July 13, 2010
Crack and the Box
“Crack and the box” was written by Pete Hamill. In this short essay the narrator explains his thoughts on a very common topic of addiction. He compares crack which is a drug to the box which in this case would be a television. The narrator speaks of his time as a reporter interviewing many different crack addicts some which were his personal friends. He explains that they cannot break free from this addiction and that is very much so like the television viewers. Hamill speaks of television as a form off addiction saying that it occupies most peoples day. He also states that “Television, like drugs, dominates the lives of its addicts. And though some lonely Americans leave their sets on without watching them, using them as electronic companions, television usually absorbs its viewers the way drugs absorb their users. Viewers can't work or play while watching television; they can't read; they can't be out on the streets, falling in love with the wrong people, learning how to quarrel and compromise with other human beings. In short they are asocial. So are drug addicts.” The narrator says the people should read more claiming that this will help us gain our sociability and be more informed than watching the news. Saying that “Getting news from television, for example, is simply not the same experience as reading it in a newspaper.” He claims that reading is more active. “The reader must decode little symbols called words, then create ideas and make them connect; at its most basic level, reading 'images or an act of the imagination. But the television viewer doesn't go through that process. The words are spoken to him by Dan Rather or Tom Brokaw or Peter Jennings. There isn't much decoding to do when watching television, no time to think or ponder before the next set of...