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Does television nourish our minds -- the view from my soapbox

Discussion in 'The OT' started by Nick, Apr 1, 2004.

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  1. Apr 1, 2004 #1 of 19
    Nick

    Nick Retired, part-time PITA DBSTalk Club

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    The...
    <rant>

    :soapbox:

    There is a thread in 'General Discussion' on the topic of 'ala carte' programming choices. Reading that circular thread is a little like watching a bunch of people participating in group masturbation, in that everyone is discussing in excruciating detail how they should be able to choose only those channels they want to watch, to the abandonment of all others. The thread has wandered away from reality, and well beyond the farside of the twilight zone.

    If you've followed the thread, you may have noticed that some of the terms being bandied about, "ala carte", "buffet" and "cafeteria", are related to one of America's favorite things - food. Is there a subliminal connection here? Does tv feed us? It certainly doesn't nourish us. Like a steady diet of Twinkies and Coke, excessive tv viewing tends to make Americans fat and lazy, not to mention making some of us socially inept. The author of this rant is living proof of that.

    Whether we ever get the option of choosing just those channels we actually want, or are forever forced to take 'grab-bag' or 'mystery gift' programming packages ad infinitum, there are two things we should keep in mind - it's only tv, and there are much more important things in life that deserve our time and attention. I'm willing to bet that much of what you and your family see on tv doesn't even come close to reflecting the values you try to instill in your family and uphold in your own life.

    Who was it that said "TV is the opiate of the masses"? I remember Newton Minow, once head of the FCC, perhaps said it best when he described television as a "vast wasteland'¹. John Lennon once observed that "Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans". Life is also what happens while you’re watching television.

    It was Groucho Marx who said... "I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book." Larry Peter observed "Television has changed the American child from an irresistable force to an immovable object."

    Honestly, now, do we really benefit from watching the boob tube? How much better would our lives be if we put just half the time we spend in front of the electronic babysitter to other and more productive uses. Watching television doesn’t even contribute to physical fitness, since it requires only slightly more energy than being dead.

    Speaking of dead, no one has ever died wishing he had watched more television.

    </rant>

    ¹ Excerpted from Newton Minow's speech to the National Association of Broadcasters on May 9, 1961. "But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite you to sit down in front of your television set when your station goes on the air and stay there without a book, magazine, newspaper, profit and-loss sheet or rating book to distract you--and keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that you will observe a vast wasteland."
     
  2. Apr 1, 2004 #2 of 19
    FritzM

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    I realized some years ago that trash entertainment is just that, trash. Doesn't matter which medium. Trashy murder mystery novels are still trash. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I like trashy entertainment as much as the next guy. The older I get the less patient I get with artsy-fartsy "entertainment." Be it real good movies, books, music events, etc. I don't want to work at it, I just want to be entertained.

    Before mass media, all the stuff that now passes for art was just entertainment for the masses. Long winded symphonies were not art, they were a way to kill an afternoon. Shakespeare's plays appealed to the masses, not just the English majors.

    However, I'm not a big fan of Adam Sandler, Jennifer Lopez, Jim Carey, or any of the other "mindless" movie participants.
     
  3. Apr 1, 2004 #3 of 19
    Nick

    Nick Retired, part-time PITA DBSTalk Club

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    Fritz, I noticed your location is near Normal, IL. Just how near Normal are you? :goofygrin
     
  4. Apr 1, 2004 #4 of 19
    FritzM

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    About 2 miles. Bloomington actually.
     
  5. Apr 1, 2004 #5 of 19
    RichW

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    Nick, a lot of what you say has merit, but TV can and does nourish people as well as opiate them. I grew up fascinated with TV. I was entertained by it, but I also was inculcated with certain values. The 50s cowboys like Hopalong Cassidy, The Lone Ranger, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers epitomized the struggle between the bad and good guys. Saturday programs like "Watch Mr. Wizard" taught me about science and piqued my curiousity. Later, in the 60's the Norman Lear sitcoms exposed my prejudices and help me eliminate some of them by laughing them away, you meathead! Today, the wonderful world of cable/DBS brings me hundreds of channel. Yep, it is a buffet. Some of it feeds the mind. Some of it is purient. Some of it is simply entertainment to rest and refresh by, and some is pure garbage. I read books, I listen to radio, and I watch TV. I surf the Internet. All of it adds dimension to my life (and to my waistline).
    I feel that TV contributes to a lot of the knowledge I have and the values I hold dear.

    However, I also attend about two social functions a week and am involved in several community projects. Also, I don't watch a lot of sports on TV and that alone saves me a bunch of time. Easier and faster simply to wait for the final scores on the news.

    Thus, I think that TV watching like just about any other human activity is positive if done with selectivity and moderation. As for TV versus books, it again becomes a matter of content. Certainly watching a National Geographic program is more worthwhile than reading a trashy novel.
     
  6. Apr 1, 2004 #6 of 19
    Chris Blount

    Chris Blount Creator of DBSTalk Staff Member Administrator DBSTalk Gold Club

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    That is so funny Nick. I was thinking the exact same thing this morning. It makes me wonder if TV should just be completely banned from everyone under the age of 18. Much of it is trash and whether people like it or not, it DOES have an affect on our younger folks.

    The best things to come along is the DVR. I find I watch much less TV. I love being able to filter out the crap which is very empowering. Keeps me in control of how I spend my time.

    What is really disturbing to me though is how our society is slowing becoming the next Sodom and Gomorrah (if we're not there already). Sooner or later, we will fall and I can see everyone with their hands up going, "What happened???".
     
  7. Apr 1, 2004 #7 of 19
    Geronimo

    Geronimo Native American Potentate DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Now we have threads about threads.
     
  8. Apr 1, 2004 #8 of 19
    Strong

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    Good topic and interesting thoughts. I have to be in the minority on this board and this country cause I "just don't get TV". When I was a kid, I loved all of the sit-coms (I'm from the Beverly Hillbillies era). But as I get older, virtually none of the fictional show or so called reality shows on TV interests me. I'm in wonderment when I see adults being glued to the set each week to watch fiction, soap operas, reality etc. I install D* for a living and I've seen adults literally weep if I have to disconnect their cable while Survivor is on or god help me if I'm there during the day time soaps.

    My TV watching is limited to about 2-3 hours a week of mindless surfing with ocasional stops at Court TV or a Discovery Channel type non-fiction show. I will watch some sports if I'm really bored, but the commercials and hype usualy make me turn them off after a few minutes.

    I can't really think of any close friends that are TV addicts so I guess I tend to befriend folks that have similar mindsets. We may get together to watch sports but to me its more for the beer and food than the game. A friend that has Playboy TV usually always has it on for background entertainment but to me its just kind of silly watching dizzy women with fake boobs bounce around.
     
  9. Apr 1, 2004 #9 of 19
    RichW

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    How so, Chris? Certainly as a society we are probably more selfish and less caring than the previous generation. But we are also more tolerant and certainly more diverse. I just read in my AARP magazine where only about 4 percent of the folks in the 50s felt that inter-racial marriage was OK. The hippie generation liberated us from some of our prejudices, even though it immersed us into a drug culture. Throughout history, critics have claimed just about every generation was the next Sodom.

    Me? I work with kids just about every day. I see the goodness in them as well as the foibles. We are no closer to meltdown than we were a hundred years ago. In many respects, we are further away from disintegration.

    Ragtime, jazz, rock & roll, heavy metal, rap, and hip-hop have all been decried as perversion in their time. Yet the sky has not fallen. The good stuff will survive as classic while the crap will disappear into oblivion. Its all a metter of selection.
     
  10. thebigjp

    thebigjp the 337's finest DBSTalk Gold Club

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    many points here.:

    1.) If you think TV is so much trash then:
    a.) why do you run a site about TV (DBS SAT=SAT TV)
    b.) why do you allow members under 18 (you got me as a member at 17)

    2.) You're right TV does have an effect on younger folk. Younger folk are standing up more for the issues they believe in today, then before, what do you want to happen, Chris, America to be a place with 300 MIL people with out opinions.

    3.) TV helps people explore who they are and what they beleive by seeing other people just like them.

    and last but not least...

    4.) What would life be without watching "The Golden Girls" everyday...
     
  11. DarrellP

    DarrellP Hall Of Fame

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    Nick, I have a home theater that makes the local Cineplex look like Dish TV, a surround system that rocks the couch and rattles the rafters, I have Dish HD, VOOM, PlayboyHD and OTA HD, a DVD collection of over 200 disks and an assortment of DVHS HD tapes and how much do I watch in a day? If I'm lucky, about 1 hour on average. With all this high tech new fangled gear that I have, there's just too much more to life than the boob tube (how true that has become with PlayboyHD, speaking of circle jerks).

    With Summer coming, I doubt I will get more than a few hours a week in. There is just too much to do (sniff the flowers, the fresh scent of fresh baked bread, bicycle seats, you know?). I always make sure I put in an hour of exercise everyday and getting my things in order before I plop my ass down in front of the tube. To me, TV is the biggest waste of time ever created, after the Internet ;-) .

    I'm an old fart like you, Nick, I turn 52 in June but I don't look any older than about 42. People are always amazed when they learn my age and I didn't get looking this way by watching TV (yes, it's all natural).

    I would like to order a la carte as well, but let's face it, our rates are going to be cheaper under the packages than they would be a la carte. I used to have the Dish Pix a few years ago and I payed $15 for the priviledge of choosing 10 channels out of a paltry choice of about 25 channels. For another $4.99, at the time, I could get the base package Dish had then (Top 50 I think). The only advantage to Dish Pix is that they had a few channels that were only offered in a higher tier, so I gave up some garbage for some Gold, that was the trade off.

    I don't know where I'm going with this so I'll stop now.
     
  12. Bogy

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    Chris, at least in one way you are right that TV has turned us into Sodom and Gomorrah because their sin was the sin of not caring for each other, the sin of not showing hospitality. They were only concerned about themselves. All kinds of organizations are dying these days because nobody wants to join. Service Clubs, Fraternal Orders, Churches & others can't find new members because in many cases those potential members are home on the couch watching TV. They don't get involved in their communities, they don't know their neighbors, they don't know their kids for God's sake because the game or Survivor or something else is on and heaven forbid something interrupt the top priority of watching other people do something. Personally, I'm lucky if I'm home a couple of nights a week so watching TV is even an option.

    Ok, sermon over for now, probably more later. :D :sure:
     
  13. RichW

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    Bogy, I think the pendulum is swinging the other way now on fraternal organizations. Perhaps it is because of so many TV reruns these days, or perhaps it is because we are serving better food at our meetings, or perhaps attitudes toward service ARE changing.
     
  14. Stosh

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    Every generation says that; I don't know that it is any more true now than it was when our parents said the same thing about us (or than when our children will say it about their kid's generation).

    That statement is a bit contradictory. The hippie generation is now IN their 50's!

    There may be some reasons for this, though:

    1) Ex (or current) hippies don't join the AARP!

    2) People get more conservative as they age (who was it that said something like "Those in their 20's who aren't liberal have no hearts, and those in their 60's who aren't conservative have no heads"). After all, the hippies of the 1960's turned into the yuppies of the 1980's.

    3) The number of hippies and/or the amount of "liberation" that took place during the hippie era was grossly exaggerated.

    4) The AARP is fudging statistics to push their conservative agenda.

    I suspect #3 is probably most accurate (having been there, done that).

    I don't believe that any more than I believe that today's generation is more selfish than previous ones. Go back to the 1960's and early 1970's and see what was happening on college campuses (and elsewhere) regarding the Vietnam war and civil rights. Today's kids are less involved, from what I've seen. Hmmmm...maybe I was wrong about the hippie era!

    Oh-oh; I've never seen single episode of "The Golden Girls". Am I missing something in my life? :eek2:

    Yeah, but I don't doubt that some people hung on just a little longer so they could find out "who shot J.R."! :lol:

    Excellent essay, Nick; good food for thought, and I liked the quotes you threw in there. You did some research, huh?
     
  15. Bogy

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    Actually, the pendulum is swinging. While I believe there is good evidence that every generation is on the way to taking the world to wreck and ruin, there is also very good evidence that our society, since the 1600's has operated on a four generation cycle. The lines of division between the generations vary between researchers and sociologists, but the evidence is that young people from their early 20's down to elementary school (and younger) are going to once again be a generation of joiners and builders. This generation will follow in the pattern of the GI/WW2 generation. That generation's attributes were accentuated by the Depression of the 30's and WW2, but these events did not make them what they were, they only made them more like what they would have been anyway. If organizations can hold out for another 10 years or so they will find many new members ready to join. Many pastors besides myself can tell you stories about how elementary school kids have given their unchurched parents a choice, "Are you going to church with me, or do I have to go alone?"
     
  16. JM Anthony

    JM Anthony Child of the 60's DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Got to disagree with you on these two points, at least as far as I'm concerned. I've found that as I've grown older, I've stayed every bit as liberal as I was in the 60's and I'm now closing in on 60! Still attend every Peter, Paul, and Mary concert that I can and know most of the lyrics by heart. I'm also a card carrying member of the AARP (as well as ACLU) but that's just 'cause I'm cheap and like the discounts.
     
  17. Bogy

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    I keep getting more liberal as the years roll by.
     
  18. JM Anthony

    JM Anthony Child of the 60's DBSTalk Gold Club

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    I'm in the "moderation or bust" crowd (and make that a 36 DD please). But seriously anything more than a couple of hours of TV a day makes me rummy. My kids are even getting more selective in how much time they watch. Course, when they're not watching TV, they are in the computer room studying. :lol:
     
  19. Stosh

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    I didn't mean to imply that I agreed with these points, I was just throwing them out as possible explanations as to why the hippie generation appears to be so against interracial marriage. Actually, I tend to disbelieve the statistics as presented by the AARP. I'd like to see other studies that may have touched on the same subject.

    I'd like to think that age has made me wiser (whether that is true or not is open to debate!). But as to whether that has made me more "liberal" or more
    "conservative", well, I don't affiliate myself with either designation. I judge each subject on it's own, and may be considered liberal on some, and conservative on others. Of course, such "judgements" depend on where in the spectrum the judge lies, so they aren't meaningful, either. Both terms have come to be too charged with emotional implications for me. Of course, that is the fault of [left/right] [Republicans/Democrats] [Rush Limbaugh/Al Franken].
     
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