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Eight-track tapes in your stocking

Your Humble Blogger was reading a rant about Western Materialism—well, actually, it was about the tension between the anticipation appropriate to Advent and the anticipation engendered by the Holiday Season, and it wasn’t actually a terrible rant. But the ranter made a comment about kids waiting for a new bike or flat-screen TV. And I thought, This guy is completely out-of-touch!

I bring this up because Your Humble Blogger did get a flat-screen TV this week. My old cathode-ray tube machine was getting very washed-out contrasts, particularly in the lighter colors, and it turns out that can interfere with my enjoyment of watching people in uniforms the color of french vanilla engage in sporting events. We had been meaning to replace the thing for a while and finally did—and the new machine has a built-in DVD-player, too! So that’s all right.

At any rate, YHB shopped, at least vaguely and windowly, for a new television during the late summer and autumn, and I must say that anybody who is waiting for a new television is waiting for a flat screen. If you really, really want a cathode-ray tube, I suspect you have to go to a specialty store, or perhaps an odd lots place will have a bunch left over, or of course you can have our old one. And lots of people probably still have old CRT sets that still work fine. But in the stores? The TVs are all flat.

And if you are imagining a household like our own, where perhaps the kids are waiting for their parentals to finally get up to the twenty-first proverbial and get rid of that old square screen, well, that’s probably not the household that Mr. Ranty was talking about, is it? I mean, maybe it is—surely I don’t consider myself and my children absolutely exempt from the curse of Western Materialism. And the fact that we had our old TV for only, let me think, it must have been, hm. Was it the one my mother-in-law gave us in 2004? I think that must be right. And she had only had it for a couple of years at that point, so it was probably a 2002 machine. You know what? It probably says on the back of it, and it’s still sitting on the floor, because it weighs a zillion pounds. Let me look. Yep, 2002. That’s only eight years—not quite nine—out of a three-hundred-dollar piece of home entertainment. So yes, Western Materialism and creature comforts and all.

But even in my house, nobody was really waiting for a new flat-screen TV. We were waiting for a set that worked, yes. There was some anticipation that was not very Adventy. But the flat-screenness was not really part of that anticipation; flat screen was a given. It came with a remote control, too!

I don’t know what I would put in the place of that phrase, though. If I were to talk about kids and their parents anticipating the material aspects of X-mas, I wouldn’t have any immediate idea of a new-fangled thing to write. An iPad? A Wii? A smartphone? Those seem a bit six-months-ago, but still better than a flat-screen TV. I suppose I would go to one of the big on-line shopping sites and look at what the big item was this week, if I wanted to look totally au courant’n’stuff. But then, I would probably take half-an-hour trying to come up with the perfect thing for the sentence, and then give up and delete the whole note. So, probably better to just do the rant and have people like me go this guy is out of touch than to have less-obnoxious people go is he ever going to post again?

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


Wait, there are flat-screened TVs?!? Who knew?

Yeah, the hubby and I got our first flat-screen TV like, last year; we'd had the same CRT since we got married in '93 and it still worked fine--you just couldn't plug it into anything and it definitely couldn't handle HDTV. So we could see the day coming when it would be a TV that worked fine, but there was nothing being transmitted anymore that it could receive. It was like getting rid of a family pet the day we hauled it down to the give-away spot. :(

But as has been pointed out before, we've been a household with 6 computers for two people since the mid-90s, what with the archival pieces in the closet and multiple desktops and laptops etc. So our materialism runs in other veins. ;)

But yeah, your point was that someone ranting about such stuff should know what the big-ticket item is this year. XBOX 360? A "top toys for Christmas 2010" google search says it's Xbox kinect and Lego Hogwarts sets... ;) But "Kid waiting for a LEGO Hogwarts set..." somehow doesn't have the same ring to it as "kid waiting for a flat-screen TV." ::chuckle::

IMHO it's not the kids that are an issue--have you SEEN the ads for new cars as Christmas presents? Ye gods and little fishes...

I suspect the In Things right now, at least from the displays I've seen in stores the last couple of days, are iPads and e-book readers. You're welcome.


i am disgusted that children today are fixated by solid objects. when i was their age it was DREAMS! DREAMS! MAD GOLD & VERMILLION FANTASIES OF INTERNAL ORGANS DANCING IN ROWS OF THREE AT THE FEET OF WINGED LETHERBACK TURTLES! that absorbed my young mind, and i am the better for it every day.

Yeah, I would say Kinect is the toy-of-the-moment. But yeah, I think iPads are still relatively new and exciting; I bet there are a lot of people who want one for Christmas.

I've been planning to get a flat-screen TV for a couple years now, but keep being stymied by the amount of research that I feel like I would need to do, and the number of options (plasma or LCD?), and the question of where I would put it. Is over the mantel too high up? If so, then which of the two possible walls should the TV go on?

But I'll probably finally get one sometime in the next couple weeks.

And I meant to say hee! to dp.

@Jed: I've been trying to figure out those same questions for a while. I got a Vizio xvt423sv (see also xvt473sv, etc.), partly because it had a good picture for SD content as well as HD content, partly because it had a more matte screen which was better for a brightly lit room (which ours is during the day), partly because it got great reviews. Sound isn't as good as our old tube Sony Wega 27", but that doesn't matter since we're using a separate A/V receiver for sound. (And the sound is apparently so-so on most flat screens, which makes sense given the lack of depth available for the speakers.) We ran it side-by-side with our old tv to do some a/b testing, and it's a minor improvement for SD content and an immense improvement for watching DVDs. Can't report on console gaming, since we don't have any of those.

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