Sapphire Sky

May 17, 2011

Turn it on again

Filed under: culture, entertainment — Anthony Biller @ 6:30 pm

Sometimes it’s difficult to appreciate something in which you’re completely immersed .  It may be trite but nonetheless true, a fish might not realize it’s wet.  I would suspect that to someone born and raised in North Korea, totalitarianism “feels” normal.  When an entire society is immersed and accepts something as a given, often that something avoids rigorous scrutiny. 

Television is ubiquitous, or to define it more broadly, electronic visual stimulation is everywhere and largely accepted.  From movies, to television, to video games, to the Internet and our PDAs, we’re increasingly becoming e-stimulation junkies.  Television and its progeny replace our needs and desires for meaningful thought, social engagements, civil duties and the critical thinking that should be attendant to each.  Our electronic cocoons become a cultural religion. Our entertainment binds us more than our religion, politics, or even our business needs.  The stimulation of visual entertainment has increasingly become an end unto itself, a consuming end.  As a result, each year we consume an ever-increasing amount of “screen time.”  See here.

In the April 18 edition of National Review, Ben Berger presents a cogent case that television and its kin may be the primary agent eating away at our social and political fabric.  Could it be that screen time eats Republics as well as grey matter?  Is electronic stimulation on such a scale of consumption a giant, mental parasite?   Could television be a primary agent in what so many of us recognize as fundamental societal decline? 

Television makes us fat, lazy, inattentive, unsociable, mistrustful, materialistic — and unhappy about all of that. It cheapens political discourse, weakens family ties, prevents face-to-face socializing, and exposes kids to sex and inures them to violence. Yet Americans can’t get enough. In 1950, just 9 percent of U.S. households owned a television; by 1960 it was 90 percent, and by the year 2000 TVs were just about everywhere. Now the average U.S. household has more TVs than people. 

Please read the rest at Ben Berger’s Tocqueville And the Tube

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