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Many critics compare television to a mind-altering drug.
While the medium has been greatly abused, it still has great potential that has not yet been realized.
Critics of television imagine a television viewer as one who sits entranced before a magic box, unable to turn away from the constantly changing images that entice, assault and stupefy.
Television is proclaimed to be a mind-altering drug, one that leads to isolation and depression; it is a killer of time and creativity; it is obnoxious, sensationalist, violent; it is a vast wasteland.
Yet in its early years, television was looked upon with awe. It represented the dream of the creation of a marvelous tool for communication. Television would serve as an educational medium, so some thought; through it, viewers would be transported to distant lands, to the cutting edge of scientific research, and to the stages of Broadway.
Needless to say, the early twentieth century visionaries had no idea of what television would become at twentieth century's end. Modern day critics of television have been correct in their assessment of how the medium of television has been abused. But the answer to the problem of modern day television, according to many, is to "turn it off".
This is, at times, an appropriate response, but it can not be the only response. The fact remains that television still is a marvel, and the visions from the early twentieth century are as yet unrealized. The problems associated with modern television are real. But the problems involve more than the television medium; the problems are complex, intertwined with other problems that plague modern society.
A writer responded to a recent report concerning a parallel between Internet use and heightened feelings of isolation and depression. The writer remarked that other modern inventions should share the blame; even the automobile contributes its share of isolation. The passenger is shielded from face-to-face contact with other travelers, cocooned in a temperature controlled environment, caressed (or bombarded) by music emanating from the stereo.
So it is with other modern inventions; the telephone, airplane, personal computer, and many other devices. The convenience that they offer is not without a cost, and the cost is not often realized until many years after the device has been absorbed into society's everyday routine.
The story of modern television is a tale of excess.
If the excesses were restrained, could television become a useful device, one that actually benefits society? Could television become a device that communicates and educates, instead of one that violates and enslaves?
Originally posted by TheLily
Many of my friends CAN'T miss their weekly soaps/big brother/Britains got talent/decorating program/fashion program blah blah blah and i find their day to day chat is often centred around whatever they watched last night or are about to watch tonight and is so boring.