That might be a horrifying notion but I’m sure there are people who think of television as perhaps one of their most intimate friends. And if the TV tells them that things in the world are a certain way, even if the evidence of their senses asserts it is not true, they’ll probably believe the television set in the end. It’s an alarming thought but we brought it upon ourselves. I mean, I think that television is one of the most diabolical — in the very best sense of the word — inventions of the past century. It has probably done more to degrade the mind and intelligence of its audience, even if they happen to be drug addicts or alcoholics; I would think that watching television has done more to limit their horizons in the long run. And it has also distorted our culture.
Alan Moore is the writer of many excellent graphic novels, including V for Vendetta, From Hell and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. In this excellent interview on Salon, he explains (among other things) his very bleak vision of what TV is doing to us, our culture and particularly to politics. President Springsteen, anyone? Via Boingboing.
I’m not sure my view of the effect of TV is quite so pessimistic, and at the very least you have to factor in all the good that having cheap, globally accessible mass media has brought. I have a deep conviction though, that the sheer amount of time spent in front of TV’s all over the world could be used for better purposes, and does on the whole not contribute much to our happiness.