The Negative Effects of Television
In the argumentative essay “T.V. Addiction” by Marie Winn, Winn relates watching television to having an addiction with drugs and alcohol. The television experience allows us to escape from the real world and enter into a pleasurable and peaceful mental state. When it comes to television, Marie asks the following question: Is there a kind of television viewing that falls into the more serious category of destruction addiction? To my perspective, I think there is. If you think about it, why do so many people watch so many hours of television and instead of doing what they’re supposed to be doing, they put everything else on hold and just focus on television? I think this is because they want and or need an escape from their problems or just need to clear their minds.
In my opinion, I agree with Marie Winn 100%, and I think she does have a valid point. Television is a major addition in society and people are so blind-sighted by it that they don’t even realize that they’re being hypnotized into a trance. Television is brainwashing the minds of everyone, and there is no stop to it. It’s mainly up to the person who is watching the television to decide to turn it off, without having any regrets about it.
According to Jerry Mander’s book, For Arguments for the Elimination of Television, Mander describes how many excessive television watchers described the experience of sitting in front of the television (Chapter 8). Listed below are some of the descriptions:
• “ I feel hypnotized when I watch television.”
• “Television sucks my energy.”
• “I feel like it’s brainwashing me.”
• “ I feel like a vegetable when I’m stuck there at the television.” • “Television spaces me out.”
• “Television is an addiction and I’m an addict.”
• “My kids look like zombies when they’re watching.” • “TV is destroying my mind.”
• “Television is turning my mind into mush.”
• “I feel mesmerized by it.”
• “If a television is on, I just can’t keep my eyes off it.”
Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time watching television would be able to relate with some, if not all of these statements. Based on these responses, Mander proved the following: The people who described themselves as being “spaced out” said that television helped them forget about their busy lives. Some people found television relaxing because it helped them forget about the world. Others who used the terms “brainwashed” or “addicted,” felt that television provided them with good information and entertainment. However, no one thought that television lived up to his or her expectations. In chapter 16 of For Arguments for the Elimination of Television, the chapter shows how people form poor judgments when watching television. Some of these judgments are as follows:
• Death is more important than life.
• War is more interesting than peace.
• Raw materials are more interesting than natural environment materials. • Hierarchy is more interesting than democracy.
• Lust is more interesting than satisfaction.
• Quantity is more interesting than quality.
Television offers neither rest nor stimulation. In the book Mander quoted: “Television inhibits your ability to think, but it does not lead to freedom of the mind, relaxation or renewal. It leads to a more exhausted mind. That's as far as television goes with the human mind.” The worst part about television is that the mind is never empty. The mind is always filled with someone else’s obsessive thoughts and images. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, American children and adults spend 22-28 hours per week viewing television, more than any other activity except sleeping. By the age of 70 they will have spent 7-10 years of their lives watching television.
Television programs, commercials, news reports, and talk shows are all designed toward blind acceptance by the...
Bibliography: Mander, Jerry For Arguments for the Elimination of Television. New York: Quill, 1978.
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