Re: DSM: Re: Re: Re: Television

From: Scott David Gray (sgray@aramis.sudval.org)
Date: Thu Dec 06 2001 - 14:36:36 EST


Warren,

You sure are making an awful lot of assumptions!

On Thu, 6 Dec 2001, Warren McMillan wrote:

> If you have a problem with traditional schooling, surely one of the reasons
> is that its mandate is to 'shape' or condition children according to an
> agenda predetermined by some anonymous bureaucrats in a department of
> education somewhere. You reject traditional schooling in response and remove
> your child from this harmful conditioning and send him/her to a place that
> is free of this kind of manipulation ie. a SV school. Yet, you allow your
> child to be influenced by the equally manipulative environment of the
> television. TV is not benign. Every image and every word is carefully
> crafted or filtered by anonymous agents in order to condition your needs,
> wants, opinions, preferences and attitudes to match their own political or
> commercial agendas.

You say: "If you have a problem with traditional schooling,
surely one of the reasons is that its mandate is to 'shape'
or condition..." Well, that's not _my_ problem -- just
about any/every media is designed or used to change people's
minds.

Everything that one _ever_ does in one's life (playing
soccer, attending school, going to the bathroom, etc)
"shapes" one. And, sure, some of these things (attending
school, watching many TV programs, watching certain plays,
attending churches) are openly _designed_ to shape or
condition.

I don't object to being allowed to _choose_ an activity that
I know is designed to shape or condition (such as attending
Arthur Miller's Crucible, or reading an essay on a mailing
list). What I object to in truancy laws and coercive
parenting, is that the child's freedom to choose _against_
receiving or choosing _to_ignore_ a coercive messsage is
actively infringed upon. Again, I don't think it's any
better an idea to _require_ a person to watch this-or-that
TV show, than it is to require a person to read this-or-that
book.

> If you would send you children to a SVschool, surely one of the reasons is
> so that they can come to know themselves; to find out who they are and what
> is their purpose. You reject traditional schooling because it distracts
> them from this quest with its overloaded timetable and forced learning.
> Television is the master of distraction. It can literally keep your
> children from themselves for hours at a time, day after day. As a
> distraction, television easily outperforms schooling.

You say: "If you would send you children to a SVschool,
surely one of the reasons is so that they can come to know
themselves; to find out who they are and what is their
purpose." Well, that's not every Sudbury parent's
rationale.

Some people send their kids to Sudbury schools for the
simple and straightforward reason that their children are
_happier_ there.

Even though many parents, and I, would agree agree with your
rationale, I don't think that your conclusion follows.
Part of finding out "who [you] are" is finding how you
interact with the various _other_ entities and ideas out
there. It means coming face to face with various immovable
objects and unstoppable forces. It means being able to hear
out the salesmen, whatever they sell (Coca-Cola, Marxism,
Christianity, Liberal Democracy, anti-TV biases,
anti-Newspaper biases, anti-Internet biases), and realize
your own relationship to these ideas/products/forces.

> If you would send you children to a SVschool, surely one of the reasons is
> so that they are free to pursue their own interests. You reject traditional
> schooling because of its mandated curriculum. Television has its own
> curriculum; its own mass messages that we all get, and get continuously
> again and again in multiple contexts. We eventually internalize these
> messages and they come to shape us in subtle ways no school curriculum
> designer could ever dream of. What is the TV curriculum? Seeking pleasure
> is the meaning of life; accumulation is the way to happiness; respect and
> courtesy are uncool; information is knowledge; violence works.
> While we worry about schooling and make sacrifices to ensure our children
> are safe from its detrimental affects, the real monster sits smug in our own
> livingrooms working its magic on our unsuspecting kids.
> Television is, pound for pound, far more toxic for children than schooling.

You say: "If you would send you children to a SVschool, surely one of
the reasons is so that they are free to pursue their own interests. You
reject traditional schooling because of its mandated curriculum. Television
has its own curriculum; its own mass messages that we all get, and get
continuously again and again in multiple contexts."

Yes, _the_ reason to attend a Sudbury school is to be free
to pursue your own interests, and free from a mandated
curriculum. Mandated is the key word here -- a person can
turn off the TV, and may not decide to ever turn it on.
But (as I learned when I was in public school) s/he may not
freely walk out of the school.

> Warren
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: <Evfocus@aol.com>
> To: <discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org>
> Sent: Wednesday, December 05, 2001 6:04 PM
> Subject: Re: DSM: Re: Re: Re: Television
>
>
> > There is a huge difference between college and TV. College is interested
> in
> > giving people what they "should want" just like schools. TV has no agenda
> > about what people should want. They spend millions finding out what people
> > really want.
> > In a way they are similiar to Sudbury in that way, there is no value
> > judgement placed on what people want. It doesn't matter whether they want
> > mud wrestling or politcal discussion they give them whatever they want to
> > watch.
> > I actually make a point of trying not to be to judgmental about my
> daughters
> > TV watching because I think all I end up doing is communicating that their
> > judgement is flawed.
> > If schools had to hold interest the way television does, they would be
> much
> > better places. Right now we have a vicious cycle. Schools say to kids "We
> > don't care what you think or feel this education is good for you"
> > Television listens to what they want, and that includes antischool,
> > antiauthority programming which may be caused by a society that refuses to
> > respect their wishes.
> > Imagine if schools had to get the Neilson ratings shows do?
> > Evelyn Hardesty
> > DVS Parent
> >
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-- 
 
--Scott David Gray
reply to: sgray@sudval.org
http://www.unseelie.org/
============================================================
 My soul is crushed, my spirit sore
 I do not like me anymore,
 I cavil, quarrel, grumble, grouse,
 I ponder on the narrow house
 I shudder at the thought of men
 I'm due to fall in love again.

-- Dorothy Parker ============================================================

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