Television… I really don’t understand what’s so special about it. It is always linear, only it’s broken up into 5 minute segments to promote further degradation of attention spans of impressionable children (and adults), and in these 30 minute to an hour (20-40 minutes of content) you can get about as much character depth in as you can in a single page of a book. About as much mental stimulation as you can get from watching paint dry (less probably).
I turned on the television today, for the first time over spring break, and searched. (cue cliche) Over 500 channels, and nothing is interesting . It is all things I could have thought of myself, usually I could have thought of something better, and even my old Discovery and History channel(s) (yes there are many of each now) have nothing more than explosions and mythbusters on all day. I passed my father watching a documentary on Pearl Harbor the other day, and there were more flashing lights and sound effects and animations than in a movie! Not that that in particular is bad, it does make history appeal to the general population much more, but it also degrades the quality of the information significantly (at least it seems so to me, i would like to see a real comparison between that and an older version of the same). It also gave me a headache because I couldn’t read the words on the screen. But that also could have been that I wasn’t wearing my glasses, but not the point. And about Mythbusters, their methods really make me upset a lot of the time. The hosts of the show are former special effects specialists, not scientists, and a close watch on their actions certainly lets that show. What they do is not without entertainment value, but these men are portrayed as authorities on any subject they analyze, and I don’t think they realize that that they are then responsible for the ideas of their viewers. A classic “with great power comes great responsibility” situation, where the responsibility for factual, right information and the advancement of science is shirked for entertainment, ratings, and advertising dollars. Sure, between the two of them they have 30 years of special effects experience, but they also have complete disregard for the scientific method…ugh.
Reading this article today made me upset also:
“Should Children have Television in their Bedroom?” I can tell you that right now, NO. A child should not have a television or computer in their own room. Not, at least, if you want them to ever listen to their parents again. Once you put a television in your child’s room, they will stay up late watching TV, and watching the programs you don’t want them to watch. They will fall asleep to the TV every night, with or without the “sleep function”, in the latter case destroying the quality of sleep and wasting energy. Even with the sleep function, people who think they fall asleep better to the TV are stupid. They don’t fall asleep better to the television, it is just that they have done it for so long because they can’t control their own pathetic lives and think they can’t sleep without it. Any sort of “screen time” (computer/TV) before bed DOES degrade your sleep, I shouldn’t even need to cite the dozens of studies supporting that (good thing too, because I need to get to bed, no time to do extra research on those now). It may not affect how quickly you fall asleep, but anyone who knows anything knows that in night sleep nothing but the other sleep states is important at all. When your kid does not sleep well they will be less responsive to learning, and less courteous to you and anyone else. Essentially, by putting a TV in your kid’s room you are causing society to get progressively worse
From the aforementioned article,
In a 2005 study in The Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, researchers looked at the television, computer and video game habits of almost 400 children in six Northern California schools for a year. About 70 percent of the children in the study had their own TV in the bedroom; they scored significantly and consistently lower on math, reading and language-arts tests. Students who said they had computers in their homes scored higher.
This should be obvious. Watching TV makes you stupid. Everyone should know this by now, yet they refuse to do anything about it. The reason computers may have a positive effect (or maybe they just don’t have a negative effect, the article does not specify) is because computers are tools. Televisions have NEVER been tools, and never will be. When you are on a computer, you are often on the internet, reading things, so at least your brain is active (i guess even myspace involves reading to some extent) and even the video games played today, they all require more involvement than TV. For that matter, just about everything is better than watching TV.
Here is another article I read a few days ago, from Wired Magazine, regarding Make magazine.
The article talks about how the spirit of creativity is gone in America today. What is left of it is groups of people who do these things fanatically, and are viewed as “weird” by the rest of this limp society. This should no be, these people are actually going out and where they can do things themselves, with their own hands, they do so. Instead of promoting the disposable society of waste, they build what would have been trash to so many others. These people are a part of those who are the last hope for us.
I saw in a school cafeteria the other day a sign denoting the “cafeteria rules.” These children are not allowed to get up from their seats without raising their hands, they must ask permission to go to the bathroom or to throw away their trash. No running, and “inside voices” must be used at all times. The latter are common sense. Don’t these parents teach their kids not to run indoors, or not to yell in the same place? Of course, these are young kids, and they are always hyper and loud nowadays, so we accept it as long as they are not hyper and loud around us. The former rules though were explained to me as being necessary because kids leave all of their trash and food at their seat, and actually had been running around the room previously. For these, I don’t know who to blame. The parents can’t possibly be expected to teach their children to clean up after themselves, or to be courteous to others, no no they are much too busy with their television. On the other hand, what the parents don’t teach them is partially the responsibility of the education system. The teachers, instead of getting everything done that needs to be done in a day, lumber along at a sloth’s pace so that every child in the room, no matter how uncaring, lazy, or stupid, can get the checkmark on their report card sent home. Otherwise, the teacher will get a call from said lazy child’s parents. “my child has been a ‘straight A student’ for years and if you don’t give my child an ‘A’ I will go to the school board and see you fired!” These parents, feeling a sense of accomplishment after this, proceed to set a good example to their children by drinking away their “troubles” from the workday, cursing at the television, either beating or divorcing their spouse, and sending the kid away to it’s own TV.
Here’s an idea: instead of putting a T.V. in your kid’s room, how about putting a library in there? Maybe someday the child will get curious, crack open one of those underappreciated worlds and actually think for themselves for a change. They just might be able to revive the last remnants of an imagination that once glowed with life, and transport themselves into another world where they can play their own God. Granting free will to the characters through the words on the page, yet designing all of the sights and sounds from their own selves.
Is this the same America that I remember? Or is this just the rotting carcass of what was once great. If this is what America wishes to be, then I want no part of it. Maybe I am too young to remember what America once was, but I know what it stands for. And this is not that place. America may be a “Sleeping Giant,” but what good will a sleeping giant do against a waking dragon? The last twenty years of hibernation have left this giant lazy. It has become fat, it’s muscles weak and atrophied, it’s bones brittle glass, and through it’s myopic haze it can’t even see what is wrong with itself. Maybe we can change this. I may have only noticed this because of the backward trend in some places online, and more and more people complaining about how stupid and pointless all this is… I have upwards of eighty years left in my life, and to the best of my abilities, I will see America through this. I will do everything I can to make this country once again great, however little that may be. I just hope it will be willing to transcend to greatness once again.
On a lighter note, today is my 19th birthday (yay). I had fun today, spring break, but I’m just at home. I got to spend some time with Barb, who I love very much, and my family, who I also love very much. That in itself was all I wanted, but in addition, Barb got me season one of Lost on DVD (I won’t watch it live anymore, can’t stand TV, but I enjoy this program, along with Kyle XY and Heroes… but not live.) and Antonio Banderas “Mediterraneo” cologne, which I love. My parents got me David Allen’s “Getting Things Done,” which I have been following a self-modified version of from what I found online, but I always wanted to read the actual book. I had a great day, and don’t know what made me write such a cynical piece, except that I had been thinking about this for so long and had a chance tonight. Anyway, I’m off to bed now. Goodnight all.
“The price of freedom of religion, or of speech, or of the press, is that we must put up with a good deal of rubbish.”
– Robert Jackson