Thursday, February 4, 2010

Does it matter though?

One thing I've never bought into is the idea that television made our society worse. You only have to look at the days before television to know that man's ability to do shit things to one another was there long before 24 or The Shield. Vikings raped and pillaged and they barely watched any television at all. All those heads on pikes on Tower Bridge in London - not one of those executioners or the people revelling in their deaths watched television.

Listened to radio perhaps.

But no television.

So I don't buy into the idea that television (or indeed rock music or video games) is responsible for society's ills.

But one thing I hear a lot is - I watched X when I was young and it didn't do me any harm.

How can you possibly know that? Unless you have a perfect clone leading the exact same life as you with the exception of watching certain television programmes, you can't ever know that.

The fact is, children do learn from television. It does influence their behaviour. Who knows what effect watching better television would have on a whole generation? Almost impossible to measure and yet, I think, well worth a shot.

And, if it all goes horribly wrong, it doesn't matter. When today's children grow up, they will say it didn't do them any harm anyway.


Gregor Nekdo said...

What about Newswipe then? It's a brilliant show that deconstructs the way news are reported to us, and how the news are presented. I know man is cabable on shit things, and most of it is shown on television, but wouldn't you be happy in knowing that yes, there are people who are aware of this, and have their own show where they tell people just how shit things really are?

Red Pill Junkie said...

"I watched X when I was young and it didn't do me any harm."

I think people say that because they consider themselves to be pretty "normal". I mean, they claim to have watched a lot of violence on TV and they haven't gone on a shooting rampage themselves... yet ;)

On the other hand, I often fantasize with the idea that you could somehow access information of all the other 'yous' living in other parallel dimensions. How is the other you faring if he didn't spend so much time watching Top Cat & The Flintstones as a child? did he went to become president or a millionaire? a serial killer? a transvestite? It would be cool to find out.

Humphrey Erm said...

Indeed, that is something one hears alot, even from myself when discussing any entertainment value today. Thing is, alot of times it really doesn't have much to do from my experience. Granted, I didn't have a clone of myself, but I did have friends my own age, and around age of 7-10 there were alot of shows and movies out that I could and couldn't watch. What was very popular at the time was anime, and having lived in Chile, they didn't censor it, leaving all the violence in. Because of that, I never watched Dragon Ball or any other violent shows like that until a teenager I believe. Power Rangers was another thing I wasn't allowed to watch.

Looking back, sure, I was pissed of for not being able to talk about these things with my friends who DID see them, but on the other hand I am not immune to the portrayal of violence, and for that I am grateful. Thing is though my friends have grown up to be seemingly just as sane as me, with no felonies or other misbehaviors (that I know of) so I'm not sure what factors are actually relevant.

Either way, I agree with you that kids do learn and emulate things they see on TV, to different degrees depending on their mind set and parents.

Red Pill Junkie said...

Thinking about this issue further, I have had to confront myself regarding what is suitable for a kid in the videogaming genre.

I'm a 36-year-old gamer, so obviously I don't restrict myself with the kind of games I buy and play. The trouble first arose with my first nephew. By the time he was 12 he wanted to play games like Gears of War; at first I hesitated but then I slowly acquiesced to his wishes —besides, I needed a gaming partner.

But then my other much younger nephew wanted the enjoy the same benefits; and when I strongly objected to this, his mother complained that I was giving the older nephew more privileges; and that the kid would get to play the games anyway.

That's one of the things I resent the most about our culture: the double standard between sex & violence in TV programming. It is quite OK for a young kid to watch all the violence in the world, but HEAVEN FORBIDS if he gets to watch a naked booby! Now THAT would scar him for life!! :-/

Bitter Animator said...

I have major issues with that same double standard, RPJ. It's utterly ridiculous. Though it does seem to be more relevant in the US than over this side of the Atlantic. We had a good laugh about the frenzy that followed Janet Jackson's boob incident, for example.