Tuesday, September 16, 2008

You Say TV Like That's a Bad Thing

Over at the Wyrdsmiths blog, Kelly McCullough is talking about how he has been without a TV since 1983 and how this confuses people.

He doesn't actually say that thing you often hear from English and creative writing instructors say, which is "Turn off your TV" with the corresponding implication that people who watch TV waste their brains and all their creativity pools on the floor at their feet, but this implication lingers in between the text.

And I want to refute that.

If it weren't for TV, I wouldn't be a writer.

Let me say that again so that I'm perfectly clear: if it weren't for TV, I wouldn't be a writer.

I was inspired to write Archangel Protocol (under my other name) after watching an "X-Files" episode and watching the entire run of "American Gothic."

If the TV eats your brain, you should turn it off. But it's not all the evil-to-creativity that people imply that it is.

That's all I'm saying.


Kelly McCullough said...

The reason I didn't say it is because I don't believe it. I specifically said that I have no moral or cultural objections to TV, it just doesn't interest me.

I find it fascinating how many people assume that my not watching TV means that I condemn the idea. Not true. I really really really don't care if other people watch TV.

The reason I blogged about it is right there in the post--Americans talk about TV shows on a regular basis and when I explain to them that its not a subject I can really participate in because I have no frame of reference, many of them either don't believe me or don't process the information and keep asking me questions that could just as easily be in Sanscrit for all the sense they make to me. I find it be a fascinating phenomena.

Kelly McCullough said...

Also, you seem to be claiming in this post that if you hadn't written Archangel you never would have written anything.

Did you really mean to say that? That Archangel was your one and only chance to become a successful writer and that you never would have been inspired by anything else to write anything else? Because I find that very hard to believe.

I know you wrote stories before Archangel and stories after. Were they all inspired by TV?

tate hallaway said...

Yeah, I think I can safely say that if it weren't for TV, I wouldn't be a writer -- though I would have to amend "and movies."

The first story I wrote from beginning to end was fanfic for "Star Wars." I have notebook after notebook of similair first attempts at writing that are fanfic for Star Trek and other shows that tripped my trigger.

Luckily, I also wrote fanfic for novels I'd read, so it's not like I wasn't also reading, but visual media got me jazzed to write. It's a weird thing.

Kelly McCullough said...

Fair enough. I still find it hard to believe because I see you as an excellent writer and I have trouble thinking that there was only one way for you to get onto the road you're on now, but if you believe that the enthusiasm generated by the visual media is the only thing that would have provided enough oomph, I have to surrender the point.