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The Commercialism Of Television Essay, Research Paper
The Commercialism of Television
To look into the mind of a television addict, we must look at the big picture? First we recognize the voluntary slavery that makes up the majority of modern life. A I see it, people get up early, put on work clothes, and ?work like machines for the rest of the day? getting no satisfaction from their repetitive day-jobs. Then come home around seven o?clock to their families who have already had dinner, and the kids already getting in bed. By that time there is almost no room left for quality family time or anything else to pursue that?s worthwhile. Thus the person turns to the television for that instant dose of friendship and gratification that could not be found anywhere else during his or her day.
Once the person gets comfy on the lazy-boy, he becomes quickly stimulated and amazed by the intense sound and picture of thirty frames per second, and suddenly forgets thinking about the real world. Notice how some people become extremely annoyed when you talk to them or distract them when they are watching a program, or even a commercial. And might even yell at you for walking in front of the TV. As the hours of straight zombie-like watching go by, the person slips further into the fantasy world of television, and with you breaking that link between them and the tube comes as a shock to them. Someone can be so engulfed that it becomes a regular part of his/her daily routine.
As a result of a lot of watching TV, studies have shown that the heart rate, and blink rate have slowed down dramatically and muscular function decreased down to the snap of a finger on the remote or the lift of a drink. The stimulation of the picture and sound shift so rapidly that they must become completely relaxed to soak it all up. Television is like an addiction, and like any addictive substance a moral message lies behind it? The advertising and the programs are only they?re to keep the viewer coming back for more. But there are even deeper morals to the story. The televisions main purpose is to distract from what you really want to be doing. Than around the second line of commercials you realize that you could be doing far better things than this, but before that thought gets to you, another flashy commercial pops up that literally says ?damnit stay in your seat, we?ve got more products to sell you?. And giving the viewer the sense that he/she cannot live without it. And this is where depression can kick in. In these messages there is the potential power to brainwash the viewer into thinking that television is the one and only answer to all the worlds problems, and soon the person will not want to accept the harsh reality of the real world. This becomes a mindset for many people who watch TV. Some will do their best to fight it, like turn the volume down or mute, but hell, never would they turn it off. Even the manufacturers cleverly hide the mute button on your remote. To the broadcasters and corporations, its all a damn game to them, to see whom can get more zombies to stick with their channel.
After becoming over-fatigued from stimulation, they?ll switch it off. And when they are face to face with real life, they don?t understand it, and shrivel back into their corner to the TV, to the world that is so easily accepted.
There is a huge difference between the world that we live in, and the fake propped world of television. On a person note; my father roommates with Andre, a forty-five year old minority who is extremely depressed, and has attempted suicide. Visiting my dad every week or so I notice that Andre always had the TV on, and continued sitting in his chair staring at every comedy channel for six hours, but I noticed he never laughed. I believe Andre has fallen deep into the TV world, and uses it as a tool to ignore and/or forget his problems in the real world.
?Odds have it that television only creates a mirage of meaning at best, and distracts us from what we really seek? ?Tom Morrissey. But we all need an open mind to look for what we seek. To do this we must shield ourselves from advertising, so our mindfulness can grow and be able to see right through every ad, no matter what its saying or how its said. When I rarely watch TV, I get a different perspective to it and see the meaning behind the ad, compared to someone who watches it every day and absorb it as mere content.
I am amazed that very few people have noticed the change in content on television. For example: sex and violence. In addition I notice how the messages that commercials send are so blatant and up front, ?Look, you are worth diddly scum unless you buy (lots of) this product.??Thomas Morressey, and I share his exact views. But, half the western culture has already been exposed to too much advertisement to step back from it all and say, ?why am I watching this? What is the purpose?? We as Americans have been TOLD from day one to consume and be a part of the ?the more you buy, the better your life will be? type mindset. And that life just isn?t perfect with that jeep Cherokee and Mr. Clean floor wax. It is called ?rampant consumerism?, a condition where needs are socially defined, and luxuries become necessities. We build suburban neighborhoods designed around cars so we can fill it with more stuff and become in debt all because someone told us that we cant live without that red 2000 Honda Accord. Statistics have proven that Americans represent only four percent of the global population, yet we burn of a quarter of the world?s resources, and produce half its inorganic wastes. Television is where one must look to blame for this chaos. As it is the obvious driving force. With that in mind, how can it be possible for people to see past these views long enough before they realize what impact the media has on them, if they ever do, let them decide for themselves. In other words, how much TV must we watch before we realize what it is doing to us as people, and as a society. As you think about this, and wonder how we can change it all, obviously it is going to have to be a grass-roots effort. And since the message wont come to you through the TV or the government (since they fund some of it), it will only come from friends, and from other people showing the Tv-aholik that there is another way to live. Something like ?hey come with me, I can be a real friend to you, make you laugh, and share the world together. The light bulb of the soul switches off as we switch on the TV. And I believe that the bulb can only flicker again from the wisdom of someone else that shares the same thoughts about the media. But ultimately, in the end people are searching for meaning, and that meaning can only come from within, and for each of us to find.
1) Norman Solomon. Wizard of media oz, behind the curtain of mainstream news.
Monroe Maine, Common Courage Press, 1997
2) Bruce W. Sanford Don?t shoot the messenger
New York NY, The Free Press. 1999
3) William Barlow Split Image, african americans in the mass media
New York NY, United Publishing, 1990
4) Tony Schwartz Media, the second god
New York NY, Random House Publishing, 1991
5) Daniel Moyniham Mass media, and for generations to come
Chicago IL Universal Press 1995
6) Steven Palmer Down the tube
New York NY, Common courage press, 1999
Thomas P. Morrissey Television, Commercialism, and Consumption Discussion
http://www.newdream.org/conversation-arc/9802/msg00003.html 1998 pp.1-3
Henry Labalme Television, Commercialism, and Consumption Discussion
http://www.newdream.org/conversation-arc/9802/msg00000.html 1998 pp.1
Stan Suther Television in Perspective
http://www.newdream.org/conversation-arc/9802/msg00005.html 1998 pp.1-3
Joe Fortier Television as a symptom, and a cause
http://www.newdream.org/conversation-arc/9802/msg00012.html 1998 pp.1-2
Van Evra Television and child Development
Lawrence Associates Publishers, Mah Wah, New Jersey 1998
Luren Axelrod TV proof your kids, a parents guide to safe and healthy viewing.
Carol Publishing Group, Secaucus New Jersey, 1997
Wally Bowen Ads, ads, everywhere, are there limits?
The new citizen no.2 1995
Dale Kunkel How the media sees kids?
Media studies journal vol. 8 issue #4 1994
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