Don’t follow your streams

Instant streaming TV has become so accessible that it is taking over aspects of so many of our lives: time, energy, and desires. I urge you to follow your dreams, not your streams.

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I’m practically running up the stairs out of the subway station, only 4 blocks from home. And, of course, it’s raining. A nasty, cold, blowing rain. This wasn’t supposed to start for another hour!!

I pull out my phone and open Google Maps. Bus won’t be here for 16 minutes. So, I take off. Running in my clunky-heeled work shoes. My backpack bounces around, ensuring that all surfaces are sufficiently drenched.

It only takes a few minutes to make it to my front steps, yet my feet hurt and everything is soaked. But, I’m finally home.

I drop my pack and throw my coat on the rack. It’s finally time to put up my feet and catch up on Shameless over dinner.

“Whoops, something went wrong…”

The evil Netflix error message strikes again.

I’ll give it a refresh.

“Whoops, something went wrong…”

Refresh.

“Whoops, something went wrong…”

Refresh.

Refresh.

REFRESH, REFRESH, REFRESH.

“Whoops, something went wrong…”

Damnit. Ugh. I guess it’ll be “The Handmaid’s Tale” instead tonight.

Streaming on demand has made it far too easy to watch new shows and movies and our favorites from the past. Bingeing a season of Stranger Things in a night is considered commonplace.

Netflix and Hulu and HBO Go and Prime Movies are replacing hobbies. They’re replacing time spent communicating with friends.

“Did you see the new episode of Younger last night?”

“Yeah! I can’t believe that guy Zane! He’s such a prick sometimes!”

These shows provide an extremely shallow sense of community that we have all been programmed to crave.

This new culture has taken so much from so many of us.

Last night, right after I landed at Philadelphia International Airport after a relaxing romp around Southern California, I was dismayed by a massive message shouted via billboard along I-95 South.

“Follow your streams.”

Is it not enough that these shows consume hours upon hours of our lives weekly? They laugh in the face of our very human need for a sense of belonging by wasting our time, sucking our energy, and destroying our will to truly be together.

And now, they aim to replace our dreams with the regurgitated stories and superficial ideals of the dilapidated film industry. If we’re not careful, our future could end up looking just like one of the many dystopian worlds of Black Mirror.

I’m not asking you to drop TV from your everyday routine. I only ask that you keep that healthy skepticism that will allow you to follow your dreams in spite of your streams.

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