Thursday, October 09, 2014

TV Time

According to, John Logie Baird was the first to demonstrate a television system. He did so in London in 1925. The BBC began the world's first regular television broadcasts in January 1929. In 1939 RCA began the first commercial public television broadcasts in the United States. The growth from there has been tremendous. The Grolier Encyclopedia says that the number of U.S. homes with TVs was 6,000 in 1946, then rose to about 12 million by 1951. By 1955 half of all U.S. homes had a TV, and by the late 1990s, 98% of homes in the U.S. had at least one television. In 2010, Nielsen reported that the average American home had 2.93 TV sets. The number of people in homes with TVs averages 2.5, meaning the average home has more TVs than people. According to surveys reported by Grolier, Americans spend from 2-1/2 to 5 hours per day watching television. That's not that hard to do. Sit down at 8 p.m., watch a couple shows and then the 10 o'clock news, and you've got your 2-1/2 hours right there. In 2012, Nielsen reported that “The average American watches nearly five hours of video each day, 98 percent of which they watch on a traditional TV set.” This report does not include “consumption on computers, phones or tablets like the iPad.”

I'm not of the persuasion and owning a television or watching it is a sin. But I am persuaded that the overall effect of television is a detriment to our society, and generally at enmity with/to Christian principles. The combined mind-numbing drivel and graphic portrayals that bombard us with ?? eventually effects how we think.

The “idolatry of the star.” Famous & not-so-famous actors and actresses are exalted to heroes, idols, and “role-models.” Why does the internet follow every move the Kardashians make? Why do we care what some star’s political views are? What qualifications do they have to guide us down philosophical paths? Why do Christians ask for prayer for figments who are only characters in a TV show? (Yes, this has happened and is not just an urban myth.) Just because someone has fortune and fame does not mean they know anything about anything else, or are positioned to be a role model to our youth.

The rejection of moral principles. I would say that many of the producers of television fare are probably faithful to their own principles, whatever they are. But a steady diet of television will sometimes lead the viewer to compromise or reject his or her moral principles. Take a Christian who is convinced that personal revenge is wrong, and just retribution belongs to God. Sit him or her down in front of a well-written, well-directed and well-acted western in which the family of the protagonist meets an ill fate – say desperadoes rape his wife and kill his children. Nearing the end of the movie, the Christian is cheering the hero on to get his revenge! Take a Christian who is convinced that sex outside of marriage is wrong. Sit him or her down in front of a well-written, well-directed and well-acted “love story” in which against all odds the hero and heroine come together in the end – and before they are married! At the point, the Christian is has tears of joy because all has turned out all right. What is happening? A dramatic presentation – not necessarily conspiratorial, but reflective of the Hollywood culture – is slowly changing how we think and feel. Enough of that, and how long is it before we begin to act on it?

Watch what you choose wisely, and choose wisely what you watch.

No comments: