"The 23rd Channel"

It was February when I was considering what I might write about for this first issue of 2003. We had just dug out from the area’s second biggest snowstorm in history. While I was snowed in, I had the TV on more than "usual." We certainly do watch a lot of TV, perhaps more than we realize.

Back in 1999, "Teenage Research Unlimited" reported the following teen activities in one week:

11 hours TV

10 hours radio

9 hours CD’s

8 hours friends

6 hours phone / sports / work

5 hours computer / Internet / dating / working out

4 hours chores / study

It would be interesting to see what an Amish teenager’s weekly hours would look like! And then there is the question of the quality of television programs. An Amishman was once asked why he didn’t have TV at home, at least for the educational programs. He said that little by little, they’d probably start watching other shows. It might take a couple generations, but they’d move on to cable TV, etc. With so much objectionable material available for viewing, he said it is probably better "just not to start."

That reminded me of a poem in a book titled CPS CAMPS that I had purchased at an Amish store. In the book, compiled by Moses Schlabach, this parody of the 23rd Psalm was added as "filler" on one of the pages. There was no author credited, so I suppose it was one of those things "making the rounds" at the time, much as we send stories back and forth over the Internet…

The 23rd Channel

The TV is my shepherd, I shall not want.

It makes me to lie down on the sofa.

It leads me away from the faith.

It leads me in the paths of violence for the sponsor’s sake

Yea, though I walk in the shadow of Christian responsibilities,

There will be no interruption, for the TV is with me;

Its cable and its remote control, they comfort me.

It prepares a commercial before me in the presence of my worldliness.

It anoints my head with humanism and consumerism.

My coveting runneth over.

Surely laziness and ignorance shall follow me all the days of my life,

And I shall dwell in the house watching TV forever.


Amish Country News Publisher's Message by Brad Igou (2003)