tvSmarter – Life in a TV Nation

The Medium is the Message

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As Marshall McLuhan said “the medium is the message”.

*How* you get your information and entertainment
is extremely important.

For example reading the news as opposed to watching the news:

– TV: information is conveyed to the viewer very quickly.
      If you didn’t understand the argument or discussion,
      you can’t go back and instantly re-watch it, or slow
      down the discussion to make things more clear. Also
      it’s easy for facts and figures to get muddled because
      of how fast things move on TV (kind of like listening
      to a fast talking used car salesman).

– print: information is conveyed at the reader’s speed.
      The reader can read slowly or reread a section
      that is particularly complicated or involved.
      If something peaks your curiosity, or something
      doesn’t seem logical, you can easily google the
      terms to find out more from different sources.


– TV: because TV is so expensive to produce (compared
      to print), there are much fewer companies producing
      it. The result is fewer viewpoints available on TV,
      with media consolidation, fewer still. Also because
      only the very wealthy can afford to own a TV channel,
      that TV channel will ultimately reflect what that
      very wealthy owner(s) want it to (no matter how liberal
      the writer and actors are).

– print: even before the invention of the internet, publishing
      was pretty cheap. Even individuals could publish zines
      or newsletters, or if they banded together their own weekly.
      But now with the advent of the internet, publishing has
      gotten so cheap that huge numbers of individuals are doing so.
      Who would have thought that it would be possible for individuals
      (bloggers) to have a greater readership than an established
      media outlet. Through print, people have access to every
      viewpoint imaginable.
– TV: while watching TV, your brainwaves slow down, this is due  to
     the “orienting response”. Note, people’s minds, while engaged
      in normal everyday activities (such as reading), are
      dominated by the faster Beta brainwaves. People’s brainwaves
      slow down while
      daydreaming and watching TV. Note, Gamma brainwaves (faster
      than Beta) are associated with intensive thinking, such as while
      playing a musical instrument, or solving a complex mathematical

      “Television Addiction Is No Mere Metaphor” in Scientific American

– print: while reading, your brain is working harder, which is reflected
     in faster brainwaves Beta brainwaves). Readers, “…in addition to
     decoding the symbols on the page, are using their mind’s eye to
     co-create with the author the dialog, sounds and images from the
     narrative.”… kind of like having a multi-million dollar studio
     within your own mind.
– TV: TV is addictive. Because of it’s hypnotic effect, it is very easy
     to end up watching hours at a time, when you had orginally planned
     to watch for just half an hour.

– Print: is *much* more self-limiting. Because reading takes an effort,
     people will stop after a while to give their brains a break. It is
     very rare to find someone who regularly spends over 4 hrs a day just
     reading (unless it is because they have to for work or school).

– TV: TV is associated with consumerism, obesity,
     not doing well academically, etc.

– Print: “Our high respect for a well read person is praise enough for
     literature.” quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson. The only way to become
     highly literate is to read, read and read some more. Kids, who get
     their news and entertainment from print, improve their vocabulary,
     their reading comprehension, their writing ability, their spelling,
     and their grammar. The same goes for adults.

If Americans went to a movie once a week, or watched TV once a week,
there wouldn’t be a problem. Instead, Americans are slowing down their
brains and zoning out for over 4 hrs per day (on average). And at the
same time sucking up the huge amounts of corporate propaganda coming out
of the tube (such as Buy! Buy! Buy! be *very* afraid, and that violence
is *the* solution).

Being an evironmentalist, or wanting to live a more spiritual life, or
getting off the consumerist bandwagon, or giving up TV (or at least
severely curtailing it) does not mean you are a snob. Giving up
(or reducing) TV means you are looking for something more. That you
want to *live* your life instead of giving up large chunks of your
life watching a bunch of fake people and their fake lives on TV.

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