Thursday, February 17, 2011


"The vast wasteland of television is not interested in producing a better moustrap but in producing a worse mouse."
Laurence C. Coughlin


  1. Since 4 years I am engaged in a laboratory experiment called HTBAGM. It has been developed centuries ago by some primitive people. I started the attendance with a move into a new home which is equipped by all new technology devices as computer, hifi etc but without any TV-receiver. The question of the test was: Will I survive or not? Two answers: Yes, I am still alive, and secondly: I know “How To Become A Good Mouse”.

  2. Unfortunately I must confess by now, it was a very cheap offer, we have got a screen. Only since some few weeks. And definitely restricted for playing DVD´s. It will certainly get dusty and I will neither understand the menu nor the remote control.

  3. What a great quote. Again yet it would be god to know WHEN this has been stated! It reminds me a cartoon (maybe by Robert Crumb) showing a man after WWIII carrying a TV under his left arm and holding a plug in his right hand, searching desperately for a powersocket. 30 years ago I would have considered wonderful this quote, especially in Italy, where the privat TV has been started earlier than in Germany: in 1975 by Mr. Berlusconi.

    But I consider the TV after 3 decades very differently. The TV isn't any more a box staying like an aquarium in the corner of our living room. It has become the aquarium where we all are swimming in, and now we are surfing in the internet and we can even see productions of ZDF, ARD or La7 - which are my personal favorites - in the internet.

    I once saw a service on german TV broadcasting via satellite for the american east coast (that was at the beginning of the nineties), and I remember that the managers where trying to catch mice: i.e. they were affirming that betting on quality and long-term pay-off was revealing the right choice.

    The TV is like a tabooed totem. One doesn't teach at school how the TV has to be looked at. We do not make exercises (not to speak of exams) which trains our TV-looking-skills. We do not teach TV-History at the universities. We have a lot of arrogant musical critics, but we have no clever TV critics.

    I am a self-educated person by 90%: 30% reading, 30% radio, 30% TV! I am kind of an undeviating rodent using the TV as it has to be used: as a tool.

  4. Post scriptum!

    I prefer the "normal" TV to arte!!! Because only the normal TV can give me the semiologic input which works as a mirror of our society.

    I am glad that arte exists, but arte is a product of censorship tailored for sophisticated tastes. Too much intelligence put together into one pot doesn't necessarily make things better and causes unevitably an incestic implosion, as one of the side effects. The imbedding into contexts of banality is the greatest challenge (and what I appreciate of MK is, that he doesn't withdraw in front of it.


  6. Yet there are people, extremely few people, who just do not like TV and never will like it. One of these was my father. He didn't care about. He was not really against it, he didn't "hypoticise" heinous effects on our mind which keeping in touch with this medium might have, but he was annoyed by it, like a child can be annoyed by the busyness of stupid, busy adults. I was very surprised when I once observed this bored indifference in front of the TV in a 6 year old girl. That children can not love the TV was very surprising, I think. Maybe because in Italy do not exist intelligent telecasts for children! She was a very intelligent girl.

  7. @epitimaios: The quote is about 50 years old. That makes it so remarkably prophetic.

  8. Thank you, dear MK. I would have guessed it was of the time, when I saw that cartoon. But then it was already 20 years old, that is remarkable indeed.

    But when printing had been invented, for some decades the new situation has been getting bitterly deplored since a lot of rubbish was printed (as today). One has been even reproaching increasing crime rates due to wrong reading to the new medium...

    After all the best literature has been written when most people were illiterates. As if there wasn't only the circumcision of the heart promoted by Paulus, but also a tacit circumcision of the brain.

    Everything has its price. Fortunately one can still read all the wonderful stuff that has been written before the 20th century. In other words: they last. And we do not need to be illiterates any more.

    One of the things I love of the TV is that one can see after some years films produced for the cinema. A lot of rubbish one can find also there I suppose, but which is the reason why the cinema - altogether - is (or seems) better than TV?