KILL YOUR TV Rakoff Buying a television after living for years without one—the subject of William Hamilton's Week in Review section essay in Sunday's New York Times—may strike some readers as a novel experience. But for David Rakoff, it was more a case of déjà vu. In July 1999, Rakoff published a similar piece in Times's Sunday magazine, describing what it was like to reenter the pop-cultural mainstream after missing out on mass-market phenomenons like Seinfeld and Friends. (For his part, Hamilton was surprised to discover how much C.S.I. there is on TV in 2006.)
So what does Hamilton have to look forward to as a born-again viewer? Radar called Rakoff to find out about his life with television, only to be disappointed. "I don't even really watch TV anymore," he reports. "I've got a little TV set with the VCR attached that stays in the closet. I dragged it out the other night to watch A Star Is Born with Judy Garland, but I de facto don't have one."
Rakoff is quick to note that his failure to become addicted is not due to any virtue on his part. "I'm sure if I had cable I'd develop the habit in one minute. Or if I had one of those lovely flat-screen ones you can hang like a painting—that would be the end of my life." That bodes ill for Hamilton, who did purchase "one of those lovely flat-screen ones"—specifically, a 40-inch Sony Bravia XBR LCD with high-definition and a 150-channel cable package.
"I actually like my lifestyle without cable," adds Rakoff, who called during intermission from a Woody Allen film marathon. "It's odd to say, but you can recuse yourself from a lot of conversations you don't necessarily want to be in."
Hope you kept the receipt, Bill.