Thursday, March 11, 2010

An Early Warning (1958)

"We are currently wealthy, fat, comfortable and complacent. We have currently a built-in allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information. Our mass media reflect this. But unless we get up off our fat surpluses and recognize that television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse and insulate us, then television and those who finance it, those who look at it and those who work at it, may see a totally different picture too late."
Edward R. Murrow

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely person! I admire this genuine example of democratic culture. I just now read several articles on him strolling around in the internet. I also like it if a person has an oligocultural background and didn't become a case of moral schizophrenia (which often occurs when different value systems and different priorities have to be amalgamated). He has english, german, scottish and irish ancestors, and his parents were Quakers.

    And what an exciting time when radio technology was expanding but still had the slow rhythm of a time when you couln't send a message if you had no stamps and a stamp was still an expense to consider.

    I find Murrows early attitude of caution very beautiful and reasonable, but I am not sure that the TV really insulates. It is wonderful when you meet someone from a distant part of the world and discover that you have some common memories like Lassy and Flipper!

    Shortly after the invention of printing books there have been very similar allarms on reading. It was statedthat violence was increasing etc. etc.

    And the deluding power of the TV is a little thing, if we only learn at school how one should look at it. Not the content of the TV has to be realistic, but the audience. One should learn at school what is important to pay attention on when we have a TV in front of us.

    Murrow's skepticism belongs to a time when the TV was like a holy machine in the living room which wasn't cheap to use and which therefore too got exaggerated attention!!
    Nowadays, as TVs consume much less energy, there are families - especially in the south - which have the TV continuously switched on, but noone is listening...

    Let us consider the implicit positive aspect of freedom of this irresponsable, careless waste of electric energy. We do not like this unreasonable behaviour, nevertheless, the aspect of freedom is conforting.