formula. Go anywhere in the country, from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Oregon, from Miami to Malibu, and turn on the local news at 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. Wherever you are, you can set your watch to the time that the weather will be reported or the day's sports will be summarized.
Does TVs' reliance upon repetition hearken the emergence of a new human consciousness that is beckoning different people into an electronic global village in which they feel a genuine kinship to one another?5 Does the fact that repetition defined ancient rites, rituals, myths, and legends mean that increasing numbers of us will connect with deeper yearnings of our minds and souls that are ancestral? Or does the idea of repetition, confronting us day in and day out on our TV sets, mark a further erosion of authentic community, hence condemning each of us to greater feelings of alienation? Does the idea of repetition compel us toward undiscriminating and mindless imitation of some centrally generated message? Or does TV beckon a wonderfully rich and full democratization of culture and society that is spreading to nearly every corner of the globe by leaps and bounds? All these questions are upon us. Today's arguments about television have sharpened our attention to any number of issues hotly debated since the late nineteenth century. What I see now, however, are increasing attempts to answer just such questions about modernization and change with reference to television itself. And I find these attempts to be highly speculative, imprecise, and misleading.