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I hate television.


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#31 vagansmom

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 08:52 PM

TV worries me, for the reason Kate B. states:

I hate TV because it drains people's energy and curiosity.


As a special ed teacher, here's my little rant on TV:

It's a receptive activity. The brain sits there and takes it all in. The brain doesn't get a chance to actively participate in an expressive way.

Humans think in pictures. When the pictures are constantly supplied to us, as in TV, we're denied the opportunity to make the pictures in our heads ourselves (as with books). When we don't make pictures inside our head, we don't comprehend well. So, yes, TV dumbs us down, but not in the way that people usually think.

I guess I shouldn't knock TV; it's probably my largest financial supporter. I tutor many kids in strategies that get them visualizing on their own. If they don't visualize, they won't be able to reason abstractly. It's a critical skill for academics and the ubiquity of TV is denying them the development of these skills.

Yes, audiences at performing arts events are using only the receptive centers of their brains. But they're not doing this day after day, night after night (no matter how much we WISH we could!) as with TV-watchers.

In the old days, when folks DID regularly attend performances of various kinds, they were also actively engaging their brains in creative arts. People sang together, people danced together - great ways to feed the expressive centers of our brains. Nowadays people watch TV together.

So we're becoming - pardon the expression - Dumb and Dumber.

#32 carbro

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 10:39 PM

I have always found it most rewarding when the performer does not tell (show) me what to think. I like to be shown what the performer thinks. Best (and rarest) of all, I like it when the performer makes me think and leads me to new insights. It's a subtle gift. I'm thinking mostly of ballet, but there are examples even on tv. That has been one of the joys of The West Wing and (I gather, as I have never seen it) The Sopranos. Well, perhaps in narrative forms the material as much as the interpreter is the spur to intellectual engagement. But tv is not always entirely passive.

#33 Kate B

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 12:56 AM

I know there are good things on TV - The West Wing and the Sopranos certainly, but also ER and the Simpsons or ballet or many other things. And I miss watching them.

I suppose what I don't like about TV is that it sucks people in, so as well as watching a programme I wanted to watch (like ER) I would also watch whatever was on for the two hours before it and for about an hour or so afterwards.

It is just since I have not had a TV I realise what a waste of time it was. I enjoy quality TV, but I am afraid to buy a TV now because I do things in the evenings instead, and I don't want to go back to watching four hours most nights!:)

The thing is, I have becomea self righteous ex-addict. It really upsets me when I go to my mother's house for dinner and she has the tv on when we eat! I tell her to turn it off!

#34 Hans

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 04:22 PM

I have to say I don't watch TV because so much of what's on bores me. When I do watch it, it's usually PBS, A&E, or the History Channel. Sometimes HGTV, and I admit I enjoy Will & Grace (I liked Seinfeld, too, when it was on:)). I watched every episode of the first American Idol because I was taking voice lessons and found it interesting to compare, but found the next edition (and all other "reality" shows) dull. Mostly I use the TV along with the VCR or DVD player for my ballet and opera videos, and sometimes the news, although I usually get my news from the Washington Post. Also, I hate the screen formats of news shows with all those columns and words running across the bottom of the screen. TV is a tremendous power that can be used for good, but it usually isn't. One problem is that you have to have cable to be able to see a lot of the good arts programs, but arts programs are so rare that it usually ends up being a waste of money.

Is it just me or is there a lot more drivel on TV these days? I remember being enthralled by Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock as a child, but I don't remember anything like the Power Puff Girls or Sponge Bob Square Pants. Maybe I just wasn't allowed to watch as much as other kids.

#35 carbro

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 05:18 PM

Perhaps deteriorating quality over time is indeed true. We had "Kukla, Fran and Ollie," by the brilliant puppeteer Burr Tilstrom (sp?), which I loved, and "Winky Dink." Winky Dink watchers could send away for a special kit that included (I presume -- never having gotten one) a cellophane pane for covering the tv screen, and children were encouraged to draw on the pane. What a clever way to teach toddlers drawing! Maybe my lack of said kit (and subsequent inability to draw on the tv when others my age did) explains my poor work in art class relative to my classmates. :confused:

On the other hand, we also had some pretty stupid stuff, stupider I'm sure than even Teletubbies and Barney.

#36 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 05:51 PM

Ha - I think the real point of Winky Dink was to blackmail parents into buying Winky Dink kits or deal with the "deprived" child who draws all over the screen anyway.

#37 carbro

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 06:11 PM

So the deprived kids grew into careers as graffiti artists, right? :mad: I wonder if that's how Keith Haring got his start.

#38 dirac

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 09:30 AM

The Teletubbies exert a strange hold over this viewer, but even without that I must defend them -- I don't think the program is dumb, only geared to the very, very young and their love of repetition. :mad:

#39 grace

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Posted 08 June 2003 - 06:05 PM

dirac, i too think there is more to teletubbies than meets the eye. (NOT saying that i watch it. but i have done, with a 2 year old...)

i am just posting to say that i find vagansmom's post to be most interesting, providing food for thought.

though i am inclined to think that TV-watching is NOT necessarily ENTIRELY passive, i can see what you are getting at, and if i didn't have anything else to think about today, i would certainly ponder a bit, on that worthwhile issue. thanks for your post. :D

#40 Pamela Moberg

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Posted 09 June 2003 - 02:26 PM

So many interesting posts and so many lucid and interesting views.
Someone said "the brain just sits there and you dont participate" or something to that effect. Sure enough, if you go to see a ballet performance you just sit there as well (if you are not on stage).
Well, thats hardly the problem. My own problem with TV is that the program makers insult my intelligence. That is to say, they do not give ME what I WANT. I totally disregard that other people might think the world of sitcoms and Big Brother or whatever it is called.
I have armed myself with satellite and program sheets, yet I must say there isnt much anywhere. But there is always something that interests just ME if I feel in the mood for watching TV.
We have to realize that every medium has its advantages and disadvantages. I love the Internet for BalletAlert and other art sites, but I hate it for all the junk mail I get. I love TV for the fine programs I see - last Saturday a very good bio on Billie Holiday on the Swedish network to mention just one example.
There is no need to be a snob about it, but I willingly admit that there are times when people might have called me one.
Openness of mind, choosing what you like, rejecting what does not interest you, that is probably the best idea.

#41 Hans

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Posted 10 June 2003 - 08:20 AM

Actually, I went to hear someone speak about the effect of media on children once, and he said that as we sat there listening to him, we were burning more calories than we would had we been watching TV. I suppose it depends to an extent on the program, though.


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