Tuesday, June 16, 2009


While living in France for the past two months we watched far less television than we customarily do. If an apartment had a television it was located in the bedroom. Why would it be in the family room or living area? That is where social and meal times happen. That is where reading and conversation take place. Television would predictably interfere with that.

In North America a high def screen is the first furniture article one sees upon entering the living space.

When we did watch TV it was often to listen to learn language on the predominantly French list of networks but there were German, Swedish and other language stations as well. We watched the French Open with French language commentators and laughed when a player made a great get or served an ace because the commentator’s expression was “ohh la la!” We were fortunate to find three English language networks broadcasting throughout the UK, Europe and the Asian community, BBC World News, CNN World News, and World News. (You can tap these highlights to go to the online network sites)

What we noticed over the course of time was that we became more informed about the current affairs of world countries than we do at home. We were in tune with international news. When is the last time you heard Cricket scores? American and Canadian networks focus news stories on national features and reports. We concluded that North Americans are largely unaware and indifferent to international events except as it impacts the home front. We are domestically preoccupied that even the word ‘international’ is used euphemistically in North America to refer to an entity within our two countries, the United States and Canada. An example is the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers), which has its international office in Washington, DC with local offices throughout the Unites States and Canada. We found ourselves grateful for a wider exposure to the issues and triumphs in the wider world. Pakistan, Israel, Afghanistan, Kenya, South Africa all seemed closer, geographically of course, but principally in terms of our consciousness.

Christine and I were grateful to be in touch with the global community.We want to find ways to maintain that sensitivity. i.e. channel 36 BBC WorldNews (seldom watched it before the trip)

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