Wrap Up 2007

A recap of last year's Mental Detox Week successes.

For 2007, we returned to the kind of stunt that spawned the Adbusters Media Foundation and our ongoing Media Carta Legal Battle against the corporate gatekeepers that control access to the public airwaves – we took our anti-TV “uncommercials” to the corporate airwaves. Some, like ABC in the U.S., refused outright. Others stalled our attempts until the week was over. Thanks to a number of generous donors, however, we were able to run our updated “TV Head 2007” uncommercial three times on CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck — a real jolt of cognitive dissonance, especially since it followed a clever snippet of Dow Chemical propaganda. Meanwhile, students, teachers, parents and activists from around the globe – literally millions of them – found other ways to get involved, whether they spread the word with DIY poster campaigns or just spent seven days liberated from the commercial information grid. Here’s what a few of those people had to share:

Dear Adbusters,
I decided I was going to do my best to get the word out about this year's TV Turnoff Week. So I had a few 8'W X 3'H banners made and my son, Jack, and I hung them over the freeway just East of Pasadena. There are five pix attached. Feel free to link to the EPS file I used to print this. It can be downloaded from http://www.comedynet.net/adbusters/TV_OFF.eps. Travis Townsend Writer/ Artist

For two and a half years, I haven’t watched television. I gave my television set back to my mother. It’s such a relief! I think it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Now I have plenty of time to visit friends, read books, learn strange languages. And when I want to be informed I read a newspaper or a news website. When I want to be entertained I visit friends or whatever comes up in my mind. I just try to be creative. Television is unnecessary and needless. You asked in your newsletter how we will celebrate TV Turnoff Week. Well, I don’t celebrate it at all. People celebrate special moments in life like Christmas, a birthday and so on. The fact that I decided to enjoy life, to visit friends more, to learn more strange languages is not special to me. It’s completely normal and as far as I know people don’t celebrate normal things. On the other hand, it’s the small things in life that count. It’s very important to realize that. Every single day I realize that my life is so much richer without a television set. I guess that’s my “celebration.” Sander Ruijsbroek The Netherlands

I don’t even own a TV. I think that you should take it a step further and have a “Turn-Off the Internet Week.” That would truly be revolutionary. Because, seriously, getting rid of your TV was so two years ago. Melanie Ahlf via email

I wanted to let you know some of the things my wife and I will be doing during TV Turnoff Week. We’ll be playing way more Scrabble. Couples cooking. Camping out in our back yard. Having more sex. And generally being happier, more productive people. Thanks! anonymous via email

My celebration of TV Turnoff Week is simply through promotion. I work in a daycare and I am planning to challenge the children to take part.. They need a break from their video-game and television addictions and realize how to live a life in reality. They are the future. If the big bad corporations can hit them while they're young, why not us? Melanie Bosnjak via email

TV Turnoff Week in Thailand has finished. These are some memories that were impressed deeply.

This year, our goal was 555 members. We created our website and sent out information and alternatives to the many friends with which we had connected.

Our jammer groups gathered in 3 different places, where we distributed the handouts, acted out comedy skits, and let people joined us in celebrating this week. It's wonderful because after we explained everything to most people, they readily join us before going home and telling their families and friends all about TV Turnoff. We created an area on our website for everyone to post their reflections as well.

On the last day, we created a celebration for our members, with spaces for talking about our experiences, for playing traditional games, and for playing music and dancing. In the end, we assembled 580 members in this first year, and we continue to spread this idea of resistance to the commercial world. The "We Change" Group

I teach "Alternatives to Violence" in public high schools throughout Washington, DC, and would like to share with you a little of what I'll be doing over the next month. Specifically, I give my students "lifework" as part of our class exercises throughout the year. Instead of "homework" students in my peace classes take their time outside of school experimenting and trying things they've never done before or doing things they always do in a different way in order to give them more perspectives to see the world.

For example, the lifework they've already done this has included: coming to school by a different route than they normally do; talking to homeless people to learn about their stories; examining the reasons why they may have lied in the past and what would have happened differently if they had told the truth; and going to the movie theater and watching a movie by yourself.

In the midst of all this, to prepare for TV Turn Off, we'll be engaging in lifework that involves not watching television (for some students) for 2 days, others for 4 days and others (the very brave ones) for the whole entire week. The whole time students will be keeping journals, and everyday we'll be reporting back and talking about all the extra time they now have and how they are utilizing that time. We'll also be studying the centralization of media and the effects of media on consumerism...and of consumerism on sustainability.

It is quite a fascinating experiment. I'll be working on getting more teachers in Washington, DC to give their students the same "lifework" exercise. Hawah Washington, DC, USA