What started? The beginning of the end of critical thought and imagination. It all started innocently in the early 1960’s. Cartoons on Saturday mornings were a treat. In the mid-1960’s the next treat for me was to watch cop shows in the evenings (if homework was done). Favorites were Adam-12, Dragnet, Mannix, Hawaii 50, just to name a few. Being an Irish-American with most of my relatives as cops, this was the preferred viewing. After school my childhood buddies would watch shows like Combat, Rat Patrol, Whirlybirds (a helicopter show) and some sort of Everglades cop show the name of which I can not recall. TV watching was consuming more of our time but cop and combat shows motivated us to reenact cop chases and military battles in the woods and swamps behind my best friends house. We still used our imagination AND got plenty of exercise, qualities and lifestyles in short supply in our media drenched world today.
There’s a reason they call TV the “boob tube”. Studies have shown that passively watching something puts the brain on hold and stifles imagination. In the beginning, TV was a blessing for parents. Kids could be entertained while parents got back to doing adult stuff. Parents could incentivize the completion of homework and tasks with the reward of TV time. It all worked well until a few unintended and unfortunate consequences occurred. They were…..
- Gradual erosion of the principle of working and engaging in productive endeavors just because they are right and necessary. TV (and all forms of it’s media offspring) have become the ultimate bribe tools.
- Too much of a good thing. Too much TV watching, too little thinking, too little imagination, too much procrastination.
- Too much desensitizing violence altering our sense of reality. The line between what’s real and what’s imaginary gets blurred in TV land.
- Time spent watching steals time spent learning, developing a skill, producing something, discovering a hobby or practicing a hobby.
- Too much commercialization. Steady diet of commercials fuels an overly materialistic society blurring the line between what we want vs. what we need.
- Over time and very insidiously, a steady diet of carefully crafted images colors the viewers beliefs, goals, perceptions of reality. In sum, mind control and attitudinal control.
Now consider all these observations and ramifications concerning TV and overlay todays milieu of media and social media (twitter, i-phones, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.)
It’s a wonder any of us can think objectively and imagine creatively.
Being aware of this can keep us personally and nationally be on guard against these downside effects