Document Type


Publication Date



I watch TV, and sometimes quickly push the buttons on my remote, but don’t really surf. Mostly I wade—recognizing my limitations and lack of necessary zeal. Years ago, when a faculty colleague made a good-natured jibe about me as a coastal town “surfer boy,” I took no offense or effort to correct him. But the fact is, despite my great love of water, sand, and all things beachy, I have never, in the local parlance, actually “picked up the stick.” I’m convinced that the sport of surfing ocean waves, as opposed to surfing television channels, is an activity for only the athletic, practiced and very dedicated. As Los Angeles Times columnist Dan Neil writes, “ It takes years before anyone appears less than ridiculous. If you don’t believe me, seek out the pictures of hyper-jock Matthew McConaughey floundering in the shore break at Malibu.”


Originally published in FlowTV: A Critical Forum on Television and Media Culture, 2007.