"When television is good, nothing — not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers — nothing is better.
But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite each of you to sit down in front of your own television set when your station goes on the air and stay there, for a day, without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland." - Former FCC Chairman Newton N. Minow, "Television and the Public Interest," May 9, 1961.
"Television is a great entertainment industry. That's what it is. I think we do entertainment on television better than any place in the world. I mean that's what television is for. You're bored, you want to enjoy yourself, you want to be amused, you turn it on and you have a good time. But, unfortunately, it has a power that transcends anything in the world today. It is a power that deals with the fact that 95% of this country is television saturated. That means 95% of our people get their information from television and television only." - Paddy Chayefsky, playwright, screenwriter of Network (1976). The quote is from an interview that Chayefsky gave on television in the 1970s.Television has not exactly been a force for good in the world. Of course, it is stupid to generalize and get all high and mighty about it. A lot of good TV drama series have been created around the world that connect people across countries and cultures. This is really remarkable.
Television is best when it provokes discussion between cultures and inside closed societies. One example is the cultural impact of a popular Turkish soap opera on the Muslim world. Another is "The Wire" which revealed the failure of the War on Drugs through a variety of lenses.
The bringing together of history and fantasy is the best kind of television entertainment. Look out for "Da Vinci's Demons" coming in April.
The dark side of television is inescapable. Read, "The Misuse of The Power of Television In Wartime Is Itself A War Crime," and "Visual Rituals: Television As The Greatest Myth-Making Force in Human History."
As an instrument of war, there is no greater destructive power than television propaganda. Nothing demonizes the "Enemy" better than an award-winning show like "Homeland."
Imagine the reach of Hitler's power if the propaganda ministers of the Nazi regime had the power of television in their hands to spread their ideology to the world.
In our day, USrael has this awesome, god-like power, and look at the harm that it has done to the world. The black box is truly a plague on the mind. USrael can nuke half the world tomorrow morning and say Muslims did it, and the other half of the world would believe it. It worked on 9/11, so why not now?
Anyways, enough of that.
Channel Surfing: Sunday, January 29, 1989 3:15 PM. Source: ClassicGarth.
Dark Shadows - "What sorcery is this?"