Jump to content


This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

I hate television.


  • Please log in to reply
40 replies to this topic

#16 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,263 posts

Posted 03 June 2003 - 10:37 AM

I agree with Ari. If people want to watch TV fine -- and the point that there's good pop art and bad high art has been made over and over on these forums in several contexts; same goes here. It's the relentlessness of it, and the assumption that if someone hums a few bars of a pop song, everyone will be able to sing the rest of it -- and the reverse snobbery. That if you say, "I'm reading the Divine Comedy" (I'm not, but just to give an example) the response is likely to be, "Well, la de dah" or something of that sort. This is the same attitude that stifles the drive of students not to succeed, mocking them for getting As.

The point is not what people like or dislike but the way pop culture in America has wormed its way into everything, leaving no nuclear free zone.

I'm editing to add: I don't think anyone is trying to put down someone who likes The Simpsons or (I think this is off the air; it used to be my example of the Death of Civilization) "Married with Children"). And of course, it's possible to watch and enjoy television and still watch and enjoy art.

My complaint -- and I think it's Ed's, and some others as well -- is having to live in a society where that IS the culture. It's not the counterculture anymore, or even pop culture. It's American culture. Every civilization gets the culture it deserves....... And I do fear that, like children brought up on Wonder Bread who will scorn either the finest French bread or peasant black bread because it's too tough and dry, as each succeeding generation becomes more blanketed by popular culture, and as the arts try to attract those people as audience members, fine art is going to become so diluted and coarse as to be meaningless. My plea is for some little corner of the society to be Not Pop Art.

#17 GWTW

GWTW

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 533 posts

Posted 03 June 2003 - 11:35 AM

1. I'm sensing an age divide here (but I'm willing to be proven wrong). Perhaps those of us who have TV references older than us (as I said in my earlier post, I have these pre-birth memories of the Moon Landing) find the TV medium easier both to digest and to ignore and therefore it is less irritating and 'in your face' for us.
2. There is some excellent stuff on TV. You have to look hard for it but - Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an epic work of art (IMO and the 6th season has only just begun to be broadcast on Israeli cable TV), BBC's early '90s 2-season series 'This Life' was wonderful.
I don't think Sex and the City, Gilmore Girls, WEst Wing are on this level but they are well-crafted entertainment - I agree with Dale, why would watching them be any less 'worthy' than going to see a mainstraeam Hollywood movie...
3. A true confession - I didn't 'get' the reference to the Comic Book Guy:o

#18 Calliope

Calliope

    Gold Circle

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 805 posts

Posted 03 June 2003 - 11:41 AM

But isn't it pop(ular) culture?
What isn't nowadays? Botticelli's on mousepads, Pachebel's Canon is sampled in rap songs.

But each generation has it's own pop culture. In the 60's there was Archie Bunker and now there's Homer Simpson (there's actually websites dedicated to their similarities-which is a little much)
The turnaround of the pop culture is what's mind boggling. In the magazines that have "in, out and so gone" type articles.
Society seems to have a need to have to keep getting constant and new stimuli.
For me, I wish ballet would stop looking for the next Balanchine and focus on what we he is listed in the "so gone" column. But it's society's want/need for new & improved. Technology, cars, even classrooms. I don't know that kids are not getting A's because they feel peer pressure, but there's a pressure of being street smart and book smart. Some kids don't feel they have a choice between the two. Some prefer to be "stoopid smart"

#19 GWTW

GWTW

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 533 posts

Posted 03 June 2003 - 11:46 AM

Calliope, I didn't really understand what you meant about "stoopid smart". Can you clarify.

#20 Calliope

Calliope

    Gold Circle

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 805 posts

Posted 03 June 2003 - 11:53 AM

It's slang that kids use.

#21 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,263 posts

Posted 03 June 2003 - 12:32 PM

I think there's an age divide here -- although I know several people in their 20s who share my views on pop culture! -- and also a geographic one. I don't think Europe bathes in pop culture the way Americans do. The last time I was in Denmark, the TV doesn't even come on until evening. I saw a quiz show there once. It was a word game, between two players, who used legal pads and pencils. There was a moderator and a young girl with every Danish dictionary at her disposal to check entries. The winner got.....a handshake from his opponent and looked very happy about it. I think Leigh's right -- here, it's all about money and commercialism.

But I grew up in the '60s, and pop culture was not nearly as pervasive as it is now. One could easily ignore it. (I write as a Beatles fan; you had to dig through newspapers to find anything about pop music. Hah! The stars' love affairs were not on the evening news, but in movie magazines. Etc.)

I heard an interview with a Singapore pop singer about five years ago that sticks with me. He was vehemently anti-American. He was a classically trained musician (violin) who switched to pop music for two reasons. One, because he didn't want to play for small audiences -- he wanted to reach everybody. And two, because if people in Singapore, and other Asian countries, didn't try to create their own pop culture, they would be forced to always buy American culture, which, he felt was vile, and against Asian traditions. (He also thought the government should fund native pop culture and musicals rather than the traditional arts because "the old people will take care of them anyway.")

#22 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,263 posts

Posted 03 June 2003 - 12:46 PM

Just for fun, I went to Yahoo and looked up the local TV listings for Washington, D.C. Here they are. (For our non-American posters/readers to have a context for what we're talking about.)

I've been so out of it I've completely missed "Dog Eat Dog." I hope that's not literal, but ya never know. the numbers before the listings are the channels on my cable system, then they're in time order. If there are three listings it's 8, 9 and 10. If they're more, they're half-hour shows. Hope that makes sense. I guess TV 14 and TVPG are ratings -- (14 and up only, Parental Guidance). Channels 6, 8 and 13 are our PBS (public broadcasting) channels. Odd, they're not doing 2 hours of "Antique Roadshow," our usual fare, tonight.

4. Dog Eat Dog CC TVPG Miss Universe Pageant CC TV14

5 · FOX American Juniors Premiere CC Keen Eddie Premiere CC TV14 Fox 5 News at Ten

6 · PBS Globe Trekker CC Nova CC TVG P.O.V. CC

7 · ABC St. Jude Children's Research... According to Jim Repeat CC TVPG Less Than Perfect Repeat CC TVPG NYPD Blue Repeat CC TV14

8 · PBS The Chieftains: Down the Old... CC Michael Ball Live at the Roy... CC >>

9 · CBS AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Hero... CC TV14

10 · FOX American Juniors Premiere CC Keen Eddie Premiere CC TV14 News at 10 CC Sports Unlimited CC

11 · WB Gilmore Girls Repeat CC TVPG Smallville Repeat CC TV14 Will & Grace CC TVPG Just Shoot Me CC TVPG

12 · UPN America's Next Top Model Repeat CC TV14 America's Next Top Model CC Everybody Loves Raymond CC Dharma & Greg CC TVPG

13 · PBS Masterpiece Theatre CC BBC World News Dateline: Africa

15 · USA Bulletproof (1996) CC ® *+ JAG CC TVPG

16 · TBS << MLB Baseball CC (7:30) Seinfeld CC TVG

17 · CNBC Kudlow & Cramer CC Capital Report The News With Brian Williams CC >>

18 · CSPAN2 Public Affairs

21 · A&E Biography CC TVPG Cold Case Files CC TVPG

22 · DSC The New Detectives: Case Stu... CC TVPG Laci Peterson: Search for Ju... The FBI Files CC TVPG

25 · CNN Larry King Live CC NewsNight With Aaron Brown CC

26 · TNT Law & Order CC TV14 Law & Order CC TV14 Charmed CC

#23 Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 596 posts

Posted 03 June 2003 - 02:48 PM

I hope I did not sound like I was making a case that television is as important as Greek mythology. I actually watch very little, the exceptions being the Simpsons, Will & Grace, and the occasional interesting program on PBS. Sadly, to some, tv does serve as "art," and that's what I was pointing out. People become absorbed by anything easily accessible and easily understandable to them and miss out on "real art." If anyone is vexed by how influencial pop culture is today, it's me. Once I heard a student at my school claim her dad was so old-fashioned that he listened to classical music on the radio (ummm, doesn't exactly qualify someone as being "old-fashioned"); in another similar instance, my friend overheard a group of teenagers saying no one their age would listen to classical, and if there were, they would be shocked (ha! girl standing in front of you in line). It makes us angry at times, not because they're mocking people like us, but that they could be so lowbrow.

What's funny is that pop culture partially turned me on to the arts. Watching the movie "Selena" prompted me to take dance lessons, and the tv show "Hercules" and "Xena" sparked my fascination for Greek myths and Greek culture. However, the turning point was attending my first live theater performance, "Ragtime," on a 6th grade school trip. Thank God for that, because I certainly would not be the same person I am today (jeez, that sounds cheesy) since I had not grown up in an environment rich in art.

#24 Ed Waffle

Ed Waffle

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 493 posts

Posted 03 June 2003 - 03:16 PM

My original thought was that I hate television, written specifically in response to a post that referenced a review that referenced the Simpsons, which I now know is not a cartoon family but a animated sitcom. But it was purely a personal reaction.


GWTW wrote:

 I agree that you can't call someone well-educated (in the Western, dead white male sense) without that person being familiar with the Greek myths


As Western white male who will be dead soon enough, I am not unhappy with that definition of well educated or cultured. It is narrow and excludes most of the world’s population, but it will have to work for me.


Calliope wrote:

If it weren't for it, I might not have read half of "Oprah's" books, knew what people were talking about when they referred to "Soup Nazi", or learned that you really can't see the Great Wall of China from space.

I admit to watching must see TV


I don’t know if I have read any of Oprah’s books, although I have seen some of them stickered as such in bookstores. I didn’t know what people were talking about when the referred to “Soup Nazi” and still don’t. I am no worse off for it, although I am disgusted with the use of the term “Nazi” in an offhand way.

Regarding must see TV: For me, it remains wars and rumors of war. Plus a few very special events, like Ladies Figure Skating at the Olympic Winter Games, just about any track and field competition at the Summer Games and the Women’s World Cup in soccer. Each of them every four years.


Dale wrote:

Why is it more exalted to sit in a movie theater for 90 minutes-2 hours and stare at a screen, but to do it at home with the TV and you're considered witless?


This is a false dichotomy. I don’t go to many movies and I certainly don’t feel exalted when I do. I generally leave before movies are over—sometimes long before. And I certainly don’t consider people who watch TV, especially those who can write about it so articulately on this forum, to be “witless”. It just isn’t for me, nor will it be.


GWTW wrote:

I'm sensing an age divide here


Very likely, at least as far as I am concerned. There are lots of age divides. When I was an undergraduate at a not particularly distinguished Midwestern university, one needed to have taken separate courses in Chaucer, Shakespeare and Milton, in addition to the regular surveys and genre classes, in order to get a bachelor’s degree. I am not sure if one even needs to have read those authors to get into graduate school in English now—or perhaps to get an advanced degree.

#25 Kate B

Kate B

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 155 posts

Posted 04 June 2003 - 01:36 AM

Ed, I agree with most of what you're saying. It is true that you should not have to know about Greek myths to be considered 'well educated' but to gain a degree in English one would expect to have had to have read at least Shakespeare et al. This, as far as I am aware is still the case at most universities.

And it is not fair to people who choose not to watch television when there is a casual reference to a catchphrase or personality in other forms of the mainstream media. It also makes more 'highbrow' publications seem to be 'dumbing down' when they do it too.

But in culture people are always excluded in one way or another. I'm not in the least interested in football, opera or poetry, but when my newspaper uses a 'well-known' sporting personality or poem to prove a point or make a comparison this is generally meaningless to me. The same goes for when a level of historical or geographical knowledge is assumed in an article. We well-educated people (I'm not sure WHAT is meant by the 'dead, white male' sense of the phrase) exclude less educated people with our language and our interests. And it is often not their fault if they don't know things.

When people are excluded in these varying ways, two things can be blamed. Either, like me and poetry and sports and tv, people are not interested or lazy in various things or they have never been given the opportunity to find out that there is an enormous range of knowledge and opportunity beyond what is offered by Fox and AOL and whatever other network they are watching. It is up to free thinking people to remember this when they make statements and generalisations about what makes someone 'well-educated'.

Anyway, the other thing is, I think in Europe, it might be easier for us to 'bathe in pop culture' and then talk about something else! I don't know why this should be, but I know amongst my friends the conversations range from what is happening on 'Big Brother' on TV to the state of the world to who was the greatest French novelist of the 19th century to the demise of Britart to what is number one in the charts and which popstars are going out with who!

I hate TV because it drains people's energy and curiosity. A lot of stuff on TV is terrible. And even the good stuff can be bad if people don't realise that it is only one person's - or one network's - opinion of events.

#26 Farrell Fan

Farrell Fan

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,930 posts

Posted 04 June 2003 - 08:36 AM

The mention of Oprah's books is interesting to me because one of them was the novel "The Corrections," by Jonathan Franzen. This brought him more attention and sales that he ever would have gotten otherwise. But he was unhappy and disavowed the endorsement, apparently because he felt he'd written literature and Oprah's recommendations were strictly pop fiction. He also seemed to be saying that anybody who is influenced by a television personality was unworthy of reading his elevated prose. I think "The Corrections" is a pretty good book, but its author is a misguided snob.

#27 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,533 posts

Posted 04 June 2003 - 09:12 AM

Franzen did make a fool of himself in several interesting ways in l'affaire Oprah. He should either have had the nerve to tell Winfrey that he was withdrawing his book for consideration, or done the polite thing and thanked her graciously for her selection. As it was, he made a pretty spectacular mess of it and was most insulting to Winfrey, who was trying to do him a major favor. I understand what he was getting at, but those are issues you wrestle with in private and then make your decision -- you don't make a big public display of ambivalence.


Sorry, back to the topic. :D

#28 Calliope

Calliope

    Gold Circle

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 805 posts

Posted 04 June 2003 - 10:01 AM

But what Oprah did was give some people who might not have picked up a book like "The Corrections" b/c the couldn't get past the first chapter or thought it was a "smart" read and they couldn't do it, I admit to this phobia with some classics, so I'm glad Oprah is bringing back her book club with The Classics to be read.
It's actually a nice joining of culture and pop culture. Even if some of the literature isn't exactly lofty.

#29 Watermill

Watermill

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 347 posts

Posted 04 June 2003 - 05:13 PM

From a Laura Jacobs critique of Twyla Tharp in The New Criterion:

"The late critic David Daniel, when he could be dragged to the theater to see something new (or was told over the phone about a recent dubious effort), loved to purr ominously, 'it’s the end of civilization as we know it.' Pushed for analysis, he fixed on the television screen as the great reductive force in American culture. There it was, shaped like a stage—a box—but without any depth or life, in fact, a vacuum. It was insanely quixotic, commercial breaks every five minutes. And most damaging, instead of being larger than life, scaled for wonder, it was very much smaller. To the teat of television, we can add the quick addictions of the computer—video games, the internet, virtual this and that. The 'extreme sports' that a tiny minority of Americans engage in (and the rest watch on TV) are the antidotal flip side to the extreme slouch of the couch potato and the computer junkie, sedentary sensibilities happy to gaze (or glaze) upon a depthless screen making synthetic sounds. As my best friend with two sons says, 'it’s a battle to keep your kids in three dimensions.' "

Though taken out of context (apologies to Ms. Jacobs), I thought it pertained pretty well.
Personally, my TV doubles as teat and telescope, depending on my needs. I almost never watch ABCNBCCBSWBFOXUPN networks.

#30 Ed Waffle

Ed Waffle

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 493 posts

Posted 04 June 2003 - 06:53 PM

I think Franzen came to his senses when he heard that his publisher was deciding how to dispose of Franzen's body after the hit. Getting wierd with someone with the power of Oprah Winfrey is insane. And especially since (as I have been informed by a number of people over the past day) Winfrey does a great job of promoting a book and has done wonders for authors.

I would think the Ms. Winfrey has to employ a few editorial assistants spend full days reading books that come to her from publishers in order to create a list for her to chose from.

Since being picked by Winfrey as a book worth reading means the book will be a financial success anyone who would denigrate such a selection is an extremely odd duck.


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):