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Slices of Life... Idle Tuesday leads to thoughts of TV Guide

It was an uncharacteristically idle Tuesday evening. There were no practices, lessons or commitments to race to. I think we even got to have dinner together. Afterward, there was time for a little TV, and someone found a documentary on lions. It ...

It was an uncharacteristically idle Tuesday evening. There were no practices, lessons or commitments to race to. I think we even got to have dinner together. Afterward, there was time for a little TV, and someone found a documentary on lions. It was all very interesting and educational.

It wasn't until the next morning that I realized what we'd done. Or more specifically what we'd left undone. In our relaxed, unencumbered state we did the unthinkable. We missed the American Idol premiere.

It's been happening a lot lately - us missing favorite shows. It isn't our fault. We're just having a hard time adjusting. It's been a couple of months, and we're still feeling the loss.

We miss the TV Guide.

For as long as I can remember, the TV Guide arrived with the newspaper on Sunday morning, tucked in amongst the ads and comic section. Over the years, it's taken on different forms, but it's always been there, reliable, enduring and consistent.

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Earlier this year, our daily newspaper discontinued providing the TV Guide as part of the Sunday paper. Their company line was that the new-millennium, computer-savvy reader didn't use the Guide anymore and instead found listings online or by using the remote onscreen TV Guide. t was all about consumer convenience and saving trees. In other words, the Guide is obsolete.

I think that's a bunch of hooey

Twenty years ago when the personal computer made its debut into the average American household and office, the experts predicted that paper would become obsolete. They said we could e-mail and network and share information without ever having a to print a hard copy on actual paper.

It was a bunch of hooey.

Paper is more important than ever. Sure we can read things on the computer screen, but isn't a printout easier, clearer and just plain better? Most of us think so. Paper industry statistics prove it.

The U.S. consumes over 750 pounds of paper per year per person. That's more than the next three top countries - China, Japan and Germany - combined. Of course this includes all kinds of paper - magazines, books, newspaper, cardboard boxes, paper cups, even toilet paper. Only 28 percent is writing paper, the kind we use in our computer printers. Still, that's a ream or two more than what I would have predicted. Kind of embarrassing, actually, but it proves my point about the hooey.

You can get a computer geek or newspaper exec to tell you about how things are supposed to be and how we don't really need paper copies of things like the TV Guide anymore, but the truth is we are using paper by the bundle.

Discontinuing the TV Guide has as much to do with consumer convenience and saving trees as American Idol's Simon Cowell has to do with empathy and tact.

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Businesses and executives make decisions based on one main factor, and it isn't consumer convenience, environmental consciousness or whether people really do use the TV Guide or not. Quite ironically, I do believe it actually is all about saving paper - the green kind that's printed at the U.S. Mint.

Jill Pertler is a syndicated columnist and freelance writer working with graphic designer Nikki Willgohs to provide writing and design and other marketing services to businesses and individuals. She appreciates comments and can be reached at pertmn@qwest.net .

Footnote: All is not lost! The TV Guide may be a thing of the past, but there is a place where a discerning reader can find a real live printed copy of the TV listings - right here in the Pine Journal. Check it out in the C section. I plan to ~ Jill

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