Friday, April 25, 2003

Smaller Screens And Less Of Them

Tadpole: tight, intimate, more mature than The Graduate

When you have a child you trade some of your public life for family. It's wonderful and fulfilling; I ache for the-circle-that-we-are every minute of my workday. But there are, of course, trade-offs.

For one thing, the televison's been a cooler box since Willow's July birth. We don't want our little one watching television, mostly because, as I teach my students through close analysis of Teletubbies, television plants the seeds of its own passivity in even the most rudimentary of growing minds. The fast paced technical elements, the bright blinking box, the color-and-soundwash of the selected, maximized reality that makes it onto the screen: it's no surprise that the American Pediactric Association recommends that children not be exposed to TV.

And then there's the big screen. In the nine months since Willow was born we've been to the movies twice: once with (My Big Fat Greek Wedding; Willow kept talking to the people on the screen; I had to keep leaving with her so as not to annoy the grey haired matinee ladies) and once without (the second Harry Potter movie; Darcie's parent's watched the baby; she cried for the entire three hours we were gone). We've seen plenty of video -- Sundance favorite Tadpole tonight, which you must see if you haven't, and more recently Kissing Jessica Stein, which you must see again. I seem to be turning into a serious purveyor of film, and it's about time.

I'm a media teacher: to be missing out on media for a while can't hurt, and the distance might add focus and objectivity to my study, I suppose. I don't really miss prime time TV -- am more than satisfied with the tension of the ten o'clock network drama and, later, the satire of Daily Show, South Park, and the rest of Comedy Central's nobrow mindcandy. But I do miss the darkness of the movie theatre, the smell of hot corn oil, the sticky-shoe floor and the sneak out for a smoke. I miss the previews and the glowing exit signs. I miss the proximity, the smell of my wife's hair in the darkness with the senses elevated, the hand in the popcorn bucket, buttery and warm.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:37 PM |

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