To kick off the week-long celebration of the tenth anniversary of Television Obscurities, I’d like to share a little about myself. It seems like the perfect opportunity to do so. I’ve long avoided the subject of who I am by simply not bringing it up. That’s worked pretty well. But after a decade it feels like maybe I could stand to open up a little bit.
My name is Robert and I love television. I love watching television, reading about television and writing about television. This should not come as a surprise to anyone.
But this might: I was born in the mid-1980s and am currently in my late twenties. That means the vast majority of the shows I write about were originally aired decades before I was born. In fact, by my count only five of the shows I’ve written in-depth articles about were originally on the air during my lifetime. Of those, there’s only one that I actually watched.
I was in high school when I started Television Obscurities. I have since finished college and graduate school. Believe it or not, I wrote a college application essay about The New People. And I got in to that college.
At first, the reason I maintained a veil of secrecy about my identify was due to the fact that I was under 18 and that was the smart thing to do online (at least it was back in the late 1990s when I started going online and creating websites). As the years went by it was just easier to continue not talking about myself. Occasionally I would get e-mails from people asking for my name because they wanted to cite an article or a post I had written. And once or twice people have wanted a name to put with the anonymous face behind Television Obscurities.
What always worried me and what kept me from revealing anything about myself after I turned 18 and was an adult and it was safe to do so on the Internet, was the thought that people would learn how old I was and discount everything I had to say. How could someone who wasn’t even alive in the 1950s write intelligently about television in the 1950s? I had no expertise, qualifications or authority to offer.
Friends and family insist this is an irrational fear. After all, historians routinely write about events that happened decades or even centuries in the past. Nobody researching the Civil War today, for example, actually lived through it and yet new books and documentaries continue to be released.
I would like to think that I have shown that I am fairly knowledgeable about certain television shows that went off the air long before I was born, either from viewing episodes or doing extensive research, as well as some aspects of television history in general. I may not have personally watched network television develop over the course of decades but I’ve read an awful lot about it. And I’ve tried to educate myself the best way possible: by watching lots and lots of TV.
So there you have it. Be sure to check back later today for a look at my personal favorite obscurities. Starting tomorrow I’ll be delving into the history of Television Obscurities and later this week I’ll be previewing new monthly columns. And every night this week at 8PM I’ll be posting an interesting or unusual promotional spot to the Video Vault.