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People no longer talk to each other, they entertain each other. We do not exchange ideas, we exchange images. We do not argue with propositions but with good looks, celebrities, and commercials.
A news show is a format for entertainment, not for education, reflection or catharsis. Thinking does not play well on television, as there is not much to see in it. It’s not a performing art.
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Television alters the meaning of “being informed” by creating misleading information: misplaced, irrelevant, fragmented or superficial information that creates the illusion of knowing something. We lose the sense of what it means to be well informed. Ignorance is always correctable. But what shal...
On television, nearly every half hour is a discrete event, separated in content, context, and emotional texture from what precedes and follows it. News are fragmented and without context, consequences, value, or seriousness; they are pure entertainment. The average length of any news story is for...
Since intelligence is primarily defined as one’s capacity to grasp the truth of things, it follows that what a culture means by intelligence is derived from the character of its important forms of communication. A major new medium changes the structure of communication by creating new for...
The new education is based on the speed-of-light electronic image, with new conceptions of knowledge and how it is acquired. There are three commandments that form the philosophy of the education which television offers:
No prerequisites: every television program must be a ...
The television is devoted entirely to supplying its audience with entertainment. The average length of a shot on network television is only 3.5 seconds. The eye never rests and has always something new to see. It offers a variety of subjects that require minimal skills to understand and is aimed ...
There are two literary dystopian visions:
Politics, religion, news, athletics, education, and commerce have been transformed into congenial adjuncts of show business. America favors all those who possess both a talent and a format to amuse. As a result, we as people are on the verge of amusing ourselves to death.
Pseudo-context: a structure invented to give fragmented and irrelevant information a seeming use. The use it provides is not action, or problem-solving, or change, only information with no genuine connection to our lives
The Peek-a-Boo World: all new media ...
Telegraphy brought into being a world of broken time attention. Its main strength was the capacity to move information, not collect it, explain it or analyze it.
The telegraph introduced the language of headlines—sensational, fragmented, impersonal. Its language was discont...
Although culture is a creation of speech, it is recreated anew by every medium of communication. Each medium creates a unique mode of communication by providing a new orientation for thought, for expression, for sensibility.
Communication on television is largely done in images, not words....
In a culture dominated by print, communication follows a coherent, orderly arrangement of facts and ideas. The definition of intelligence gives priority to the objective, rational use of the mind. At the same time, it encourages forms of public discourse with serious, logically ordered content. T...
The concept of truth is intimately linked to the biases of forms of expression. The truth must be presented in a certain clothing or it’s not acknowledged. Each culture conceives of it as being most authentically expressed in certain symbolic forms that another culture may regard as trivial or ir...
Toward the end of the nineteenth century, print began to show the early signs of its replacement. Its replacement was to be the Age of Show Business.
In the middle of the 19th century, two ideas laid the foundation for the Age of Show Business:
Changing the form of expression also change its meaning, texture or value. Being present and talking to a friend who just lost a loved one has a different meaning than a condolence card. What is televised is transformed from what it was to something else, which may or may not preserve its former ...
Before telegraphy, the information-action ratio was sufficiently close so that most people had a sense of being able to control some of the contingencies in their lives. What people knew about had action-value. However, this sense of potency was lost with telegraphy, precisely because the whole w...
Show business main business is to please the crowd. With the switch to television, politics became show business. The idea is not to pursue excellence, clarity or honesty, but to appear as if you are. The television is the main vehicle to present political ideas, used in political campai...
When people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility. The problem, in any case, does not reside in what people watch. The problem is in that we watch. The solution must be found in how we watch. No medi...
The value of information need not be tied to any function it might serve in social and political decision-making and action but may attach merely to its novelty, interest, and curiosity. The telegraph made information into a commodity, a “thing” that could be bought and sold irrespective of its u...
A book is all history. As no other medium before or since, the book promotes a sense of a coherent and usable past. Television is a speed-of-light medium that permits no access to the past. Everything presented in moving pictures is experienced as happening “now”. Its purpose is to move fragments...
The influence of the printed word in every area of public communication was insistent and powerful not merely because of the quantity of printed matter but because of its monopoly. If you wanted to exchange ideas, you did so in a pamphlet, a debate forum, or a lecture.
These were all place...
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