.Truthfully, compared to how I feel when I go home for breaks and morph into a couch carrot, I like not having cable while I’m at school. As much as I enjoy the few shows I do watch, it certainly helps my productivity levels that the temptation to watch shows all the time isn’t there.  The consortium of procrastination and senioritis is hard enough to deal with as it is, considering I still have yet to open a textbook this semester. And not that I don’t appreciate a brilliant sitcom, but my brain could be put to use in so many more constructive ways than staring at a screen. Between my iPhone and laptop, that’s pretty much all I do all day already. Why not read? Or clean my bathroom? Or take a walk on the wild (Ithacan) side? Or bake and decorate cupcakes into the Periodic Table of Elements? With any luck the extent of the things we all enjoy is not limited to screen-based activities.If whatever good on T.V. last night is going to be all over my Facebook and Twitter feeds anyway, then really, there’s almost no point in even watching. There’s no purpose in sitting through a whole show when somebody is bound to post a video with the highlights the next day that I’ll probably watch to keep from doing actual work. Even the commercials from the Superbowl (the only part of the Superbowl that actually matters), one of the most watched events of the year, will continue to make their Internet rounds well after they’ve been aired for the first time, with the added bonus that only the good commercials even make it to the Internet.  I guess what I mean to say is any way you watch it, just don’t let your tv or tv shows run your life.

Sam Dean is a senior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She may be reached at sdean@cornellsun.com. Casual WTFery appears alternate Thursdays this semester.

Original Author: Sam Dean

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