For the last three weeks, CBS (Channel 2) has been unavailable on Time Warner, the local cable TV provider for much of New York City. Not a problem, I said to myself: if I actually want to watch a CBS program, I’ll dig up the antenna that I last used when Sandy hit and the cable went out.
It’s been three weeks now, and I still haven’t hooked up the antenna. I also haven’t felt the need to try to watch CBS over the Internet, although I understand that CBS has blocked access to its television programming on its Web site for Time Warner customers.
Yup, they’re really that useless.
In fact, there are only two programs that I watch on the broadcast networks anymore: NBC Nightly News, because I feel I have a duty as a citizen to see the mainstream media take on the world (not that I necessarily believe it anymore), and America’s Funniest Home Videos, on ABC, because, well, it’s funny. There are a couple of favorites on the cable networks, but the only show that I make it a point to watch is Ice Road Truckers: when that finishes in a few weeks, I could probably give up on television entirely.
My wife mostly watches the half-dozen Korean channels available on cable. Much of the programming has English subtitles. (I’m ashamed that, after being married twelve and a half years, I can still only say about ten things in Korean.)
The other night, we watched a documentary about a railroad line. The video takes us from town to town, interviewing people along the way: the athletic young couple traveling cross-country on bicycles; the old ladies who live by the station that recently closed, who watch the trains go by; the local market that’s not as busy as it used to be because the young people prefer to shop at the supermarket.
It’s sweet, and it’s human, and nothing like it is on American television.
I’m sure that Time Warner and CBS will make up at some point, and Channel 2 will be back on cable. After all, in the fall, it isn’t a proper Sunday without NFL on CBS.
Or maybe they won’t.
I don’t care.