I have thought on making a thread on this matter for a while now. Yesterday I happened to watch an episode of South Park, which illustrates the
problem quite well and inspired me to make a topic on this matter.
When I was younger, I loved watching different documentaries. These were interesting, full of information - educational and entertaining at the same
When I click on the remote control to turn the TV nowadays, I just have to keep on clicking and switching for finding anything worth watching. Let me
demonstrate it :
Currently the shows that are on in the "education channels":
Animal Planet - My Cat from Hell
Discovery Channel - Storage Hunters
History Channel - Ancient Aliens
Discovery World - Danger Hunters
Discovery Science - Kings of Destruction
National Gepgraphic - Lords of War [Not historical, but some guys searching and buying old weapons...]
National Geographic Wild - The Croc Catchers
In one word entertainment, not education.
From learning about interesting scientific phenomenas, about different amazing places and cool animals, we gone to mind-numbing reality entertainment,
which might have certain piece of information inside (although, it is lucky to find something worthful) - when shows used to have information and
amazing sceneries at nearly every moment, now they have 90% of the time small talk without no actual information and the other part is something worth
putting in an action movie.
From more objective information, we have gone to more subjective one, where the shows concentrate on individuals and their subjective experience -
there used to be narrator, who was the hidden guy behind the scenes, now most shows seem to be focusing on the narrator - the star of the show - the
guy who goes around the world and does (or in some cases says) crazy stuff, whether it is trying to find some (compete for) antique items (gold),
running from (hunting) a grizzly bear (alligators), taking down (blowing up) trees/houses, connecting the imaginary dots (or just making up) or
surviving in Alaska
I do not say everything is not worth watching. Still there are some good shows, although the overall quality is far lower than what it used to be.
When there used be educational information given in more fun/interesting way, then now they are simply focusing on the drama/fun and leaving out the
I have never said this sentence in my life before, but in this case I miss the good old days, when I could turn on the TV and actually learn
edit on 4-11-2013 by Cabin because: (no reason given)
I agree, and I was about to go on a rant about using tv for education
But you're right. I too am an avid doco watcher, and they're rare these days on tv. I get the occasional thing on the alternative station here, SBS,
which caters to multicultural global world tv, movies, discussions.. they play reasonable docos at times.
But if I want anything interesting I have to find it. Download it, or find a dedicated proper documentary website.
you must remember, we're living in the goldfish era. No one has an atten
I've also been thinking about this for a few months now. I remember when I was growing up in the '90s all the educational channels were actually
educational. Now when you turn on the History Channel you see this doofus:
Nowadays it isn't about quality programming. It's about sensationalism, because sensationalism sells.
Yeah . . . now that the oligarchy is close to jumping overtly on the world stage with all their tyranny . . .
can't have all that educational stuff informing the serfs and slaves of too much.
Just distribute the Soma and keep em mesmerized by ignorant blather.
They're much easier to manipulate and manage that way.
Apart from the fact it's all still there, just not spoon fed to people.
If you really think about it, if you're leaving your intelligence up to a tv (as was my initial thought) then you've alreayd lost, and you can thank
no bogey man in a robe with a funny hat - or the illuminati. you can think your self.
So many people equate having to get off their bum as being deprived of important things.
like I say, goldfish generation... attention spans of 30 seco
Who cares about TV, it's a slow dying dinosaur these days ridden to death by marketing big knobs in suits. There's some great stuff now on YouTube
instead! (Although, how long these quality shows will remain free (as science should be) is anyones guess, but for now I get the kind of stuff
that interested me as a kid on demand.)
Check out all of these Channels for seriously great content! I'll put an example of each one, but urge you to visit their homepages, I keep showing
all the friends my kids bring home but they are so apathetic towards this stuff, but hopefully someone out there finds these and it sets them on a
course for a life in the sciences.
(The Prof Poliakoff is so addictive to watch and see his passion as they cover the entire periodic table, and that hair! He has the hair for it, its
Smarter Every Day
(Destin is a devoted father and producer of a wide range of whatever takes his scientific fancy)
(Same quality as Periodic Videos, also done on location at nottingham uni and around the world, but covers physics)
(Likable narrator is brilliant at what he does, normally something around geo-political areas, but can also be about anything awesome)
(Covering the universe, there's a great playlist of all the Messier objects out there! Nottingham uni again)
(Kind of like SmarterEveryDay - big range of subjects)
(Fast paced facts linked with a good dose of thought)
(If you need a confident nerd to keep you up to date with a wide range of topics, Hank is your man!)
Sadly, youtube can make finding some playlists a bit tricky, but the variety is out there still, just start with this group and you will be in the
right place. All these people are highly qualified and have such a passion to share that it's infectious. Hope someone finds something in that lot
edit on 4-11-2013 by Qumulys because: (no reason given)
edit on 4-11-2013 by Qumulys because: (no reason given)
I remember back in the 80s and 90s, when I lived in the city and everyone had the local cable, there were all kinds of educational documentaries on
stations like Discovery, History, etc.
In fact, I'd say there were many more knowledgeable people around because of that. My friend's older brother was a blue collar hillbilly type of guy
who dropped out of high school, but because of the high quality documentaries on cable and his interest in them, he was as well versed as a college
student, heck, maybe even a professor.
I haven't have the premium cable stations for a long time, but from what I've seen at my friend's house, it is just like you pointed out here and I
agree with what you have said. As for why? Ratings probably, but a dumber audience, by plan or by coincidence, is also a consideration.
Another 90's kid here, and yes, current "educational" TV is beyond abysmal by comparison. I grew up addicted to NOVA, especially (even they're not
as good as they used to be, though) There were a bunch of documentaries I loved that I can't remember the names of anymore that absolutely
cemented my love of astronomy & astrophysics (even if I still don't understand every last iota out there)
The nature documentaries used to be phenomenal, while now, it's like they don't even try. Although, I was recently very surprised with one on
Animal Planet that one of my kids wanted to watch, about various species in the SW deserts. They actually went that extra mile & she learned quite a
I watch just a few Cartoon Network shows now, and don't bother with the rest at all. If all the History channel is going to air is reality BS, I'm
watching Adventure Time instead, thanks. My brain might convulse a little, but not nearly as much as it does when "American Pickers" is on. And
don't get me started on Discovery channel, either. Damn worthless sell-outs.
This is why I urge all those interested to look into the groups I posted above. If anything new breaks, they are talking with the top professionals
in their field. Sure, the production is not 100% there, but it's honest because production doesn't get in the way as much. Although, they are
still fantastic quality still, perfectly watchable and approachable. Someone gets a nobel prize? Nottingham Uni will be making a video about it with
the excitement of a kid finding out he's getting a new brother.
And, I'm still dismayed to see a family out to eat even . . . everyone's texting or some such . . . a group of individuals who just happen to be
sitting at the same table eating the same meal . . . engaging in flashes, blips of relating to distant other individuals.
Reminds me of my assistant pastor and his wife and 2 teen sons. They were having a family home night sitting on the sofa watching a movie TOGETHER . .
. only NOT. They suddenly noticed how each of them were texting or viewing their tablets or whatever such.
It appears that culturally and perhaps individually . . . the FATHERLESS SOCIETY has consumed almost everyone . . . resulting in guarded snatches of
pseudo-relating; pseudo-attentiveness; pseudo-learning; pseudo-understanding . . . any capacity to focus is devoted to survival types of
issues--grasping for things, food, security vs relationship and learning for learning's sake.
edit on 4/11/2013 by BO XIAN because: left part out
I work at night and when I am not busy I have full access to cable. After I get my dose of stupidity from South Park and Family Guy I want to enjoy
some discussion and intelligence. What do I have to turn to? Pawn Stars...and a host of other crap that is on the so-called education channels.
Thank goodness for Netflix but sadly there is not a huge choice there either. So I guess I troll the net again or read a book. That's where I
I have fond memories as a child of watching Sir David Attenborough and the many ways his programmes inspired me to go to my local library and learn
more about natural history. His programmes were and still are to this day fascinating. No jumping around and doing crazy stuff with a loud voice
required! Unfortunately we live in an "entertainment" society and thus this is now reflected in the so called educational garbage that is spewed out
to pander to it.
To quote David Attenborough himself...
" I had a huge advantage when I started 50 years ago - my job was secure. I didn't have to promote myself. These days there's far more pressure to
make a mark, so the temptation is to make adventure television or personality shows. I hope the more didactic approach won't be lost."
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