||[Jan. 18th, 2006|05:24 pm]
Gary Paul Libero
As I mentioned in the post before this, I’m reading a book called “Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television” by Jerry Mander. I’m down to the last argument and will probably finish it tonight or tomorrow.|
I came upon a passage that floored me. Mander draws out many obvious points about television, but it’s the obviousness of the truth that most people tend to overlook. That’s what is great about this book. Mander lays it out on the line and lets the reader decide for themselves if his arguments are valid. He’s not on a soapbox blabbering about how the American people should be throwing their TVs out windows, but he’s letting the reader know “this is what TV does to you, you decided what to do from here”.
Here’s the passage I came upon last night:
“In recent years there has emerged a very vocal group of outraged psychologists, educators and parents who speak of the urgent need to show positive behavior, such as loving, caring, sharing, and warmth, in television programs. They deplore the emphasis on “antisocial” behavior that is common on TV. Unfortunately these reformers are doomed to fail in their efforts because the medium is far better suited technically to expressing hate, fear, jealousy, winning, wanting and violence. These emotions suffer very little information loss when pushed through the coarse imagery of television. Like other gross personal expressions – hysteria, or ebullience, or the kind of one-dimensional joyfulness usually associated with some objective victory – the facial expressions and bodily movements of antisocial behavior are highly visible. Hate, anger, competitiveness are obvious broad-band feelings with broad-band expressions. Most of them can be well communicated through body movement. No detail is needed to get the point, and neither is any special talent on the part of the actor or director. They come through the filter of television with a minimum amount of information loss. The signal-to-noise ratio is effectively high.”
Did I mention this book was written in 1978?
I thought about this passage for hours and ended up on the couch, with Sarah, watching TV. I should say studying what was on TV. Everything was hateful. She watches (sigh) American Idol and, for what it’s worth, the best part of that show is the first few episodes where contestants are ridiculed after making complete jackasses out of themselves. It’s mildly funny, but why? It’s like witnessing a train wreck. And that’s the magic of TV.
It’s no secret that the nightly news is nothing but murder, AIDS, death, accidents, rape, bird flu, brush fires, car jackings, car bombs, car accidents, muggings, corporate and political corruption all followed by puppy dogs and ice cream the weekly weather report. What the fuck? It’s sickening.
The story of the minute, in case you missed, is some American female taken hostage by terrorists with a kill clock ticking down the last hours of her life.
Hate, fear, jealously, winning, wanting and violence…that’s the best string of words I’ve ever seen to describe the nightmare that is television.
If you have a few bucks to spend or a nearby library that might carry it, check out this book.
Plus, if you have a few minutes to spare, check this site out:
Eyes wide open,