On watching TVs and movies


I have to ask myself, what is the purpose of watching TVs and movies? This question has been looming in my mind for some time, and becomes clearer every time I saw a movie or a TV episode that either lacks a taste, or cannot catch my attention, or cannot be understood. I am wasting my time! Not only by watching these movies and TVs, for I tend to sit over the whole thing even though the plot is so that you know who is the killer after the first scene, but also for the effort and time devoted to download and organize my huge collection of them.

My drive to analyze my daily movie- or TV-watching behaviors gets much stronger these days when I am listening to Steve Jobs, a biography wrote by Walter Isaacson.  For him, knowing the purpose is fundamental and he could not do anything without knowing the purpose. One example was his discussion with his wife about the purpose of the washing machine. The European machine washes better but takes longer time, and the American one faster but uses one more gallon of water, and the cloth lasts shorter. So which one to choose? The choice was seen, by Steve, as related to family value, e.g., to save time, or to save energy?

Looking upon my behaviors, I am embarrassed to see I am on the opposite side of Steve. I have been spending time downloading, burning, collecting, and watching movies and TVs in a habitual way, and I have forgot why, especially what I have collected already exceeds the amount that I can watch in a year. Why?

Probably because I have an obsession of collecting things. I collected a huge pile of pirated game CD/DVDs back home, and did not have time to play even a hundredth of them. I had a collection of VCDs of movies, and when DVDs were out, I changed them to VCDs. Because they were the same movies, I did not bother to watch most in my DVD collection.

I am not sure when this obsession starts, or why I started to have this obsession. Was it because of my family’s poverty during my childhood That I yearned for a lot of things but my parents could afford none of them?  Was it because that with my fluency problem I had to stay at home for the most of the summers and had to kill the time by reading whatever books I could get from the local small library? Or was it just my nature that when time matures it just shows up? Anyway, it is hard to say. And it does not matter when and why I started to have this obsession. The point is, things need to have some change. Yes we can!

Sir Francois Bacon indicated that there are various functions of reading, along with various manners of reading. So is watching TVs and movies. There are some movies and TVs that should be digested, some watched, and some just browsed and skipped. These various manners of watching them correspond to the different purpose for watching them.

Some are for learning, some for socializing, and some for entertainment. For learning, they are classic movies/TVs that have influenced the culture and language, or adaptions of classic novels/plays. For socializing, they are the popular movies/TVs for a certain time, and could serve as topics on the table. For entertainment are those that move me in this or that way. There are a lot others that cannot be counted as for either of these purposes, and they have to be phased out in my collection.


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