Two nights ago, I was faced with a minor existential crisis: whether to watch the first Democratic debate or the latest episode of Scream Queens. I know, I know. Millennials get a bad wrap for their lack of involvement in politics. And I’m not helping by sharing that I’d rather watch a fictional horror comedy than tune in to see the next development in the future of our country’s leadership.
Politics matter to me. Without going into great depth, I have definitive opinions about gun control, human rights, and the economy. But I’m not sure I need to watch political candidates argue for two hours to consider myself involved.
Similar to an awards show or big televised sporting events, I’m perfectly content with reading a succinct recap the day after. I get all the major points without the time commitment. However, I felt guilty missing out on this moment. I felt it was my duty as an American citizen to watch the debate whether I wanted to or not.
But I tuned out after about 45 minutes. I satisfied my internal quota for live politics. And I didn’t feel I took anything major away from it that I couldn’t have read in the post mortem. I found myself wishing I’d watched Scream Queens instead. For some, I’m sure both shows were an equally bloody affair. But tuning out of reality for 60 minutes seemed more appealing than tuning in for 120.
I was left there wondering if this made me a bad person. I care about politics and current affairs. But I’d like to consume info at my own speed and come to my own conclusions. The debate format isn’t one that works for me. At first, I felt disappointed in myself for not wanting to watch. But I was ultimately okay with my decision and my instinct because one of the best parts of today’s media is the freedom to absorb and access info any way I choose.
The next time a political debate or pre-empted political programming comes around, I know what I’ll be watching. Bring on the faux drama Ryan Murphy!