My Google Reader was all abuzz today about Ellen Degeneres and Portia Rossi on Oprah, so I decided to check out the appearance. Now I know Oprah’s kind of schmaltzy anyway, and I’m sure she had the best of intentions, but the episode kind of struck me the wrong way from the opening segment. Oprah talks about a photoshoot where Portia walked into the room and Ellen’s eyes lit up, and how beautiful that was, and how she said “Hey Baby,” and how cute that was, etc. It had a very animals-in-a-zoo feel to me. “Look at the lesbians in their natural habitat!” Yes, Ellen’s eyes lit up when Portia walked into a room, because it’s her wife. I’m just saying.
If you haven’t yet seen it, Jon Stewart makes some really thoughtful arguments in a discussion with Mike Huckabee about gay marriage. One of my favourite points: “Religion is far more of a choice than homosexuality.” You can get it online at thedailyshow.com, just click full episodes and select Tuesday’s night’s show. The discussion is right after the last little black commercial break bar at the bottom of your screen.
I really don’t. I grew up watching television, and there were some shows I really liked as a kid – most notably, Full House, but also such gems as Cooking with Julia and The Frugal Gourmet. When we got cable, I learned to channel surf, because it was something to do. When we got a second television, my mother and I could channel surf separately, which was even better. When FOOD Network came out, that was my default, though I had a favorite show from time to time – The West Wing, then Buffy when I started going out with my high school girlfriend, and Lost for a brief time in college. I couldn’t quite imagine not having TV, but only because I couldn’t think of anything better to do. (I was not much of a book person as a kid, once I finished all two hundred and seventy or so books of the Babysitter’s Club series.)
In college, we had a huge television in our dorm common room, and that was good enough for me. When the mood to channel surf struck, I’d sit down and flip until I got bored again. Sometimes a group would be watching something and I’d join them, but not often. After all, I had the Internet. The Internet, for those of you who haven’t noticed, provides choice. It’s why I’m great at reading blogs and news feeds everyday when I could never read the traditional newspaper. You get to pick your topics. With TV, you might find something good on, or you might not. As an adult, I really don’t have the luxury of being so bored that anything entertaining will do. There’s an agenda.
People now are shocked when I say I don’t have a TV, but really, why? The fact is, you can get full episodes of The Daily Show free online. I think that’s true with network dramas, too. The downside is that there’s no Jeopardy! But to get Jeopardy!, I’d have to get cable, because they’re phasing out antennas. So that’s maybe two hundred dollars for the set, twenty bucks for the cables, another sixty dollars or more just for basic cable per month, and I wouldn’t even get the TV I really want. The only show I really care about is The L Word (which isn’t around for much longer anyway), and it’s on premium cable. I can get DVDs of that series, believe it or not, at my public library (Thanks, ICPL!)
But what I find really amazing about this whole free Internet thing is video blogging. Ok, granted, most video blogging is probably not all that great, but I have discovered an interest in pop culture in the form of AfterEllen. Blogs featuring people sitting around talking about what’s relevant to lesbians? Really? I watch Cherry Bomb, Brunch with Bridget, and This Just Out every week and that’s just fine for me. There’s only the occasional “web commercial,” and I can stop and pause and rewind. Plus, I can see a part of society that doesn’t really exist on television, and that makes up a big part of my life and personality. There are other dykes out there, I know, but visual representations of that community are few and far between. With AfterEllen, not to mention all the lesbian comedy and other awesomeness (Alix Olsen! Rachel Maddow!) on YouTube, I’m hard pressed to see why I should give Mediacom any of my hard-earned cash.