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What are we to do with consumerism???

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fractal007
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since 06-01-2000
Posts 2032


0 posted 04-16-2005 11:43 PM       View Profile for fractal007   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for fractal007

The following is something I posted a while back on my blog.  I was rather angry with television and I decided to let out a little air.  I wonder now whether or not there was something to this post...




That television is an inferior medium -- that is, it is vastly inferior to
books and, in many cases, even the internet -- is a fact at which it is quite
easy to arrive. On average, the content on most television shows is
essentailly pulp. Television is a medium that bombards the senses with stupid
intellectual pablum designed for the consumption of the masses, rather than
for spiritually liberated free thinkers. Even those television shows that do
have good intellectual content carry nothing that books cannot provide.


Consider the excuse that television allows family members to gather together and enjoy quality time with one another. This is a claim whose falsity can be
seen simply by observing any family watching television together. Is there any
sort of enjoyment of one another's presence? No. Rather, any attempt at
talking to one another will be promptly stifled. Shhhhh! I'm trying to watch
the show!!!


Consider the excuse that many books are pulp just as much as television. To be
sure, this is indeed true. Let us now suppose that a certain individual is
reading a pulpy book -- a romance novel for example. Further, let us suppose
that another individual is watching a televised sit-com. Both receive
information from their respective media for half an hour. Now I ask, how
rewarding was the television viewer's experience as opposed to that of the
reader of the pulp fiction? The viewer has been forced to view pre-fabricated
visual constructions. The reader has been forced to create its own
constructions so as to envision what is taking place in the novel. The
television viewer has been hammered with all manner of commercialistic
propaganda. In short, it has been treated as a member of the consumeristic
herd and so instructed as to the way it should live and the social norms by
which it should abide. Granted, the situation is likely similar for the reader
of the pulp. However, the pulp reader has the opportunity to stop and reflect
on what it has just consumed. It can, should it so choose, write notes in the
margin of the text, highlighting the presence of implicit assumptions, for, for
example. The television viewer is violated day and night by a constant
spraying of messages to which it is powerless to respond -- a barrage of
fleeting images and sounds, lost in an instant. A book is a tangible artifact
that may be read and handled by its owner in any way that owner so chooses.


EagleScorpion
Senior Member
since 03-08-2000
Posts 1705
Here, Now, Forever


1 posted 09-20-2005 05:57 PM       View Profile for EagleScorpion   Email EagleScorpion   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for EagleScorpion

I agree whole-heartedly. This problem is getting out of control. It seems like everywhere you turn, they are trying to sell you something. However, less and less of us have enough money to even afford the basics, like a place to live, and transportation. This is a sickly state of affairs. As long as we worship the all-powerful dollar, we are doomed.
Midnitesun
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since 05-18-2001
Posts 29020
Gaia


2 posted 09-20-2005 06:04 PM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

quote:
Television is a medium that bombards the senses with stupid
intellectual pablum designed for the consumption of the masses, rather than
for spiritually liberated free thinkers

Well, you are right. But TV shows aren't targeted to 'free thinkers' anyway, but are for the...ahem...mid range and 'lower' consumer mindsets, except perhaps, many PBS shows. My not so humble opinion
hush
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since 05-27-2001
Posts 1693
Ohio, USA


3 posted 10-16-2005 08:16 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

"Even those television shows that do
have good intellectual content carry nothing that books cannot provide."

Not true. They have the visuals of the sets and the technical aspects of the shots and cuts, and the skills of the actors.

Just playing devil's advocate, I agree that *a lot* of what's on TV is crap, but there are some very good quality shows, the HBO original shows spring to my mind as a good example. And you know what... I enjoy letting my mind veg out while watching some stupid soap opera or sitcom once in a while... and my personal favorite indulgence is game shows... The Price is Right, Jeopardy, Millionaire...

But at the same time, there's a little part of me that analyzes the commercials shown, or the body language, etc. Just so long as you are aware of it, it can actually be a learning experience.
Stephanos
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since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


4 posted 10-16-2005 11:49 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

TV has some positive elements ... sometimes.  

But I think there is a great loss of the love of literature today because of it, and that can result in a shallowness of knowledge.  It amazes me how "up" people are on pop-culture, knowing the latest divorces of Tinsel-Town, but they might not even know who John Bunyan is.  It takes more self discipline to read the classics, philosophy, theology, poetry, and therefore many people reach for the remote.  Instant gratification.


It's just good to be aware of the personal danger, even if we can't do much about the societal trend.  Temperance rather than abstinence, is probably the solution.  For every contemporary movie you see, make sure you read a book that has some depth to it.


Stephen.  
hush
Senior Member
since 05-27-2001
Posts 1693
Ohio, USA


5 posted 10-18-2005 11:51 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

But I see some value in what you guys are writing off- pop culture, marketing/commercial art- I consider these valid social sciences, i.e. if you pay enough attention to any aspect of the world around you, you notice trends, you see something of human nature reflected. What kind of commercials do they show during what types of shows? Tells you something about the demographic being targeted. How do they promote their products? Tells you something about what the company believes is important to the target audience.

What does our fascination with Tinseltown and the lives of celebrities say about us? On a surface level, yeah, maybe it's that we're shallow. But maybe, on a deeper level, we long for the beautiful glamourous lives these people lead. It's an escapism thing, which, if you think about it, is what it's meant to be. We, by the way, is meant as a generality- obviously, pop culture is an important and popular aspect of our culture, or there wouldn't be so many tabloids.

The unfortunate thing I see si the excess. Do I think McDonald's is evil for selling food that is obviously bad for people? No... but I think their aggressive marketing to children is immoral, at best. In a capitalist society, it's the fact that- naturally- companies compete and each one wants to sell the most and succeed the best. When those things that they are promoting are bad for us (in one way or another, be it physically or mentally) there's a conflict of interest. Hence the limitations on alcohol and tobacco advertisements.

I kind of went off on a tangent, but I guess my point is that it's not TV that's bad, it's not even necessarily the escapism aspect that's bad, it's the fact that people immerse themselves in it to an excess.
JesusChristPose
Senior Member
since 06-21-2005
Posts 679
Pittsburgh, Pa


6 posted 10-19-2005 06:10 PM       View Profile for JesusChristPose   Email JesusChristPose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JesusChristPose

Does it really matter?

Enjoy and believe in what you want to believe in. If consumerism is your cup of tea, drink it.  If not, don't.

Read literature if it makes you happy. Watch movies and don't read if that makes you happy... or do both, if that makes you happy. No harm, no foul.

If the masses are easily duped by commercials on tv, then maybe they need to be duped and that is a good thing for all.

The sickle will kill the weeds, if it can determine the weeds from the flowers... as for me, I don't know.

"If this grand panaorama before me is what you call God... then God is not dead."

Sunshine
Administrator
Member Caelestus
since 06-25-99
Posts 67715
Listening to every heart


7 posted 10-19-2005 06:30 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

quote:
television is an inferior medium

In many ways, at many times.  In today’s world.  Earlier on, before there were “points” and  “numbers” and “commercials”…there was news.
quote:
Television is a medium that bombards the senses…

Yes.  
quote:
…designed for the consumption of the masses, rather than
for spiritually liberated free thinkers…

And the point is?
quote:
Consider the excuse that many books are pulp just as much as television.

Ok
quote:
viewer has been forced to view pre-fabricated
visual constructions. The reader has been forced to create its own
constructions so as to envision what is taking place in the novel.

Ah, the mystery of a book.  Books are not picked up by just anyone.  Books are picked up by people who want to discover what is between the covers. Whereby, TV, radio, and even the Internet, is all viewed, today, by a simple click, click, click.  Whatever catches their interest.  A book!?  A Book denotes that one who might be interested in more, is looking for something else.
quote:
A book is a tangible artifact that may be read and handled by its owner in any way that owner so chooses.

Thank God.
Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


8 posted 10-19-2005 10:52 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Read literature if it makes you happy. Watch movies and don't read if that makes you happy... or do both, if that makes you happy. No harm, no foul.



Not every conversation is an attack on individual rights.  It's not a matter of force and law here, but a matter of reflection and asking questions, and not assuming that just because we have the right to choose anything and everything, that anything and everything is therefore equally good.


Stephen.  
JesusChristPose
Senior Member
since 06-21-2005
Posts 679
Pittsburgh, Pa


9 posted 10-19-2005 10:57 PM       View Profile for JesusChristPose   Email JesusChristPose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JesusChristPose

"Not every conversation is an attack on individual rights."

~ Who said that it is?

"It's not a matter of force and law here, but a matter of reflection and asking questions,..."


~ Reflecting and asking demands reflecting and answering.

"... and not assuming that just because we have the right to choose anything and everything, that anything and everything is therefore equally good."


~ Who is talking about the right to choose anything and everything?

~ A singer once wrote... "Shove me into the shallow water before I get too deep."

I don't know about you, but the water I am standing in doesn't even come up to my ankles.

"If this grand panaorama before me is what you call God... then God is not dead."

Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


10 posted 10-20-2005 07:12 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
I don't know about you, but the water I am standing in doesn't even come up to my ankles.



I would rather risk drowning than get "choked".  You can't even surf in the shallows.  


Stephen.
Essorant
Member Elite
since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


11 posted 11-23-2005 01:18 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I don't know any manmade medium that isn't inferior to the written word or something that is mostly given to working with the written word.  The written word, didn't just fullfill books and writs, but it gave monumentalization and permanance to things that otherwise were kept only in the sphere of the memory and spoken speech and the ability to hold on to them in the traditions of those, that offered far less steadfastness and stability, than setting them on writ.  Man became far much more civilized with more civilized language, but he became much steadfaster and stable when he was able to fasten them into written words, giving steadfastness to his laws and lores, and thereby also to himself.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (11-23-2005 02:15 PM).]

Baba Michi
Junior Member
since 12-07-2005
Posts 39
Southern Germany


12 posted 12-12-2005 06:06 AM       View Profile for Baba Michi   Email Baba Michi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Baba Michi

Essorant, what about visual art?  Is it inferior to the written word as well?

For the most part, I agree with you guys- experiments show that brain activity drops to all-time lows during television watching, and is only a step away from sleep or deep hypnosis.  Books are, of course, far better for cultivating intellect, imagination, etc.  

However, I think the important question is whether or not there is an actually significant number of people who have made the switch from books to TV, which would be the critical factor in determining whether or not television is an inherently unhealthy part of our culture.  I am of the opinion that probably, the people who spend all their free time in front of the tube are the people who, before television, used to grab some beers and sit in front of the radio, or before that.... what did people do before television, anyway?  *laughs*

Of course, I haven't seen any statistics on this, so I could be completely wrong.  I imagine that such statistics would be difficult to interpret, given the state of American schools right now.  I think that people who are truly motivated to improve themselves mentally and physically will not let television become that important.  

Time for Law & Order!  
 
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