I read in The Independent today about a British man who claims he has not watched television for 24 years. According to the article, 53-year-old Andrew Lohmann saw the light and quit watching the tube cold turkey way back in 1988, when he recognized he had become addicted to visual and audio entertainment transmitted via radio waves.
I don't know if Lohmann experienced any withdrawal symptoms, but he apparently not only survived without the small screen, he positively thrived in its absence. Indeed, he reported that his life improved immensely, what with so much more time to devote to reading, cooking, socializing, developing his hobbies, fighting for causes he believed in, and even for serving a stint as a town councilor.
"I was definitely more sociable and had lots of women friends," he declared.
Wow, I wondered, has anyone else done such a thing? Is there anyone who claims to have kicked the box before 1988? Is there a Guinness World Record holder for giving up TV?
So, I did a little research and came across a blogger named Mike Rogers whose site boasts, "Mike Rogers the Writer has not watched TV since 1985. He has worked extensively. His contemporary writing is without stereotypes." (I suppose his non-contemporary writing is pre-1985 and includes serial stereotypes.)
Then there's actress Elizabeth Hurley who once said she stopped watching the telly in 1979. (I stopped watching Elizabeth Hurley in 2000 after the awful Bedazzled and the even awfuller The Weight of Water.)
From what I can tell those are the top three records for remaining disconnected from the airwaves. Of course, there may be lots of people out there who never watched much or any television in the first place, and who don't watch it today, but that's not the same thing, is it?
And then there's this: do any of these reformed TV watchers really no longer spend any time in front of a set? After all, if you read the original source article about Andrew Lohmann in the Kent and Sussex Courier, you will learn that, "as his work takes him away from home, he watches television in hotels." Mike Rogers the writer admits on his blog that he watched five to ten minutes of the Sopranos on two occasions. As for Hurley, does she expect us to really believe she has never watched herself on any of the 14 odd television productions she has appeared in over the years?
What about you? Are you a TV watcher? If you are, do you think you could give it up? And if you had gone without it as long as any of these folks claim they have, what would you have missed?
On Tuesday a report appeared on a local news website in Kent about an electronics engineer from Southborough who hasn’t watched a TV programme since 1988.
The man, 53-year-old Andrew Lohmann, ditched his television, the article states, when he realised he had developed a bad habit for watching the box. His reliance on TV, he said, had become detrimental to his social life and his interaction with the world around him, so he simply gave it up.
The report goes on to document all the ways in which his life improved once he gave up staring at the set for hours on end.
He found an outlet for his social conscience and began campaigning for nuclear disarmament with his local CND group. He devoted more of his time to his hobbies in computing and technology. He developed a great social life and had ‘lots of women friends’. He had more time to cook and appreciate food and found that he preferred a vegan diet. He even found the time to read a popular broadsheet in its entirety every day despite having dyslexia.
In 24 years without a tube the man clearly hasn’t looked back. Mentally, morally, physically, sexually and socially – in every possible aspect of his life there has been obvious benefit and improvement since giving up TV.
The case is clear then. The only question that remains for us unreformed telly addicts is obvious – is the guy totally off his rocker?