Understanding Society, Culture, and Television

By Paul Monaco | Go to book overview

and television ignores this. The precision of viewer attitudes is part of the complexity of these media and their appeal.

Contemporary society is awash in wild, but widely believed, claims about the movies, television, and the audiences for them. This, combined with perceptions of the sophisticated electronic technology of movies, video, and TV, contributes to the widespread fear of the manipulative powers of these media. Aside from the rhetoric that maintains their acute manipulative powers over audiences, little evidence supports these fears. Such claims really will not stand up to an examination of them. Moreover, in order to stand up they must be premised on a view that takes humans to be, in great numbers, lacking in rationality and discrimination. Given the insufficient evidence to demonstrate the claimed effects of film and television, as well as the fact that humans are neither as mindless nor as uncritical as they would have to be for such effects to influence them as is claimed, this entire line of thinking is on very shaky ground indeed.


NOTES
1.
Variety, December 13, 1961.
2.
Ellen A. Wartella, "The Context of Television Violence," The Carroll C. Arnold Distinguished Lecture, Needham Heights, MA, Allyn and Bacon, 1997.
3.
Michael Gartner, "O.J. Circus, Blaine TV," USA Today, October 3, 1995, p. 11A.
4.
Cited in an editorial, The Bozeman Daily Chronicle, July 15, 1994, p. 4.
5.
David Gelernter, "The Real Story of Orenthal James," National Review, October 9, 1995, p. 47.
6.
USA Today, May 13, 1996.
7.
Judith Valente, "Do You Believe What Newspeople Tell You?" Parade Magazine, March 2, 1997.
8.
See, Richard Zoglin, "Sitcom Politics," Time, September 21, 1992, pp. 44-47; Fred Barnes, "Insurrection," The New Republic, June 22, 1992, pp. 12, 13; Andrew Rosenthal, "Quayle's Moment," New York Times Magazine, July 3, 1992, pp. 10-13. Initially, most commentary criticized Quayle, but for a different opinion, see James Bowman, "Too Much Mr. Nice Guy," National Review, June 22, 1992, pp. 21, 22.
9.
See, U.S. News and World Report, November 1, 1993, p. 11. Taking up Reno's side, see Gerald Howard, "Divide and Deride: Prevalence of Stupidity in the Mass Media," The Nation, December 20, 1993, pp. 772, 773. For more critical views of Reno's position, see Frank McConnell, "Art Is Dangerous:Beavis & Butt-head, for Example,"

-35-

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Understanding Society, Culture, and Television
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • 1- Storytelling and Television 1
  • Note 13
  • 2- Television and the Aesthetics Of Power, Virtuosity, and Repetition 15
  • Notes 25
  • 3- Common Contemporary Themes 27
  • Notes 35
  • 4- Agendas, Politics, and Television 37
  • Notes 45
  • 5- Globalization and Television 47
  • Notes 56
  • 6- Wellsprings of Our Discontent With Television 59
  • Notes 72
  • 7- Television and Advertising 75
  • Notes 85
  • 8- Television and Government 87
  • Notes 97
  • 9- Art for Whose Sake? 99
  • Notes 111
  • 10- What Everyone Must Know About Television 113
  • Notes 124
  • Afterword 127
  • Note 128
  • Bibliography 129
  • Index 137
  • About the Author 143
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