"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Friday, May 4, 2018

Are You Feeding Your Mind Junk Food...?

According to a New York Times article (based upon a Nielsen Research Study), Americans spend over five hours daily watching TV.

And much like the body and food, what you "consume" on a regular basis mentally will dictate your state of  health and general well-being. It can make or break you.
All the more reason to diversify your daily menu with "nourishing choices" that feed the mind, soul and spirit. Programs that can inform, entertain and enhance you.
Quality options that can lead to a better quality of life.

For example, have you ever noticed how you feel after watching the evening news? More than likely you feel vulnerable, sad for the plight of others, unsafe, confused, frustrated, heavy-hearted. True?

Here's my issue, folks. Lately I've been re-thinking some of my weekly favorites in an effort to make more "value based" selections. The reason?
It seems that in an effort to gain and retain ratings, many stations have strayed waaayyy too far.
And frankly, I'm fed up.
Kids can turn on the tube just about any given hour of the day and see things that used to be reserved for adults and late night viewing.
There's moral decay; increasing violence; profanity and insanity; dysfunctional lifestyles; recreational drug use; and general chaos. I think as a viewing audience in general, we are all "starving" for smart, creative, positive programs that inspire us; that make us think; that move us to expand our view of the world; that allow us to "escape" in a good way.
Am I alone here?
Don't get me wrong, I'm no prude. I am as guilty as the next person in sometimes getting drawn into the drama of "soap-opera" type programs.  For instance, I watch Fox 32's Empire each Wednesday and Bounce's Saints & Sinners religiously, (no pun intended).
And truth be told? If the men starring in the show serve as "eye candy" I sometimes don't even care about the storyline.  I like to think of it as "art appreciation." :-)
Now back to my original issue here... 
each week the episodes from some of the most popular shows seem to get more devious, more dysfunctional, more damaging. There are no boundaries.
What ever happened to shows like Andy Griffith? Green Acres? Leave it to Beaver? Friends? Sanford & Son?  The Jeffersons? I Love Lucy?
(Many programs that were before my time, but luckily aired reruns).
What happened to Family Friendly TV?  Where are our Super Heroes?
Some of you are probably thinking that if I don't like a particular show, heck, I can simply change the channel.  And I do.
But, that doesn't really solve the problem, considering there's not much in place to replace it. Hello?

So, what does all this have to do with writing...?

There's a computer acronym that sums things up nicely: "G.I.G.O."
It means Garbage in Garbage out. Need I say more?
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that there are some good shows being currently aired; all is not lost. And there are many benefits that writers gain when using this medium for creativity.
A previous post here at Pen & Prosper shares more specifics on smart TV viewing.  

For greater entertainment balance and better "brain food," here are some healthy alternative options. 

My favorites? Jeopardy, Password, Family Feud
My favorites? King of Queens, Grown Folks, Comedy.TV, Family Time
My favorites? Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer
My favorites? Anna Olson, Martha Stewart, Simply Ming, Chef Irie
My favorites? The Voice, Showtime at the Apollo

Essentially, it's all about proper balance and discernment.
Choose wisely.
To quote a popular slogan: "The mind is a terrible thing to waste."

Thoughts? Agree or disagree?
What's your favorite "quality" program? Do tell.

Image credits: Pixabay.com


  1. Jennifer: We prefer to watch the "old" shows. I like Film Noir the movies from the 1940's and early 50's. I also like some of the Alfred Hitchcock movies, especially Rear Window and Vertigo. The comedy shows from the 50's and 60's are also high on my list. But, I have limited my viewing to two or two and a half hours a night. Unless there is a good movie on.

    1. Hi Cecelia,
      I'm a Hitchcock fan too.
      Thanks so much for sharing

  2. Well said, and I applaud you for addressing this topic. I agree completely. Eye candy, well i get that. LOL

    1. Thanks, Lin
      I felt compelled to address this timely topic. Glad to get your thoughts today.

  3. I am mindful of what I consume. In fact, shows are so toxic that I'm re-evaluating what I watch.

    For example, I really enjoy Empire but their actions get more evil each episode, especially toward each other as family members.

    I also really like - and will not stop watching - How to Get Away With Murder. I think I like this one because I love the game of Clue and Viola Davis.

    And I'm with you on eye candy. I think that's one of the reasons why I like Chicago PD. They have good story lines but the male cops in those uniforms make me look forward to the next episode. I watched this two months before I realized I wasn't just attracted to the story lines.

    I don't know if I should be ashamed to admit this but I like Two Broke Girls. I'll usually turn it on for noise but I pay attention to it every now and then. It's a mindless show where you might laugh from the corny-ness and not-so-subtle sexual comments.

    Sorry about this long comment but this was an interesting topic I could relate to. So, I'm going to shut up now and leave space for someone else. Have a great weekend.

    1. Marcie,
      No apology needed for the long comment. I enjoyed reading it. I'll have to check out Chicago PD. now.
      The verdict is still out on Empire.
      And oh yeah, I enjoy 2 Broke Girls from time to time.
      Thanks so much for adding to the mix.

  4. Jennifer --

    Well, I agree 100%.

    And, by the way, I watch Andy Griffith reruns nightly and love reading (and learning from) Joyce Meyer books.

    I hope all is well!


    1. Hi Steve,
      It appears you've got good taste. :-)
      Great to reconnect here.
      Be well.

  5. I agree! Current programming is a sad reflection of much of today's society. GIGO is the perfect reminder to be aware and make better choices. This brings to mind the principle of sowing and reaping and I ask myself, what do we want to reap in the end? I prefer healthy things and life giving options. Good post, thank you Jen!

    1. Karen,

      You make a valid point: we need to figure out what we seek to reap. Spiritual food is important. Thanks for your thoughts.

  6. LOVE me some Chicago PD!

    I love watching TV in general (politics are my thing, so CNN is on all the time). Like you said Jennifer, it's all about balance.

    I recently started a romance writing group for students in my romance writing class, and one thing I've starrted doing more is reading. I used to be a prolific reader, but over the years, it got to be less and less.

    Running into this quote by Stephen King "If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write well," made me realize that I needed to get back to reading regularly.

    Now, I always have a book on my nightstand that I'm in the process of reading. And not necessarily romance. Right now I'm reading "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie." #ReadingIsFundamental ... King is right.

    Good topic; glad you addressed it.

    1. Hi there, Yuwanda
      Now you have me curious. I'll be checking out Chicago PD this week!
      Lovely hearing from you.
      Be well.

    2. P.S.

      I couldn't agree more about the importance of reading, Yuwanda. I plan to do more this summer.