Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How TV Ruined Your Life



Just came across a BBC3 show on YouTube: How TV Ruined Your Life.

Here are some choice quotes from two episodes:


Aspirational Programming



"This is the world of aspirational television...aspirational being a wildly popular term in TV-land. It's a world in which the majority of people are thin, attractive, witty, sassy, cool, fun-loving, thoughtful and happy; and who enjoy a life of cocktails, dick and shoes.


The basic theory behind aspirational programming is that if you watch beautiful, fun-loving people on TV, you'll somehow feel like they're your friends...whereas in reality of course, you're essentially just a tramp, staring at them from across the other-side of the room.


It seems as if every other show on TV these days has some sort of aspirational bent...but where did it all begin?


Like everything evil in the universe, it came from the world of advertising."


Love

"Most of our romantic know-how comes courtesy of a flickering, fibbing machine which can break any relationship before it begins."


"According to research, when it comes to getting information about love, 94% of young people turn to their television, while only 33% ask Mom, and 17% Dad...BUT THE PLUG-IN-PARENT IS A LIAR and the fictional world it portrays seeps into your skull, setting a misleading framework."


"Studies show a link between the amount of television people watch and the likelihood that they'll believe certain unhelpful relationship myths. Chief among these myths, is the notion that there's a singular "Soul-Mate" out there in the world for you!"


"The first step towards "falling in love" is to find someone attractive...which you'd think would be a fairly organic process that occurs without much conscious effort on your part, but the chances are television has warped your notions of physical beauty by parading inordinately attractive people in front of you, morning, noon and night, thus raising your expectations to unsustainable heights, while simultaneously making YOU feel inferior.


It's telling that when you encounter somebody who's attractive in real life, they often seem faintly unreal...like they've been somehow photo-shopped into your world by the media."

Epic.

12 comments:

Simon Grey said...

This post reminds of two books I read about six years ago. They are Amsusing Ourselves to Death and How to Watch TV News, both by Neil Postman. The gist of both was that entertainment was mind-deadening and subversive, in part because it is driven by commercials. He also makes the argument that TV news is especially untrustworthy because at the end of the day, the only concern that a news program has is selling ads. Really, television is just a glittering lie used to hypnotize people into buying things.

Keoni Galt said...

Yep. I used to call TV "the idiot box" when I was younger. I actually went a good 5 years or so in my early 20's without ever watching even one bit of it.

I like my NFL, MMA and a few select programs now...but I still detest commercials.

Another big difference is how readily I recognize the social engineering aspects and the programming the producers intend.

I laugh at both the overt and covert attempts at indoctrination.

But most people who watch TV are blithely unawares of just how influential it is in their thinking.

Workshy Joe said...

TV is how I passed the time while I was waiting for the internet show up.

Charlie Booker's "How To Read The News" is worth a look as well. That's up on youtube.

Anonymous said...

"94% of young people turn to their television, while only 33% ask Mom, and 17% Dad...BUT THE PLUG-IN-PARENT IS A LIAR"

Alas, mom and dad can't help you, despite their good intentions. Mom will fill you with "just be yourself, every girl likes a nice boy like you" pap, and dad is a beta provider so he's no help either.

Hughman said...

I barely watch TV. Don't have one in my digs. The occasional DVD series gets watched with my housemates, then a few select shows on the BBC's iPlayer.

I feel much better for it - plus I have far more time on my hands

Default User said...

I was never one to completely swallow conventional wisdom but sites like yours have helped me understood better what was causing the unease, disquiet, and disdain I felt watching the programming (in both senses of the word).

I think taking the red pill is often as much about realizing "I am not the only one" as any great revelation. However, I do find myself much more conscious of the messages and memes that are the payload of the inter-advertising filler (and of course the ads themselves).

Ping Jockey said...

"...It's a world in which the majority of people are thin, attractive, witty, sassy, cool, fun-loving, thoughtful and happy; and who enjoy a life of cocktails, dick and shoes.
...
The basic theory behind aspirational programming is that if you watch beautiful, fun-loving people on TV, you'll somehow feel like they're your friends...whereas in reality of course, you're essentially just a tramp, staring at them from across the other-side of the room."

Sounds like a description of a typical episode of either SATC, "Desperate Housewives", or any one of the ditzy, mindless daytime soaps which women seem to NEVER get enough of.

I gave up watching television during my years in college and during my Navy career -- thank goodness! By not being exposed to the "mind rot" programming that has existed, I have not made television viewing the central reason for my existence after work, and have not scheduled my life around television programming -- unlike so many people I have known.
Although I do occasionally watch a few programs, they usually are the science (e.g., NOVA), history (History Detectives, The American Experience), and do-it-yourself (This Old House, Woodwright Shop) genre programs that are shown only on PBS channels.
My favorite channel WAS The History Channel, but it seems that it tried to become more 'relevant' to other interests, and stopped showing their really great programs like "Modern Marvels". I mean, programs like "Ice Road Truckers" and "Pawn Stars"? PBS's "Secrets Of The Dead" and "History Detectives" put those to shame!
Is there anyone else who has noticed this? Or is it just me?

knepper said...

I read 'Amusing ourselves to death' years ago. There was also a good book called 'The Plug-In Drug', by Marie Winn. Her thesis, as I recall, was that the state of mind you are in as you watch TV is very much like a semi-hypnotic trance (especially for kids). Your conscience mind goes into a dream-like state, which is why it is easier for advertisers to use suggestion on you. Needless to say, not alot of critical thinking goes on while you are in this state.
I agree real life begins when you turn the TV off.

The Private Man said...

Emotional pornography, nothing more.

haleyshalo said...

There are very few ugly, or even plain, people on TV. I don't think it's fair to blame the media for this, though. Television is a business, and people like watching more attractive people more than less attractive people. It's like how for all the complaining about models with unrealistic bodies, people don't really want to see average-looking people modeling clothes. People prefer the fantasy, so the business responds accordingly.

Badger said...

"I like my NFL"

And you might not even get that this year.

Cul-De-Sac Hero said...

My young sons figured out how to use the free VOD. It's so much better because they can watch a 30 min Bakugan show in 22 minutes; the 8 missing minutes being the overt mind-control portion of programming known as advertising.