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The Importance of Television

By xujiachunzhu Dec 13, 2009 981 Words
THE IMPORTANCE OF TELEVISION
MANILA, MAY 25, 2006 (STAR) STARBYTES By Butch Francisco - With the exception of Nestor Torre and Edmund Sicam, reviewers who came before me looked down on television and belittled my efforts writing critiques on TV programs. As far as they were concerned, film was the superior medium and definitely more sophisticated. But look at local cinema now. While the Philippine movie industry is breathing its last (but I sure hope it gets resuscitated – and I’m positive it would soon come back to life), television is in its full glory, never mind if there are only two major TV stations fighting it out in the race. From my end, I knew the importance of television – even from the beginning, even when I was still a child. Here are some of the reasons why television had always been important in my life: The TV set was my baby-sitter – All my relatives remember that it was my maternal grandmother who took care of me and reared me as a child. Of course, my beloved grandmother did and I will always be grateful to her for that. But my grandmother also had her own life. She also had a house of her own and a husband to look after and there were periods when we were apart. During those times, the househelp looked after me and to get me off their back (they had other chores to finish), they made me watch all the TV I wanted. (I also needed my own space – away from them.) In today’s world where both father and mother have to work, television plays an even more crucial part because it has to baby-sit children for longer hours, while the parents are away – and while the househelp does other chores. Of course, it is also important that a child’s TV viewing is monitored. If both parents have to work, either father or mother (or preferably both) should make a list of TV shows the kids can watch – with the guardian seeing to it that it is followed and implemented. And yes, I still believe that TV viewing among kids should be regulated and limited to a certain time – unless, of course, you want to raise your child as a TV critic because to this day I still resent my parents for not allowing me to watch all the shows I wanted to see back then and now I’m having difficulty piecing TV history together. But then, that’s another story. Television taught me values in life – For all the nasty things you can say about TV, I have to come to its defense because not everything that comes out of it is bad. Yes, I’ve learned some positive values from it – believe it or not. I’ve written about this before, but I don’t mind repeating it: In a ‘70s variety program (in the old ABS-CBN) called On With the Show, Mitch Valdes (then still called Maya) was interviewing a male contestant one time and when she asked him what his job was, he bowed his head and almost inaudibly answered: "Driver lang po." To that, Mitch said: "Huwag mong ikahiya ang trabaho mo – basta marangal." That made a mark in my mind then (Mitch was also young that time – a fresh TV talent plucked from theater) and that was my first lesson about dignity of labor. Although TV admittedly spews out garbage, you also pick up gems from time to time from this very much-maligned medium sometimes called the idiot box. And this is where parents play an important role. They should really be there to guide the kids when watching television. Now, if they have to work at daytime, maybe they can discuss what the kids saw on TV (and even their other activities) during the day and can correct whatever false values the children may have picked up along the way. But as much as possible, I’d like to encourage families to watch TV together not only to serve as bonding (you just can’t ignore TV anymore because of its growing importance), but so that the children may be guided accordingly with their TV viewing. TV as a source of literature — Way before I read about Oedipus Rex and Medea in college, I saw these played out on TV when I was in the grades. Unfortunately, I wasn’t familiar with the names (I assume they were mostly from theater) of the people who appeared in these TV productions, but I remembered the storylines and that made it easier for me to get through my Literature classes in school. Today, we have Captain Barbell coming soon on GMA 7 and those programs based on komiks on ABS-CBN. No, I’m not even frowning on those productions. After all, these are part of Pinoy pop culture. TV as a source of news – Of course, I can’t live without the papers and I read it leisurely. But at the end of the day, you turn to TV for immediacy and to find out what happened here and around the world. The following day, I have the papers again and I linger – something, sadly, that TV does not allow you to do because everything here has to be swift. TV as a dinner date – Given my erratic schedule, I hardly have dinner with the family and most of the time I eat alone, which can be very lonely. To keep me company, I eat in front of the TV set and so far I can say that it’s been the perfect date. TV as a source of livelihood – I learn from TV now and it pays for my little pleasures in life. Let’s put it this way: I’ve always loved television and now it’s loving me back.

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