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Gerry Mander on the necessity to eliminate television by Alan Pert

Gerry Mander's Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television is one of the best books about TV and its deleterious effects.The book is also a penetrating criticism of modern society and some of the social forces that control our lives.

An artificial world

We live in an increasingly artificial world, cut off from the natural environment.For example, look at the average office: artificial light and air,drab decor, a sterile environment.Why is this so?To control people's behaviour.Everything natural is eliminated so that people will focus on the narrow task at hand.Great for machines, but people are not machines(not yet completely).The point to emphasise is that by controlling the environment of living beings you control their behaviour.TV is a powerful tool for changing the environment of people and thus their behaviour.Just as the power holders have colonized the physical world, they have "colonized" the human mind, using TV as a weapon.

The problem is TV itself

Most critics of TV concentrate on the quality of programs.They usually advocate controlled TV watching and "better" programs, especially for children.(It is often assumed that adults are immune to the insidious effects of TV, which is not the case at all.)Mander shows that TV by its very nature has a negative effect on people.Therefore it is no good trying to improve the programs,TV itself must be eliminated.

TV is mind control

A TV picture consists of 300,000 dots of light, beamed at high power into the brain.The TV picture exists only in the brain of the viewer.TV pictures lodge in the brain against our will.Whatever is on TV is "unreal".It is something made up, or a highly distorted segment of true experience.TV substitutes an artificial world in place of the real thing.People thus get out of touch with their true nature and genuine experience.Hence TV viewers are are much more susceptable to the advertisers and the image makers.Mander has had much experience in advertising,and he explains that if something is advertised we don't need it.Those things we really need we go and find anyway.Advertising creates false needs.

Although TV was invented in the 1920's, it had no practical use until after 1945.The consumer society was developed in order to take up the economic slack after the War.However, people were used to saving their spare cash, not spending it.TV was seized upon as a potent vehicle to promote a consumption lifestyle.Advertising and programs relentlessly pushed the nuclear family in a suburban house with the latest gadgets as the ideal way to live.TV is not harmless entertainment, it is a powerful tool used to shape people's lives by vested interests.TV has a tremendous impact on our society.For example TV networks have taken over major sports, changed the rules to suit TV, and eliminated local teams.It is all part of the trend in modern society to break down community and impose artificial experience.

Since the 1970's there has been a big push by transnational companies to "consumerise" the world, in the creation of the global economy.TV is used to pave the way for this process.Mander documents the devasting effects of TV on a community of Canadian Indians.The people became hooked on TV and neglected their traditional ways.They imitated the negative behaviour which they saw on the TV programs.

TV is boring

Mander shows how TV is naturally boring.Why would people sit in a darkened room 4-6 hours a day watching light flickering?Real life has been taken away, and we are sold back a substitute life.To keep attention, the TV picture has to keep changing.Each change is called a technical event.When Mander
wrote there were 6-10 technical events per minute, now there are 15-20 per minute.Some music videos have a technical event every second or more, which can only harm the brain.TV takes away our inner space and our capacity to think.Teachers have noticed a drastic decline in the attention span of students.TV is an addiction:people say they would like to give it up, but they can't.Like hard drugs, the more you get the more you want.

The very nature of television is insidious.The constantly changing pictures capture the attention of the brain.This is why absolute garbage can be transmitted.As Marshall McLuhan said , "the medium is the massage".The TV picture is as insubstantial as a ghost, yet it can be imprinted on the brain.

TV and violence

By the time they are 11 years old, children watching US TV will have seen 100,000 violent acts in addition to 8,000 murders.In the 1950's, only 15% of prime-time TV shows featured crime and violence.By 1990, 70-80% of prime-time programs featured at least one threat to hurt or kill.A noticeable change in TV violence occurred in the 1980's when violence in week-end programming for children increased by 36%.(The Lancet Jan15 1994)

W.James Potter et al. in a study found that on non-fiction programs there were 32.5 anti- social acts per hour.These acts were far above the rate of occurrence in the real world.88% of aggressive acts on TV entertainment programs were portrayed as being rewarded. (p.72)

The TV industry puts forward dubious arguments to play down the influence of violence on TV.They say an ordinary person doesn't watch a murder then go out and kill someone.This is a simplistic argument.Many studies have shown that some people (males) are more accepting of violent behaviour after extended viewing.Some say that TV violence is just a harmless outlet for the viewer.But this is not so.Things that happen around us have an effect on us.An old saying goes:"You become what you behold".Violence on TV is bad not only for children, but for people of any age.

Mander says violence on TV is one of the few ways to get a reaction from viewers, because it can produce fear.TV requires much movement, people being kind to each other is just boring on TV.I would add extra reasons for violence.It's easy: murder, fighting, chasing require little imagination to produce.It's the same stuff repeated over and over again.The violent man, such as Clint Eastwood,Rambo, Chuck Norris, etc. can be seen as a backlash against feminism in the way macho behaviour is promoted.These programs are deliberately aimed at (young) males who absorb the anti-social values that are portrayed.Further, as there is no national service these days to militarise the youth, so they are conditioned to accept violence through many TV programs.It is a sign of moral decline that violence is so prevalent on TV and other media.Those who think that such violence is harmless have a vested interest in it or or their moral faculties are dulled.

These penetrating comments have been made by Jose Arguelles:

"If the popular aesthetic of our mechanized society owes its crude and sex-drenched taste to anyone, it is to the Marquis [de Sade], who has finally been vindicated by the emergence of a culture fully absorbed by pornography and violence.The bloody spectacles that occur nightly on televisionand the titillating motion pictures now showing in every major urban center are a tribute to his insight, for he divined in the aesthetically stunted psyche of the modern sensibility the primitive hunger for blood and sex.The psychophysicist Charles Henry once commented:'Sadism will live as long as there is no aesthetic in our lives nor solidarity in our social situation' ".(p.72) People have become so debased, de-sensitised and dehumanised that mindless brute violence has appeal.This happens in a dying Age.A parallel is the bloodlust of the Roman coliseum nearly 2,000 years ago.

Causing brain damage to the very young

A very disturbing trend is how TV is being used to take over the minds of the young.In 1983 pre-schoolers in the US watched 4 hours of TV each day.Infants from one year up are being targetted by shows such as Teletubbies.Joseph Chilton Pearce has shown that TV viewing by young children destroys their capacity to imagine.It destroys the inner space needed for personal identity.Later in life these children will feel empty inside and many will turn to drugs for escape from the banality of thier world.To a young child the world is magical, and they don't need artificial stimulation from TV.These shows are associated with many products, which naturally the tiny viewers want."Get them when they are young" is the motto, and it is having disastrous consequences on the quality of life.Among youths suicide has overtaken auto accidents as the largest cause of death,due partly to the promotion of false values and a sterile life attitude by TV.

Television destroys traditions and communities

Since the early 1970's the trans national corporations have been working hard to "consumerise" the whole world.TV has been introduced in the Third World to pathe the way for major change and exploitation of people and the land.People want the products and lifestyle they see on TV and at the same time their traditional ways are destroyed. The damage is done in a very short time.Mander relates how the introduction of TV to a Canadian Indian community damaged the traditional lifestyle.For example, story telling, a time honoured way of passing on tribal knowledge, was neglected.People started imitating the negative behaviour portrayed in TV shows.

The role of television stations

What social responsibilities do TV stations accept? Very rarely a station may have a phone-in for a hospital or a charity.Any good they do is miniscule compared to the harm they do.TV stations promote sexism,violence, anti-social behaviour and gross consumerism.When has a TV station promoted non sexism, or supported conservation measures, or any progressive social action?Never! Not only are TV stations business organisations out to maximise profits, they are agents of mind control.

The only answer is to eliminate television

It is not good enough to improve programs and control TV viewing, especially that of children.Since Mander wrote his book programs have got worse.For example,"Married With Children" is a show that could only be made in a society that is in severe moral decline.The characters are selfish and nasty to one another.It is not a bit of harmless fun, it conveys undesirable behaviour that some viewers imitate.These negative shows poison the mental atmosphere of society.They reveal that things are seriously wrong in modern society.There is talk about putting program control devices on TV sets, but you can be sure kids will find ways to get around them.It won't stop adults from watching garbage.

Out of nearly 10,000 books on television,Mander found that none advocated the elimination of this medium.People have grown to accept the idiot box, and don't realize the harm that it is doing.Mander convincingly shows that television by its very nature is detrimental to human well-being.The medium is the message.Even if control of TV could be taken away from the vested interests, it would not change the nature of the beast.TV can only have a mind-numbing and alienating effect on people.

Some References
Arguelles, Jose The Transformative Vision: reflections on the nature and history of human expression. Fort Yates:Muse Publications,1992
The Lancet 1994, v343, n8890,Jan 15,pp127-28(Editorial)
Mander, Jerry Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television.Brighton:Harvester Press,1980
In the Absence of the Sacred:the failure of technology and the survival of the Indian nations.
San Francisco:Sierra Club Books,1992
Pearce,Joseph C. Evolution's End:claiming the potential of our intellegence.San Francisco:Harper, 1992
Postman, Neil Amusing Ourselves to Death: public discourse in the age of show business.New York:Viking, 1985
Potter,W.James et al."Antisocial acts in reality programming on television",Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media 1997,v41,n1,Winter,pp.69-90

cf: "The Land of 'MURKA.'

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17 comments

25 Dec 2005 @ 05:48 by jobrown : Thanks Vax,
you're so right on! I love that: "If it is advertised it is not needed" . Booyyy, isn't that the truth! Merry an'Happy Everything to you -'n' some thousand HUGS!/
A-d

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Yeah, I love that one too...
So, how's it going in Sackville? ;)
Pretty church. Lots of snow and a white Christ-mas?
Glad to see you're still able to comm., w' us.  



25 Dec 2005 @ 11:47 by jazzolog : Is Your Computer Controlling Your Mind?
I mean, why not? Look at all the mind control at NCN: tons of Logwriters telling you what to do. And what about the Chats? In you go, and immediately somebody tries to engage you...in a tryst, a fight---and what if you resist? Ostracism and torture. You may even be dragged before a Complaint Committee! And then there are all these little pixels playing with your brain. Type "online hypnotist" into Google and see who you meet...and how easily it's done. Eliminate computers I say!

I'm sure there were cynics in the crowd at the Athenian amphitheater too. That Sophocles was brainwashing those people...even then! They sat transfixed by those masks and weird music...stories of horror pouring into their frightened brains. And what about church ritual? There's mind control for you! Some people even believe wine is changed to blood in your mouth. All theatre is mind control!

And how about the pictures those apemen were drawing on the cave walls? More mind control. Sitting there, looking at them in the flickering light: what chance did a neanderthal have? Eliminate art now!

Oops, what day is it? I just snapped myself out of it! I'm as light as a feather, merry as a schoolboy. Hallloooooo, hallloooooo.
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Since your psychocognitive levels have been blunted by current Weltenshauungskrieg I won't expect more from you jazzolog. Your very well 'tailored' belief system will not grant you the pharmakeia necessary towards any real unravelling of how the 'Science of Coercion' has engineered your consent. The memes that you've ingested are 'self fulfilling prophecies.' And you think it's about 'Christmas?'

TVNL Editor's Comments: The news networks found the time to report on John Conyers today. The only problem is that they seemed to completely overlook his papers exploring the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and they chose to cover the bar fight that his wife got into. So let me ask you this…when news networks ignore the potential and warranted calls for the impeachment of a sitting president and report instead about a “girl fight” are we still supposed to trust them?

So…when will your outrage against the media reach the level that it deserves? When do we tear down completely the current news establishments and start all over? When will we impeach, by any means possible, the corporate media? When will we treat the members of these institutions like the criminals that they are?

If this nation ever wakes from its slumber every broadcast news criminal will be scared to be seen in public for fear of retribution. And in my opinion…until that happens we don’t stand a chance of defeating the enemies who have hijacked our nation. Think about it! – Jesse, Editor, http://www.TvNewsLIES.org


 



25 Dec 2005 @ 12:38 by vibrani : Oh Jazz
hahahahahahaha that was good. You forgot music and singing! In fact, all talking should immediately cease because it's all mind control.
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Ah, yes, Vibrani. The point of your missing the point is the point.

The London Review of Books is beyond doubt the loftiest literary journal in Britain. While the rest of the world cheerfully dumbs down, the LRB adopts a stance of unabashed intellectualism. In the current issue we find Julian Barnes discoursing on Georges Braque, a critique of the work of the Polish poet Adam Zagajewski and an unfeasibly long and learned review of Plat du Jour, “an album of dance tracks on the theme of food”.

Oliver North
The Prince of Peace
"Supporting the troops in their mission as we pray for their safety would be wonderful gifts this Christmas."

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article8210.htm

*****************************

Do you realize that all of this has nothing whatsoever to do with your being, your essence?

Vibe  



25 Dec 2005 @ 15:51 by judih : my mind, your mind, our mind
mindless emptiness rattling around an infinite universe.

ions hit ions, repel, attract, laugh and move on
(who hid the remote control?)  



26 Dec 2005 @ 07:12 by jazzolog : Did You Check Under The Cushions?
That's where our remote usually turns up. Did a devious someone hide it...or through carelessness, laziness did it just slip away from us? There is a place near the TV set for the remote...but is it conspiracy if it isn't there?

I don't dispute the evil of the media industry. I want to see the Federal Communications Commission, in the US, restored to its pre-Reagan potential as a fair referee of the shenanigans. The guys running the mind control these days just ain't got no romantic imagination in their inductions. It's all neuro-synapse based...and the jingles aren't as good as the old days. Ah, what nostalgia for the sexier seductions of salesclerks of yore!  



26 Dec 2005 @ 10:26 by judih : yeah, when a subliminal message
was subliminal
When the medium was the message
When we were all so occupied filling in the Lichtenstein dots that we didn't get bored watching Lassie. Ah, the sweet hypnosis of innocent interaction.

==============================================

That's the point, dear lady, the "MEDIUM," ah, the "MEDIUM," ah, Hello!
The "medium" IS, IS, IS, the message. ;)

Fortuanately, or not, I rebelled at a very early age and that lead to untoward experiences with the 'status quo.' and unsuspecting idiota (L. Pl) who wanted me to die with them entranced by utter stupidity like Andy Griffith and Lassie and...

Hag Sameah! ;)

___________________________
Hag Sameah lecha, vax.

medium rare? oxymoron!
medium ubiquitous.

got the message early on. Lassie went home and i went in the opposite direction. Look what happened to me? found my way home by running as far as possible.

me- d. yum  



26 Dec 2005 @ 20:06 by joda : the funny way
to eliminate television would be to make it trendy to not watch TV.
we just need some mass medium to propagate the idea :D
==============================================
Mass Agendum:

Project Starfish

On July 9, 1962, the US began a further series of experiments with the ionosphere. From their description: "one kiloton device, at a height of 60 km and one megaton and one multi-megaton, at several hundred kilometers height" (K.H.A., 29 June 1962). These tests seriously disturbed the lower Van Allen Belt, substantially altering its shape and intensity.

"In this experiment the inner Van Allen Belt will be practically destroyed for a period of time; particles from the Belt will be transported to the atmosphere. It is anticipated that the earth's magnetic field will be disturbed over long distances for several hours, preventing radio communication. The explosion in the inner radiation belt will create an artificial dome of polar light that will be visible from Los Angeles" (K.H.A. 11 May 1962).

A Fijian Sailor, present at this nuclear explosion, told me that the whole sky was on fire and he thought it would be the end of the world. This was the experiment which called forth the strong protest of the Queen's Astronomer, Sir Martin Ryle in the UK.

"The ionosphere [according to the under-standing at that time] that part of the atmosphere between 65 and 80 km and 280- 320 km height, will be disrupted by mechanical forces caused by the pressure wave following the explosion. At the same time, large quantities of ionizing radiation will be released, further ionizing the gaseous components of the atmosphere at this height. This ionization effect is strengthened by the radiation from the fission products...

The lower Van Allen Belt, consisting of charged particles that move along the geomagnetic field lines... will similarly be disrupted. As a result of the explosion, this field will be locally destroyed, while countless new electrons will be introduced into the lower belt" (K.H.A. 11 May 1962).

"On 19 July... NASA announced that as a consequence of the high altitude nuclear test of July 9, a new radiation belt had been formed, stretching from a height of about 400 km to 1600 km; it can be seen as a temporary extension of the lower Van Allen Belt" (K.H.A. 5 August 1962).

As explained in the Encyclopedia Britannica:

"... Starfish made a much wider belt [than Project Argus] that extends from low altitude out past L=3 [i.e. three earth radiuses or about 13,000 km above the surface of the earth]."

Later in 1962, the USSR undertook similar planetary experiments, creating three new radiation belts between 7,000 and 13,000 km above the earth. According to the Encyclopedia, the electron fluxes in the lower Van Allen Belt have changed markedly since the 1962 high- altitude nuclear explosions by the US and USSR, never returning to their former state. According to American scientists, it could take many hundreds of years for the Van Allen Belts to destabilize at their normal levels. (Research done by: Nigel Harle, Borderland Archives, Cortenbachstraat 32, 6136 CH Sittard, Netherlands.)  



28 Dec 2005 @ 19:03 by swan : I agree the media is controlling the
masses and if one pulls their foot out of the sticky web, which is not easy to do, they would find that they have a choice. They can turn the damn thing off! Throw it out the window, stomp on it... If enough people turned it off they would have to find another way to try to get to us. I like the idea of making it trendy not to watch TV. I stopped watching TV for seven years. I don't think I missed anything. I watched again for a while and found it was wasting my time again so I am TV free again....Computers might be doing the same thing as TV, just as Richard said. You have to make conscious choices when using the computer too. Who knows if we can belief half of what we find on the net? As for being pulled into internet fights...resist...resist...resist.  


28 Dec 2005 @ 21:39 by vibrani : We always have a choice!
No matter what we're watching, whether or not we agree with it or accept it as fact or truth. What about programs on the Discovery channel, or PBS, for instance? There is a lot on TV that is worth watching and I have learned tons from such programs about new medical inventions, new technology, new discoveries.  


28 Dec 2005 @ 22:01 by swan : I personally am talking about commercial
television and the programs they run, and the messages that come from them. I have never had cable, and am not interested in having it, but I am told there are a lot of good programs,like you mention, Nora. I think it can keep people from experiencing the real world, exploring creativity and having relationships with other people.

If you stop watching TV for a period of time you can actually see this energy that is referred to here: "A TV picture consists of 300,000 dots of light, beamed at high power into the brain." It is hypnotic.  



28 Dec 2005 @ 23:42 by vibrani : Public tv
yes, I agree with you about that, and even so I do enjoy a couple of programs for the writing and entertainment. I have been without TV for extended periods of time, and I didn't miss it terribly, but a little bit. I enjoy finding out what's going on in the world (helps locally, too), and having a show I can laugh at, to relax and just chill out. Having a TV doesn't mean one stops living, Swan! lol People do read, meditate, mingle with other people, work, have hobbies, garden, etc. and still have televisions. Tell a vision...is all it is. And you can believe that Vax watches TV, hahaha he sure does.

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And you can also believe that Vibrani does not know what I do!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Why should anyone believe that, Vax?  



29 Dec 2005 @ 03:19 by vibrani : lol
Oh come on, Vax. I know you watch television. What's the big deal?  


29 Dec 2005 @ 13:56 by swan : I don't think I said people stop living
if they watch tv, Nora, I said "it can" impact living. A lot of people do stop living and become perpetual TV viewers with TV on 24/7. I have see it. I have also heard people whose only conversations are about what TV show they watched last night.  


29 Dec 2005 @ 19:32 by vibrani : At least
they're talking about something they shared. I like to discuss the plays I see with others who saw them. Any difference? Look, Swan, I'm not trying to be difficult, but I am trying to make a point. Did you see what happened in New Orleans on telelvision? Did television play any role in your knowledge of Katrina and the aftermath, and you going there? Or did you get that all by the internet or radio or newspapers? In Ancient Greece, people talked about the Olympics or a comedy or drama they saw. In some cultures it was ritual sacrifices or churches, even the Inquisition or the Salem witch trials that was talked about, viewed in some ways as entertainment. In merry old England people talked about Shakespeare's plays they went to see. People, kids, today talk about the circus they saw, or the mime artist on the street, or the puppet show in the park. Entertainment, religious rituals, pagentry, theatre - as old as humankind. Our parents' generation had radio programs that were HUGE! Everyone listened and talked about them. Television is the medium we grew up with. Computers and cell phones are our children's mediums. There is always something. Is it all negative, should we throw all of it out because it's all contolling us? We are making the choice to watch or not watch. And sometimes it's really nice (and healing) to veg out and give the brain a rest and have a good laugh.  


29 Dec 2005 @ 20:40 by swan : I actually didn't see what happened in
New Orleans on TV. I am not trying to be difficult either, I happen to agree with what this article says about TV and mind control. There are a lot of people who do not have the awareness that they are being controlled by the media and the media is taking advantage of them. That is my point.  


29 Dec 2005 @ 20:50 by vibrani : The only answer I have
is that people need to reconnect with the Source within themselves, within their body, with their feelings. It's how another "gets" people to change their consciousness. Think this article will do it? It takes a lot to get people to really see and hear and feel...they're so busy with their brains and chatter in their heads, not living in the now. Repetitive explanations may work in time...or just being the living example of it. It's the same thing no matter what is the topic in the world, that's how I see it. It all comes down to personal awareness (knowing themselves fully) and responsibility. So what was your major source for finding out about what happened in New Orleans?  


29 Dec 2005 @ 23:02 by swan : The my group of friends who went
down there before me were my major source of information about what was happening in New Orleans. People who saw it first hand right after the hurricane hit.  


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