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Long Island, N.Y. — 1974

I'm 14, learning to hang out and be bad with my friends, and starting to date boys. After 14 years of sitting in my playroom with Mommy and Dad, in front of television, I decided to break free. But I find it hard to resist the familiar. It's my first real experience of fighting an addiction. And I win.

Waltham, Mass. — 1985

When I go away for a weekend, my old man goes out and buys a 14" t.v. Yet another sign of our disconnectedness, it makes me nauseous. But at least it's only black and white.

Baltimore, Maryland — 1989

With the first significant chunk of money we earn by getting engaged, Russell and I by our first VCR. Over the past few years, our friends have given us a dozen or so really entertaining political and art videos, and now we can watch them at home and have wild propaganda parties to delight and subvert friends and colleagues.

Though neither of us has ever bought a television set, people have given Russell broken TV's because he can fix almost anything. We build a pile of flickering screens, of all shapes and colors, as the heart and hearth of our Media Room, next to our extraordinary collection of audio equipment, records and tapes. An anarchist megaplex.

Newton, Mass. — 1996

Last year, Russell set up a microwave link between our bedroom, where the VCR's are, and our living room, where we have video parties, though there's only one TV there. For more serious viewings, we bring people up to the bedroom, where there are two screens. There's also a video monitor in the Computer Room, which is essential when we work on updating the database catalog of our video library.

There's always something on. More often than not, it's C-SPAN. Thorough our pirated cable link, we get a pretty good selection, Comedy central is scrambled, so we have to find other ways of taping Mystery Science Theater 3000. Sometimes I get a kick out of the cooking shows, or Nick at Nite. Russell likes X-Files. And sometimes I wonder if Hillary would be more popular if she wore softer dresses and grew her hair a little longer.

 
 
 

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