My response referred to Mike's suggestion that it was the role of adults and
parents to help children understand how TV works and how it can influence or
condition them without their conscious awareness and that, to quote Mike,
"If kids understand this and seek to create a perspective for interpretation
that recognizes the biases and objectives that others hold, then we've
accomplished a great deal."
I am saying that adults and parents generally don't do this and so children
generally don't watch TV with any kind of awareness. Rather, they watch
passively and with little resistance. At a Sudbury school in particular,
with no curriculum that mandates media awareness (not to suggest that this
happens with any regularity in traditional schools), children are free,
presumeably, to partake in as many hours of televised conditioning as they
The conditioning I am referring to is not advertising alone. Advertising
represents only the grossest form of influence. All TV programming... game
shows, sitcoms, movie-of-the-week, newscasts, sportscasts, cartoons... is
manipulative, in a thousand subtle ways from placement of pop cans in movies
to the science of jolts-per-minute, and the agenda behind it is called
consumerism. This is not a conspiracy theory. There is no arch-villain
behind it all. It is just that the media has been co-opted by those
interests in western society who want to sell you something. The intense
effort to maximize the effectiveness of television as a marketing tool,
coupled with the compelling nature of the medium itself has re-programmed
all of us from citizens into consumers. If you doubt this last statement, I
give you this little reminder I got recently. In one of his very first
speeches to the nation after Sept. 11, what did President Bush ask Americans
to do if wanted to help the cause? Did he ask them to go to church? Did he
suggest they join the Reserve? Did he ask them to get involved in local
politics or do some volunteer work? None of these. President Bush asked
Americans to go shopping.
What, you might ask, is wrong with being a consumer? Another story for
another day. The point here is, we have gone from being citizens... our
essential function to vote... to being consumers... our essential function
to shop, to use, to accumulate, without any collective conscious awareness
of the transformation... thanks to TV.
Some suggest that TV can't be bad because we are all free to turn it off.
Those are the same ones who say they can quit smoking anytime they wish...
as they light up another. The only way you can prove that you _are_ free to
turn it off, is to turn it off. Then you are free.
----- Original Message -----
From: Joe Jackson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, December 07, 2001 1:47 PM
Subject: RE: DSM: Re: Re: Re: Television
> > My response is, adults and parents don't so kids don't.
> Are you saying you don't think adults and children know when someone is
> trying to sell them something? And, is it your conclusion that knowing
> there was a commercial intent behind being convinced of something
> prevents or limits some sort of damage being done to the person? If
> not, what is your basis for your apparent conclusion, which seems to be
> that that advertising is evil?
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