Television. The opiate of our society. 31 replies

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#1 10 years ago

ELECTRONIC HEROIN

In the PLUG-IN DRUG, Marie Winn says that television is an addictive drug: "When we think about addiction to drugs or alcohol we frequently focus on negative aspects, ignoring the pleasures that accompany drinking or drug-taking. And yet the essence of any serious addiction is a pursuit of pleasure, a search for a 'high' that normal life does not supply. It is only the inability to function without the addictive substance that is dismaying, the dependence of the organism upon a certain experience and an increasing inability to function normally without it. Thus people will take two or three drinks at the end of the day not merely for the pleasure drinking provides, but also because they 'don't feel normal' without them.

"Real addicts do not merely pursue a pleasurable experience one time in order to function normally. They need to repeat it again and again. Something about that particular experience makes life without it less than complete. Other potentially pleasurable experiences are no longer possible, for under the spell of the addictive experience, their lives are peculiarly distorted. The addict craves an experience and yet is never really satisfied. The organism may be temporarily sated, but soon it begins to crave again.

"Finally, a serious addiction is distinguished from a harmless pursuit of pleasure by its distinctly destructive elements. Heroin addicts, for instance, lead a damaged life: their increasing need for heroin in increasing doses prevents them from working, from maintaining relationships, from developing in human ways. Similarly alcoholics' lives are narrowed and dehumanized by their dependence on alcohol.

"Let us consider television viewing in the light of the conditions that define serious addictions.

"Not unlike drugs or alcohol, the television experience allows the participant to blot out the real world and enter into a pleasurable and passive mental state. The worries and anxieties of reality are as effectively deferred by becoming absorbed in a television program as by going on a 'trip' induced by drugs or alcohol. And just as alcoholics are only vaguely aware of their addiction, feeling that they control their drinking more than they really do ('I can cut it out any time I want—I just like to have three of four drinks before dinner'), people similarly overestimate their control over television watching. Even as they put off other activities to spend hour after hour watching television, they feel they could easily resume living in a different, less passive style. But somehow or other, while the television set is present in their homes, the click doesn't sound. With television pleasures available, those other experiences seem less attractive, more difficult somehow.

"Finally it is the adverse effect of television viewing on the lives of so many people that defines it as a serious addiction. The television habit distorts the sense of time. It renders other experiences vague and curiously unreal while taking on a greater reality for itself. It weakens relationships by reducing and sometimes eliminating normal opportunities for talking, for communicating." [p.p. 23-25, Marie Winn, THE PLUG IN DRUG; Penguin, 1977. ISBN - 0-14-007698-0]

According to the Washington Post, Terence McKenna's FOOD OF THE GODS "Deserves to be the modern classic on mind-altering drugs and hallucinogens." In this modern classic, McKenna convinces us that television is emotionally equivalent to electronic heroin: "The nearest analogy to the addictive power of television and the transformation of values that is wrought in the life of the heavy user is probably heroin. Heroin flattens the image; with heroin, things are neither hot nor cold; the junkie looks out at the world certain that what ever it is, it does not matter. The illusion of knowing and of control that heroin engenders is analogous to the unconscious assumption of the television consumer that what is seen is 'real' somewhere in the world. In fact, what is seen are the cosmetically enhanced surfaces of products. Television, while chemically non-invasive, nevertheless is every bit as addicting and physiologically damaging as any other drug.

"Most unsettling of all is this: the content of television is not a vision but a manufactured data stream that can be sanitized to 'protect' or impose cultural values. Thus we are confronted with an addictive and all-pervasive drug that delivers an experience whose message is whatever those who deal the drug wish it to be. Could anything provide a more fertile ground for fostering fascism and totalitarianism than this? In the United States, there are many more televisions than households, the average television set is on six hours a day, and the average person watches more than five hours a day—nearly one-third of their waking time. Aware as we all are of these simple facts, we seem unable to react to their implications. Serious study of the effects of television on health and culture has only begun recently. Yet no drug in history has so quickly or completely isolated the entire culture of its users from contact with reality. And no drug in history has so completely succeeded in remaking in its own image the values of the culture that it has infected.

"Television is by nature the dominator drug par excellence. Control of content, uniformity of content, repeatability of content make it inevitably a tool of coercion, brainwashing, and manipulation. Television induces a trance state in the viewer that is the necessary precondition for brainwashing. As with all other drugs and technologies, television's basic character cannot be changed; television is no more reformable than is the technology that produces automatic assault rifles." [p.p. 218-220, Terence McKenna, FOOD OF THE GODS; Bantam, 1992. ISBN 0-553-37130-4]

ELECTRONIC HEROIN

It tells you what to eat, drink, wear, buy, believe. It's a slow-morphine drip to keep you too sedated to start thinking critically and objectively about relevant issues. And the worst part is that millions of people in this goddamn nation believe every fucking word it says...

Wake up.




Captain Fist

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#2 10 years ago

I think you're exaggerating a little, Jeffro.




Dot Com

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#3 10 years ago
Ihaterednecks;4792923I think you're exaggerating a little, Jeffro.

Am I? I know a few people close to me who live vicariously through television.

And I'm pretty sure there are millions of people who do the same thing.




emonkies

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#4 10 years ago

Good post and a old song that I think is relevant.

"The Methadone Metronome"

"Television, The Drug of the Nation" Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy from "Hipocrisy is the Greatest Luxury"

One Nation under God has turned into One Nation under the influence of one drug

Television, the drug of the Nation Breeding ignorance and feeding radiation

T.V., it satellite links our United States of unconciousness Apathetic therapeutic and extremely addictive the methadone metronome pumping out 150 channels 24 hours a day you can flip through all of them and still there's nothing worth watching T.V. is the reason why less than ten percent of our Nation reads books daily Why most people think Central America means Kansas Socialism means unamerican and Apartheid is a new headache remedy absorbed in its world it's so hard to find us It shapes our minds the most maybe the mother of our Nation should remind us that we're sitting to close to. . .

Television, the drug of the Nation Breeding ignorance and feeding radiation

T.V. is the stomping ground for political candidates Where bears in the woods are chased by Grecian Formula'd bald eagles T.V. is mechanized politic's remote control over the masses co-sponsered by environmentally safe gases watch for the PBS special It's the perpetuation of the two party system where image takes precedence over wisdom Where sound bite politics are served to the fastfood culture Where straight teeth in your mouth are more important than the words that come out of it Race baiting is the way to get selected Willie Horton or Will he not get elected on . . .

Television, the drug of the Nation Breeding ignorance and feeding radiation

T.V. is it the reflector or the director? Does it imitate us or do we imitate it Because a child watches 1500 murders before he's twelve years old and we wonder how we've created a Jason generation that learns to laugh rather than abhor the horror T.V. is the place where armchair generals and quarterbacks can experience first hand the excitement of video warfare as the theme song is sung in the background Sugar sweet sitcoms that leave us with a bad actor taste while pop stars metamorphosize into soda pop stars You saw the video You heard the soundtrack Well now go buy the soft drink Well, the only cola that I support would be a union C.O.L.A. (Cost of Living Allowance) On Television.

Television, the drug of the Nation Breeding ignorance and feeding radiation

Back again, "New and Improved", we return to our irregularly programmed schedule hidden cleverly between heavy breasted beer and car commericals CNNESPNABCTNT but mostly B.S. Where oxymoronic language like "virtually spotless" "fresh frozen" "light yet filling" and "military intelligence" have become standard T.V. is the place where phrases are redefined like "recession" to "necessary downturn" "crude oil" on a beach to "mousse" "Civilian death" to "collateral damages" and being killed by your own Army is now called "friendly fire" T.V. is the place where the pursuit of happiness has become the pursuit of trivia Where toothpaste and cars have become sex objects Where imagination is sucked out of children by a cathode ray nipple T.V. is the only wet nurse that would create a cripple

Television, the drug of the Nation Breeding ignorance and feeding radiation

On Television . . .




Captain Fist

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#5 10 years ago

Jeffro;4792927Am I? I know a few people close to me who live vicariously through television.

And I'm pretty sure there are millions of people who do the same thing.

Seeing as I'm only 17, I haven't met anyone like that yet, but if it's all true, I'm sure the song I'm the Slime can summarize this issue well.




Demonseed VIP Member

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#6 10 years ago

There will always be people who take any type of recreation to excess. There's nothing wrong with drinking in moderation, movies in moderation, or TV in moderation. The problem arises when you let it control your life.

My personal opinion? If you plan your week around what shows are on, you need help. There is absolutely no reason for that to happen. When a friend tells me, "I can't tonight, Heroes is on!" I just want to slap the stupid right out of them.




Rogue Nine

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#7 10 years ago
Demonseed;4792938My personal opinion? If you plan your week around what shows are on, you need help. There is absolutely no reason for that to happen. When a friend tells me, "I can't tonight, Heroes is on!" I just want to slap the stupid right out of them.

Seriously, haven't they ever heard of TiVo?




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#8 10 years ago
Demonseed;4792938There will always be people who take any type of recreation to excess. There's nothing wrong with drinking in moderation, movies in moderation, or TV in moderation. The problem arises when you let it control your life.

I agree. The problem, however, extends beyond a simple addiction. It goes as far as parents weening/raising their children on it, letting the box substitute their critical thinking processes, and being coerced to turn into a materialistic cipher.

Being bombarded with advertising at every conceivable corner in society (whether on television, on the street, on a billboard, at a ballgame, or in a bar) will sooner or later have an adverse effect on the population. The whole "if you try to live like this character or pop star on television, you will be the hot stuff" attitude that kids (and adults) have is disgusting. They are shaped and manipulated by this bombardment of media, advertising, and nonsense. It's a fucking cancer.




Inyri Forge VIP Member

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#9 10 years ago
Demonseed;4792938When a friend tells me, "I can't tonight, Heroes is on!" I just want to slap the stupid right out of them.

Clearly they like the show better than you. ;)

With many stations featuring streaming online video of the latest episodes put up a day or two after the original air-date this isn't as big an issue before. But hell, before they started doing that I was watching my show, damn it. I think I'm entitled to one night of good entertainment a week without being bothered. You have me the other six days! Don't be selfish. =p




Demonseed VIP Member

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#10 10 years ago

Jeffro;4792953I agree. The problem, however, extends beyond a simple addiction. It goes as far as parents weening/raising their children on it, letting the box substitute their critical thinking processes, and being coerced to turn into a materialistic cipher.

Being bombarded with advertising at every conceivable corner in society (whether on television, on the street, on a billboard, at a ballgame, or in a bar) will sooner or later have an adverse effect on the population. The whole "if you try to live like this character or pop star on television, you will be the hot stuff" attitude that kids (and adults) have is disgusting. They are shaped and manipulated by this bombardment of media, advertising, and nonsense. It's a fucking cancer.

Quite true, but it's not like there aren't parents who do this with everything. Bad parents will be bad parents, regardless of the device they choose to distract their children. It's a sad fact that this is becoming more and more prevalent in our society today.