No TV Week

Unplugging the Plug in DrugUnplugging the Plug-In Drug: the “No TV Week” Guide

This isn’t a bad idea for a book in a public library.  It just needs to be updated.  Winn gives advice on how to quit a TV addiction, since it robs you of time you could spend relating to people.  That’s fine, but these days you should probably add cell phones, laptops, mp3 players, eReaders…pretty much any gadget that people entertain themselves with rather than talk to others.

Hear that, Mary?  No more “Ancient Aliens” for you for a WHOLE WEEK!  And you can’t DVR it, either.  Or watch it online.  Or put it in your Netflix queue.

Now, leave me alone.  Iron Chef is on.



  1. Relate to people? If by “people” you mean those folks from facebook, well, I just don’t know how to find them anymore IRL…

  2. This book changed my life! My 18 month old pulled it from the library shelves over 20 years ago when she was running loose in the aisles…..little did she know I would take the book home and turn off the TV for most of her childhood.

    I would hate to see it go. It needs to remain on the shelves as an important counter-cultural statement.

  3. But Maggie, it’s SERIOUSLY out of date! There’s nothing there about the internet, texting, etc. When my niece lived with us for 6 months she was texting constantly. At the dinner table, all through our trip to New York, at amusement parks. Rarely saw her face because she was bent over the phone all the time.

    And I’m bad too. I play with my Nintendo DS rather than talk. Or I’ll read a book at the table and maybe listen to my iPod. But that’s because mom spends most of her time talking about what some reality tv idiot did. I swear, if she quotes those morons Clinton and Stacy one more time I’m going to go postal!

  4. People who like to demonize TV clearly never watched NOVA.

    When I was a kid, my parents probably could have benefited more from “How to Pull Your Child’s Nose Out of Those Constant Books, Yes, She Can Socialize” instead. 😉

  5. The medium is out of date but not the message. I still remember the main point of the book (which applies to browsing and texting as well)….the time we spend watching TV is time we are spending not living our lives. We’re watching other people live theirs. It was such a wake up call to me and made me want to live my wild and beautiful life, as Mary Oliver would say.

    But here I am, surfing away!

  6. My TV watching had diminished over the years and since I never bought the converter I no longer have one. I’ve been a reader since I was a kid and along with the computer I don’t feel as if I’m totally out of the loop on current events. When I do read about the new shows I really don’t think I’m missing much. I guess it’s a toss up whether spending time on the computer is the same as watching TV ;they both can bring mindless pleasure or something constructive and worthwhile. I take advantage of both.

  7. This book’s message is dated because the line between active and passive, i.e. watching “others live their lives” is much more blurred now. Watching tv endlessly for hours when one could be doing much more productive things isn’t a good thing, I’ll grant you. But where do you draw the line? I could argue that by texting your niece was socializing. (Just not with you, which was very rude) I’m an artist and much of my artwork is done on a wacom pad (which is a computer moniter with a pen one can draw on) But it’s still a screen, so does that mean I should turn off my computer? What’s the difference between reading on an e-reader and a hard copy paperback book? I prefer to listen to my local NPR station on line rather then turning on a radio, does that count? I vote weed.

  8. I lived for almost 12 years without a television set. The best thing I ever did actually. I graduated through university within that period. I bought a TV back in 2004 after I started working, but for the last three years put it away in the storage cupboard, and have never gone back. Believe me, you don’t need television – it’s a waste of time and electricity. Most news you can get off the internet or by listening to the radio while doing chores.

  9. I spent most of my childhood reading novels and not talking to real people… not entirely sure what makes that so much better.

  10. @Jeannte – Personally, I think it should be up to others what they want to do. I prefer to read and listen to music than talk to people. Very few talk about anything I’m interested in. The few that do – mostly mom – never let me finish a sentance. (Just once I’d like to have a conversation about music – how Buddy Holly changed the music industry and influenced so many with such a short life, the differences between Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman, how Barry Manilow’s songs are way more complicated to sing than Neil Diamond’s, etc – without being interupted on how I need to wear eyebrow pencil – then when I say I think eyebrow pencil looks stupid have that blasted “makeup artist” from What Not To Wear quoted to me. Or be able to talk about shows *I* like such as Burn Notice, Psych, Royal Pains, Eureka, and Warehouse 13 rather than hear about Wife Swap, how trashy Sister Wives is, or how much Little People Big World is missed.)

    And if I have one more library patron ask me one more time why I never watched Sex In The City I shall scream.

    So, yeah, I don’t socalize much. Give me a book and The Bee Gees or Sammy Davis Jr on my iPod any day.

    I’m just trying to get Maggie to see the light and that it needs to be weeded for something more up to date.

  11. Based on the title, I think it’s related to the book _the Plug-In Drug_ . . . and now that I’ve Googled it, I see that it’s by the same author.

    According to this page:, _Plug-In_ has had its 25 anniversary. And, Holly, you’ll be pleased to know that it has been updated to include computers and video-games.

    So, frankly, I would keep this one if you still have the other one.

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