The insight provided by Barbara Ehrenreich is probably the sort of thing nobody would ever expect to hear--to the American audience, television is superior, all-knowing, and as time-consuming as sleep. In the twenty-first century at present, television has evolved internally, externally, and culturally. There is high-definition programming that supposedly increases the experience of watching, digital video recorders that allow people to set aside time to watch their favorite shows when they please, and remote controls that probably have Easy Bake Ovens should one decide to look hard enough. This is not to say that all television is necessarily a bad experience (what with National Geographic, the History Channel, and news programming on every other station), but for the most part, it has come to exist for the sole purpose of entertainment.
Ehrenreich's article describes life in the 1980s, but the trend of people not watching television on television for more than fifteen seconds on television (confused yet?) is a trend that has continued into this day and age. But is this occurrence actually a bad thing? Take into account what is commonly seen on TV--people cooking, playing basketball, joking with friends, referencing The Magnificent Seven in another movie. People watch these things because they are entertaining. If another person is rotting away in front of the tube the viewer himself is already stationed at, will there really be an enjoyable experience? Not hardly.
Ehrenreich's observation is very true, there is no doubt about that. But people watch television to enjoy or inform themselves, not to watch others doing the exact same thing. To defend television from an entertainer's standpoint--not everyone can do the same things as others. True, "couch potatoes" do just about nothing shown on TV themselves like competing on reality shows like The Apprentice or Hell's Kitchen or performing the ridiculous stunts seen on Nitro...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document