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Does even 10% of television content reflect objective reality?

Discussion in 'Singles (Only*)' started by LOVEthroughINTELLECT, Feb 5, 2008.

  1. LOVEthroughINTELLECT

    LOVEthroughINTELLECT The courage to be human

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    Recently I had a conversation with someone about why I am trying to avoid television.

    Basically, I responded with the same themes found in [thread=3128473]this thread[/thread].

    Let's assume that there is objective reality independent of television.

    Television does not simply present objective realities such as sights, sounds, historical facts, etc. Television adds all kinds of narration, music, sound effects, lighting, graphics, editing, etc. In the case of narration not only are there words ("the perfect crime"), there is also the narrator's voice and all of the variations that can be made with it, such as different tones.

    The kind of television program does not matter. Every program--infomercials, documentaries, sporting events, game shows, news, etc.--presents objective realities with all kinds of content that would not exist independent of television.

    Some of what television presents is modified for television, of course. There were political debates, sporting events, etc. before television--before all electronic media--but such things are often modified to be presented on television profitably.

    Why do we do all of that?

    For entertainment.

    Not many people are going to watch television to see and hear that a person was murdered on this date at that place in that manner. But throw in a narrator saying in an eerie voice how the killer "may have committed the perfect crime" and interviews with journalists, detectives, etc. who describe the crime as "unconscionable" and who say things like how the killer defines evil and you've got an audience.

    There are objective realities to be found on television. But it does not take long for one's mind to become filled with and numb to all of the sensationalism with which those realities are presented. At that point it is easy for reality to become distorted and/or for one to fail to see where reality has already been distorted.

    Often--after my mind has had time to clear--I find myself wondering: was that murderer really that bad of a person? Was that crime really that horrific? Was that touchdown pass really that exceptional? Is it really that life-changing to win $10,000?

    It all begs a question: how much of television content reflects objective reality? Does even 10% of television content reflect objective reality?

    Why do we want and/or need so much entertainment?

    Does it not matter that that entertainment is shaping how we see ourselves, others and the world that we live in?

    Really, I said in that aforementioned conversation, the only reason that I watch television is because--subconsciously if not consciously--I feel that I have to keep up with at least some of what is on television or I risk not being able to function effectively in society and being alienated.

    I just think that the more that I can experience the world without it first being filtered through the medium of television, the better.

    Walking through the woods. Watching a baseball game in person. Gazing at the stars. Working on a mathematical problem. Reading an essay. There is so much to experience without the medium of television.

    And there are probably many things that we miss by experiencing so much through the medium of television.

    More importantly, our best judgement may depend on seeing as little as possible through the medium of television.
     
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  2. RED that's ME

    RED that's ME *~*God *IS* Love*~*

    +1,299
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    I don't watch a lot of TV cause IMO there's too much negativity on there. We get dragged down enough living in the real world to have to watch more. :D
    Scripture tells us to think on "good"things and watching regular on tv murders, lying, adultery etc... is not keeping your mind on good things. :)

    Phillipians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
     
  3. RobotHouse

    RobotHouse New Member

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    I think it depends on what you are looking at and what you consider to be "objective reality". The media is a complicated thing. In vast majority of TV I would say no, it doesn't reflect reality. Most news doesn't reflect reality. Since the first Gulf War it's become more like "News Entertainment", where people can satisfy their bloodlust any time they wish.

    Television isn't even a very good alternative reality. Compared to the Internet and Video Games, it's just not that immersive. To give an example, the average male between 18 and 34 now watches just 27 minutes of television per day, versus over 2 hours of Internet time per day.

    Television media is not even efficient at what it is trying to accomplish: deliver an alternative reality.
     
  4. LOVEthroughINTELLECT

    LOVEthroughINTELLECT The courage to be human

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    Are there really people who are that way?

    I only watch/listen to/read media coverage of military actions for the information.

    Are there actually people who consume such coverage for the violence? Is there evidence in the social sciences of such a phenomenon?

    I have no concept of it.

    I understand that people consume movies, video games, etc. for the violence, but the news media?
     
  5. Fremdin

    Fremdin Contributor

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    TV is not objective reality, but it does objectify reality.
    Give them bread and circuses and they'll be happy
     
  6. RobotHouse

    RobotHouse New Member

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    Of course there are. Do you think the news media shows footage shot from the camera of a smart weapon to inform? They are doing it to satisfy the gun fetish of the American public. We're all guilty of it. Watching all that technology blow [wash my mouth][wash my mouth][wash my mouth][wash my mouth] up is thrilling.

    I'll have to go through some of my books and some articles to see if I can find actual scholarly work on the phenomenon, but I'm sure it is well documented.
     
  7. RobotHouse

    RobotHouse New Member

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    I think your post is asking a very profound question. Why DO we need entertainment, indeed? Entertainment has existed as long as civilization itself, but only in the past 80 or so years has it been available to anyone outside of earshot.

    So what's the importance of entertainment? First and foremost it's an escape from reality. It lets you forget your problems for an hour or two, not unlike a drug. Our electronic, networked, 24/7, interactive, virtual-reality entertainment is just an escape.

    But what are we escaping from? Our lives are now so permeated by entertainment and media that in order to "escape", we must go back to the simpler things: take a walk in a forest, but forget the iPod. Take a bike ride, but don't look up because you'll catch CNN on the billboard over your head.

    I dunno. I need to collect my thoughts on this because it's a big question. I need to do some reading because I think this is an important question to try to understand. This is a fantastic post.
     
  8. LOVEthroughINTELLECT

    LOVEthroughINTELLECT The courage to be human

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    With respect to negative content, do you think that the problem is simply quantity and/or proportion or is the problem that it is a distortion of reality?

    It does not bother me that, say, 75% of news stories are negative. What bothers me is that the negative content is presented largely out of context, one story after another, and consequently we get a narrow view of people, places and the world that we live in.

    Consequently, people who are not careful, critical consumers of mass communications get the perception that their communities and the world are becoming increasingly corrupt, dangerous, unstable, etc. And it seems that with a lot of people it goes from being a perception to being a belief.

    In reality, violent crime may be at all time lows in many places. In reality, political instability may be less widespread than at any other time in recorded history. In reality, the devastation from natural disasters may be proportionally less than in the past due to better awareness, better urban planning, better building codes, better preparedness, etc.

    But we do not get that context. We simply get a report about the latest mass shooting immediately followed by a report about the latest serial child molester.
     
  9. RobotHouse

    RobotHouse New Member

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    That's right. It's important to take everything in stride. However the media is also guilty of the opposite: We do not see how truly gruesome some aspects of the news are. We get this version of the truth specifically designed to provide us with a narrow, ignorant view. You see war, but you don't see real war. You see the "cool" aspects of war, the "exciting" aspects of war, but you don't see the children in the school next to that building the tomahawk missile knocked down. You don't see the victims horribly maimed by vicious weapons of war. You don't see their faces. Everything is impersonal because the victims are not human, not to you. They're just another character in "Baghdad: REAL-LIFE STORIES FROM THE MIDDLE EAST"

    The news media is walking a fine line. Keeping us ignorant of the true horrors of war, while feeding us just enough to satisfy our bloodlust.
     
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