We had a choice when we signed a lease on this apartment to subscribe to cable TV. We declined. There are times, as in the recent Beijing Olympics, when we regret that decision. What we saw of the opening and closing ceremonies was incredible, and cable TV for those two weeks would have been worth it. But for all the rest of the year? Not so much.

We do watch tv occasionally, but mostly it is knock off Hollywood movies, with English subtitles that are mangled in such a way that is so screamingly funny we have to watch the movie twice to see what was going on. The one or two commercials that we do see are all about making our faces whiter. We figure that in this culture they are white enough already, so we find them kind of funny too.

Being outside of all the North American pressure to buy stuff is really nice. Life without commercials is much more peaceful;  you really have no idea. There is a reason that Christ spent more of his earthly ministry talking about the dangers of losing your soul to mammon than He did talking about any other subject. The road to perdition is paved with the distraction of obtaining earthly things.

But more than spiritual salvation is at stake. Murray Jordan in The Making and Unmaking of Technological Society argues that consumerism is at root nihilistic and destructive of the society it purports to extol. Certainly there is enough evidence of the decline of Western civilization to wonder if there is something terribly wrong and perhaps sick at the heart of our culture. I could think about that and do some more reading on the subject, or I could just relax and watch some tv.