To ingest an unhealthy amount of a substance. Or, if you are a different sort of fellow, the way to a more enjoyable life.

Historically, binging referred to excessive consumption of food or drink. In the modern era it's used to refer to the excessive consumption of just about anything. One binge shops and buys five hundred dollars worth of clothes one doesn't even want to wear or games one will never play. One watches twelve hours of TV in one day or plays Xbox for forty hours over a three day weekend. Any and all things can be binged but by far the most common usage at present refers to video streaming services.

Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc. have changed peoples viewing habits in pretty profound ways. Where we once had episodes doled out to us at a set time once a week the availability of the next episode right here and right now is too much of a siren song for many. In recent years series have changed to reflect that. Where once sitcoms had constant, unchanging status quo that persisted episode to episode with nary a speck of character development or continuity we now have sprawling multi-season epics which not only bring people in droves during their first airing but have that same pull for folks years or decades down the line. More over, there are a variety of shows created in the last couple of decades which you have missed all just a few clicks away. A-team, Quantum Leap, nigh infinite Simpsons episodes are all just there in chronological order waiting. Don't have plans this weekend? Why not watch an entire season of The Guardian or all of Firefly? You know you want to, it's not like wasting a few more hours of your life will be any worse than the countless hours wasted on normal television with its commercials and sitting through shows you barely cared about to get to the ones you did.

Binging can be a very good or very bad thing depending on perspective. I like getting media in big chunks. If I find a book I think is worth reading that tends to be what my free time goes towards until it's done. When I put something down it's often for good. That said I don't binge all of the time (internet usage aside, if we include reading stuff on the web I'm an unrepentant addict) so when I do it feels like tiny islands of self indulgence in a sea of banality. The status of hours long stretches of myopic fixation as unhealthy behavior is one that's likely to be argued long, long into the future.


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