RE: TV Turn-Off

Oksana Dykyj (
Wed, 27 Jan 1999 11:12:56 -0800 (PST)

At 09:27 AM 1/27/99 -0800, you wrote:

>I want TV Turnoff Week to be more about liberating ones time and expanding
>ones horizons about what there is to do with their time. If they get better
>grades or become smarter or a more critical thinker so much the better but
>really just having a richer, fuller, less circumscribed life is the real
>reward whether it ever adds an IQ point or a penny to your coffers. My
>response to the person scoffing at people who perceive media as some sort of
>anti-christ is , would that it were, at least then it would be more
>interesting. It looks and feels to me more like a vacuum. There is no
>there, there. Our users may have been rewired, but where is the light bulb?
For Rob:

Expanding one's horizons is not necessarily exclusive of spending time in
front of a television set, while similarly, liberating one's time is not
necessarily related to expanding one's horizons or enriching one's life.
I'm sure you're aware that Communication Studies as an academic discipline
is becoming increasingly more prominent even down to high school level so,
Rob, for you to assume that the teenagers you work with are devoid of any
critical thought in terms of the television they watch, is not giving them
enough credit. Every year I'm on the New Admissions Committee for our Film
Production undergraduate programme, and watch all the videos potential
students submit in their portfolios. These young people are aware of the
effects media has on their lives which is evident in the films they make
and the personal essays they write in support of their applications.

As a librarian and an educator, it is my job to help students expand their
knowledge by pointing them in a direction that helps them achieve their
specific goal. If it is giving them the Jerry Springer schedule, I'm happy
to do it. I speak to students who spend thousands of hours watching music
videos on TV. They can critically talk about the history and development of
the genre as well as point to the influences earlier films and other
popular media have had on this particular genre. They can also show how
this purely broadcast genre has influenced other media such as contemporary
film. In short, they ARE thinking about what they see.

Television is part of our popular culture. Who has given librarians the
right to make evalutive judgments about which component of popular culture
is most meritorious? Are books more enriching than live theatre? Is
painting better art than photography? Will 30 minutes on a treadmill give
me a less circumscribed life or will it be 30 minutes of catching up with
unread New Yorkers?

It's truly beyond my comprehention why TV Free Week would even surface as
an idea in 1999. I'm just curious about whether there ever was a Movie Free
Week or a Radio Free Week in the late 1940's when millions of people
flocked movie theatres or listened to radio every day? Were they told to
simply read a book?

As an aside, many immigrants at the turn of the century learned to read
English by going to see movies on a regular basis, a medium scoffed at by
highbrow taste of the period.

Oksana Dykyj voice: 514-848-3443
Head, Visual Media Resources fax: 514-848-3441
Instructional & Information Technology Services
Concordia University
H-342, 1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W,
Montreal, Quebec
Canada H3G 1M8