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On Not Watching Television.

The first TV I remember watching was in Nannie's room in my grandparents' house in Westchester where my sisters and I stayed for a week each summer. Nannie, my great-grandmother, was dead, so her dark room scared me. I wouldn't sit on her tidy twin bed or look at the oil paintings on the walls, which were, I believed, the last pictures she'd seen. I sat on the floor and stared at The Munsters, which also frightened me, because I didn't understand that it was supposed to be funny.

I was there for the commercials, the origin stories of the breakfast cereals, the barrettes braided with ribbon, the Weeble Wobblesall the fetishized objects that seemed to come out of nowhere, blazing like comets onto my classmates' bodies and into their conversation. That nowhere, I'd begun to realizeI was 7 or 8 in Nannie's roomwas TV, shaper of desires, determiner of normalcy, the whisper below the sentence. I was there for the whisper.

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Author:Abel, Heather
Publication:Tablet Magazine
Date:Oct 10, 2018
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