We're presented with an interesting conundrum this fine afternoon. Exhibit A: A new study says unhappy people watch more TV. Exhibit B: People dealing with the switch from analogue to digital TV are probably the most unhappy TV watchers on the planet right now, next to anyone who's been hoodwinked by the HDTV department at Best Buy. There was even a NASCAR wreck this week because of digital TV. So, if we use the powerful forces of logic on this little puzzle, we can deduce that the digital switch is making analogue TV owners unhappy, which makes them want to watch more TV, which they soon will be unable to do because the signal is about to get cut off. There have been wars started for less, so we anticipate come February 2009, the world is going to end, three years earlier that predicted. Take THAT, Mayans!
The 30-year study, published by the fine folks at the University of Maryland, also discovered that people who read and socialise well are happier on average, and watch watch less TV. This is actually in line with my own research findings, The Jack Loftus Method, which found people are generally happier when having sex with other people, and not their television screens.
And finally, from the Duh! department, comes this gem from Maryland researcher and sociologist John Robinson:
"TV doesn't really seem to satisfy people over the long haul the way that social involvement or reading a newspaper does," said Robinson, who was also the study co-author. "It's more passive and may provide escape - especially when the news is as depressing as the economy itself. The data suggest to us that the TV habit may offer short-run pleasure at the expense of long-term malaise."
Unless, of course, you're watching porn. Then we all win. [University of Maryland]