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December 15th, 2009

Writer's Block: Entertainment Center

How has technology changed the way you watch movies and listen to music?

I remember as a child curling up on the soft carpet of our living room floor and listening to my mama telling me about listening to the radio when she was a child. My mama was also my grandmother who had been raising me since I was a mere three months old. Her and my grandfather whom I called papa had also adopted me. So in every way they were my parents more than my grandparents. Mama had grown up during the Great Depression and things for them were quite different than they are now. They would sit around the family radio in the evenings after working hard all day and listen to shows like The Shadow and listen to the Grand Ol Opry Live. Nowdays, we take out our tiny Ipods and various music players and put the earphones in our ears and that's our music. There are no more records, not even many CDs used anymore. MP3s are where it's at, and even more recently MP4s. I think todays technology takes away the togetherness within families when listening to music or watching shows. We used to gather around the TV after dinner and watch evening shows together as a family. We had the same old TV set from Montgomery Ward for about 20 years. It was not just a piece of technology either, it was also a furniture piece. The screen waa set inside a decorated wooden console. It was quite heavy compared to today's televisions. But the memories of the family togetherness is the best part of watching TV. Back then, shows were very much regulated and there were certain things that just weren't said or done on TV to preserve the family quality of the experience. You didn't have to worry so much about parental control because there weren't shows on then like now. Today I have become a bit frustrated with some of the new TV and music technology. I wish there were more shows on TV that i could share with my children and husband. I tend to buy DVDs of the old shows and watch them with my family and we turn on the radio in keeping with the tradition that my mama grew up with. We have found a show that presents some of the old radio shows that were aired all of those years ago when my mama was a child. I will sit there with my children and think of my parents and how they used to sit by coal oil lanterns listening to these same shows. I believe there is so much missing from today's television and musical experiences.
Also, there doesn't seem to be as much quality in the shows and the music. Today's shows are based so much on sex and extreme violence that I just don't have the stomach for many of them anymore. Not that the shows of yesterday didn't have sex in them, it's just the presentation of the sex is so much more explicit. Also, the music, most of the artists today seem to lack true talent. There are a select few that I do enjoy listening to and I respect their music. But so many of them just can't sing and even more don't write their own songs anymore. So many seem to scream into the microphone and you can't understand a word they say. Even in rock and roll, I tend to enjoy most of the older music. You could actually dance to the old music and now it seems the only dancing is just stomping around and bumping into each other. I miss the days of square dancing and 50s dances that was just as entertaining to watch as it was to dance them.
I do believe that technology has very much changed the way we watch television and listen to music and the quality of the music and movies we watch has changed right along with it. I feel the family togetherness is the biggest loss with the new technology and convenience and ease of use is what we have gained in return. Is it worth it, I'm not so sure.

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