Vision, Or Television?

Understanding and compassion help explain why I haven’t owned a television in nine years.

I usually read non-fiction, and let me tell you why.  It:

  • Fuels awareness and a deeper understanding of the world around us.
  • Replaces destructive religious, sexual, political, and environmental superstitions with informed reason.
  • Enables more effective compassion.

Reading enables, empowers, illuminates, enlightens, informs, inspires, enhances, and improves your character.  Along with the world around you.

Many can relate to a comment by former Chair of the Federal Communications Commission, Newton N. Minow (1926-present).  Here is how he described TV:

“I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland.”

That was from his speech to the National Association of Broadcasters.

In 1961.

Television is great for occasional entertainment.  And the likes of environmental, home, kitchen, and garden shows can inform and inspire.

But over-consumption of comedy, drama, sports, supernatural, event-not-idea-focused news, reality shows, or video games is a mark of apathy, ignorance, and selfishness.

An entertainment-heavy diet has severe consequences for humanity, because it displaces active compassion and informed reason.

As an interesting aside, Hollywood producer Sherwood Schwartz (1916-2011) posited that as head of the F.C.C., Minow “ruined television”.  Rather doubtful.

Nonetheless, Sherwood sarcastically named the shipwrecked boat on his hit TV show Gilligan’s Island the S.S. Minnow.

Also interesting: in 1988, Mister Minow recruited a young summer associate for his Chicago law firm.  Barack Obama.  And this is where Mister Obama met a woman designated as his career mentor: Michelle Robinson.  She is now First Lady of The United States of America.

Mister Minow not only actively supported the presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy, but also that of Barack H. Obama.

Vision, or television?  You decide.




About HyperIntellect

Mankind have a great aversion to intellectual labor; but even supposing knowledge to be easily attainable, more people would be content to be ignorant than would take even a little trouble to acquire it. - Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) Twitter: @HyperIntellect
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3 Responses to Vision, Or Television?

  1. Pingback: Book - Book Review: The Box: An Oral History of Television, 1929-1961 - Kittysneezes

  2. I largely agree with your main point (& loved the little thread about Minow). I’d like to add my point of view, however. I tend toward depression. It’s a long story, but as a result I have to take care of what’s sometimes a fragile psyche. I take in quite a fair amount of nonfiction and news, and am involved as much as possible in political causes. But I need breaks from that. For me, it’s emotionally intense. One of my outlets is fiction; some on the page, some dramatized. Mind you, I’m not reading romance novels, or other dreck. I like intelligent content with social commentary. But it works well for me, at times, to see it in a context other than that of our own lives, here and now. Does that make sense?

    Thanks for a thought-provoking, and valuable, post!

  3. Yes it does make sense, Miss Chamney. Consuming different perspectives from within an escape chute.

    In fact, when I started reading voraciously as a teen, almost 100% of my elective reading was fiction.

    It is an interesting contradiction that I still enjoy viewing fiction movies, but haven’t enjoyed a fiction book in many years. Why is that?

    I am sorry for your depression. If self-loathing counts as depression, I have a bit of it also. Who would have guessed from such a pen name?

    Thank you for stopping in;-].

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