Sunday, May 07, 2006

The "Idiot Box"

Sometime last year, I caught a speech by Michael Medved on C-SPAN (yes, I watch C-SPAN from time to time!) dealing with the subject of television. His main point was that television destroys the foundation of civilization, particularly the pillars of civilized society.

He offers four specific pillars:
  1. Patience and Perseverance - Television constantly tells us that we must have what we want right now, which destroys the virtue of delayed gratification. Problems are always solved in 21 or 42 minutes (when commercial time is removed). Attention spans have been destroyed.
  2. Self-Confidence & Optimism - The message of televison is one of powerlessness, self-pity, and negativity. This is one of the reasons that good news isn't considered legitimate news. Dennis Prager says that "TV gives you a proctologists view of America." This has helped to make whining and self-pity national pasttimes.
  3. Family & Community - Television has severely damaged group gatherings like churches, bowling leagues, neighborhoods, fraternal orders, etc. Marriage and family are especially harmed.
  4. The Courage to Be Different - Television tends to homogenize (to make us all fit into the same mold) rather than encourage individuality.

(These are my notes on the Michael's speech, therefore any fault in representing his thoughts are mine and not his.)

I appreciate Michael because he goes beyond the slogans and gets to the deeper matters of a subject. This may help give some answers to the question, "Is television a bad thing?" If we think it is, we ought to be able to give an answer that's more thought-out than "I just don't like it, therefore it's wrong."

What do you think of Medved's comments? Is he right, wrong, or a mix of both?


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