I am a huge fan of BBC radio--especially Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra. I often marvel at the fact that in the UK people can simply turn on their radios and find amazing dramas and intelligent discussions about a wide range of interesting and important topics. It would appear that, in spite of some of the rather juvenile comedy, it is assumed that people there actually think and consider. The contrast with the garbage that we get in this country is quite stark.
People often ask me why I do not have a TV and wonder how I fill my time. I want to ask them why they DO have a TV and whether that is how they fill their time. Then I want to tell them that I have made the choice not to pay people to fill my enviornment with toxic crap, because that is exactly what people do each time they pay their cable bill. I recently had the experience of visiting someone for a week and being exposed to a fair amount of TV. When I got back to Maine I felt like I had to detox. It strikes me that as time goes on, our environments just get more and more toxic, whether we are talking about the physical world, like air and water, or our cultural world, like TV and movies. Is there quality content on TV? I am sure there must be. But it is not the norm. I cannot watch TV or usually even turn on the radio here without feeling like my intelligence is being insulted and that I am being taken for a fool. I just don't bother. There is plenty of intelligent, thought-provoking, entertaining, and relevant content that I can have by downloading the podcasts that I choose (I have over 420 of them just waiting to be listened to on my computer, my nook, and my mp3 player!) and listening to programs on places like the BBC website, where they leave shows up for a week after airing. Now my only problem is trying to find time to listen to all I want to hear before it gets taken down. The podcasts will keep and I am so happy that BBC is making more and more of its shows available in that format. But this week the Radio 4 Extra website is filled with an overabundance of wonderful listening and I have no idea how I will fit it all in. I'll just have to give it my best shot!