Download ...And There Was Television by Ellis Cashmore PDF

By Ellis Cashmore

Tv is blamed for an collection of evils, together with violence, shortened consciousness spans, the decline of literacy and political indoctrination. This learn weighs up the theories and the proof. the writer argues that a lot of the panic is with no beginning, and that the one most vital threat posed via television is that it encourages us to spend an excessive amount of. Cashmore concurs with many writers that tv is an elemental strength in modern tradition, yet he provides a very assorted account of ways and why this has happen. He postulates that tv is the valuable gear of client society and its good fortune is measured no longer when it comes to no matter if we take pleasure in programmes, yet how a lot we spend due to staring at them.

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Unlike the earlier, cruder theories of ideology which saw humans as unwitting and, perhaps even unwilling, recipients of mediafiltered political messages designed to keep the masses down and the fat cats in power, cultural studies invites an image of the human as wearing a thinking cap, continually reflecting on past and present, reality and illusion. We might be spoon-fed our ideologies, but we are always careful to chew thoroughly before swallowing them. Cultural students argue that we are endlessly involved in searching for and finding meaning: everything we do, say, see, generally experience has some meaning for us.

When Postman wrote the book in the 1980s, death was a natural subject for a world entering the final score years of the millennium. And, for writers devoted to the human as a responsible and intellectual being with species-specific needs beyond those of other animals, the prospect of a surrender to death was disorienting. Why surrender? Because, Postman argued, the main institutions of life, like politics, religion, education and commerce, were being transformed into adjuncts of show business, without as much as a whimper of protest.

None of this sounds too profound—and it is not. All that cultural studies offers up to this point is: (1) The view that there can be no neutral, objective knowledge of the world and that what passes for truth is a matter of collective agreement rather than a reflection of reality (Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolution, made a similar point earlier (1970), more persuasively and with apposite historical evidence); (2) The idea that when we consume media programs we are, in fact, 46 …and there was television actively engaged in producing meanings, or, more accurately, decoding them, in such a way that they strike us as commonsensical and straightforward.

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