What a bunch of losers.

Wednesday I left work about 2:00 and went home, ate lunch, put in the first disc of Pride and Prejudice, and took a nap for a couple of hours. When I got over my nap hangover (ah, the perils of a long nap), I watched the second disc of Pride and Prejudice while finally getting into the book I checked out a few weeks ago: Dwelling Places by Vinita Hampton Wright.

The book was finally getting my attention (it starts off a bit slow but I am enjoying it), but my cold and general listlessness caused me to turn the television on. I don’t do that very much anymore, just turn on the TV (thank you TiVo), but . . . I just wanted to watch some mindless television for a while. And I happened to come across the finale of The Biggest Loser.

Now, before last night, I had never seen a single episode of The Biggest Loser. Not even ten seconds of an episode. I knew it was about losing weight through better eating and exercise, but I didn’t know exactly how it worked. I had a vague idea that, when the show was announced, I was appalled by the idea, but that it was actually something that had turned out to be okay, focused on encouraging people to make healthy choices. I don’t know from watching the finale whether that is actually true, but it was at least moderately inspiring to see how the contestants had turned their lives around, in many cases because they wanted to be around for their families.

Mike came home when I was watching it, and was completely horrified. Horrified. “Why are you watching this, turn this off, what is wrong with you?” When I said that I wanted to see who had won, he relented and worked on his iTunes while I watched the rest. He even managed a bit of interest in the final three.

But when we went to bed, he admitted that he was ashamed of me for watching it. I responded with the same argument – I just wanted some mindless TV, I hardly ever do that, let me be. I thought about that a little bit this morning, and I offered him the analogy that, for me, watching mindless TV is like reading a magazine. Normally, I read books, but sometimes I just don’t have the attention span. Sometimes nothing will do but People magazine, and reading People magazine now and then doesn’t hurt me. He said that was fine, but in his opinion The Biggest Loser is more like . . . The National Enquirer. I (maturely) stuck my tongue out at him and announced that, since I’d watched Pride and Prejudice earlier in the day, the two cancelled each other out. He indicated that he thought that The Biggest Loser more than cancelled out the five hours of Pride and Prejudice I’d watched over the course of the afternoon (half of it while napping).

Mike’s not usually so vocal about that kind of thing, so it’s really given me pause. Normally I do try to be careful about what media I take in, but is that enough? How harmful is one evening of a couple of hours of junk? It’s not like I was watching Borat (or even Joe Millionaire, which I watched obsessively its first season), after all. I’m not sure there is one correct answer, but it’s always good to be thinking about what I consume and how it affects me.

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