Last night I began to “surf” the Netflix offerings that dribbled by on our Roku homepage.
I was intrigued by a Netflix production (and there are so many now) called “1922” based on the Stephen King novella. The trailer did what all good trailers must do…it piqued my interest and made me stay. As I watched, I made audible sounds of interest which is my non-communicative manner of saying “Wow, I want to check this out.”
My s/o, nearby, listening while she played games on her phone, scolded, “Why don’t you try finish watching something you’ve already started?”
It was not an angry or nagging reminder, but the observation was obviously intended to express frustration with my decidedly unbinge-like television behavior. I do not binge. I hate the idea of binge watching. In fact, I would argue that television binging, while harmless on its surface, is emblematic of the dysfunctional state of Western culture today.
I concurred with a grunt and said I just wanted to check the trailer out, not that I was going to watch “1922” in defiance of the fact that I have about 6 other online shows I’m currently “watching” in splintered bouts of viewership. I am quite capable of watching multiple shows during protracted periods in which ultimately, I finish nothing quickly.
I might watch show A, episode 3, and after I’m done, jump to show D, episode 7. And if I’m especially in the mood, I might jump to show X, the pilot. And this does not happen over a series of consecutive days! Ultimately, it might take me several months to finish one season of anything. That’s the way my mind works; I enjoy shit in dribs and drabs. I was born in the 1960’s and I was raised on weekly airings of shows. I’m used to waiting; I was evolutionary designed this way. Something people don’t seem to have the patience for anymore.
So in addition to “1922,” which I’ll watch eventually, I am currently juggling a few shows: Ozark, Big Mouth, Fortitude, Stranger Things 2, Mindhunter and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I watch whichever show, whichever episode, when the mood strikes. I find it nearly impossible to sit in front of the television for more than 2 consecutive episodes of any specific show. I don’t find it enjoyable or rewarding to entertain my television thus. I prefer to watch something, digest it, dwell on it, ruminate perhaps. This is my idea of enjoying each series’ solitary fruition. I’ll go back to “living” after the show is done, and when the mood strikes, come back to the next episode, tomorrow or next week or next month. You never know.
Binge watching is evidence of the sick state of mind that afflicts modern culture. Obsessive indulgence.
What is it we enjoy about constant overabundance and immersion in activities and sensory feedback to the point where feedback is dulled with overexposure? We are drawn to inundation of senses to the point of dullness. We are a fat, hedonistic, numb society and rather than seeking distinction of experience and serenity of the perfect moment, we race ahead of ourselves, unable to keep pace with our subsumed ego.