When you sit down and really think about it, it is distinctly possible that television destroyed (and still is destroying) North America.
Really, aside from music, what has North America really achieved since the invention of the television? We put a man in space. We put a man on the moon. We tested the limits of our rights to protest publicly.
We gained the near perfect vehicle for passive entertainment, a medium which requires us only to press a button on the device in our hand. Click – television on, brain off.
I think that that sort of brain-off behavior breaks people’s minds. I think that enough exposure to television makes the lines between television and reality a little blurry. I think people end up thinking Friends is real, and that if they move to New York, they too will be beautiful and live in a $6000/month loft, despite not having a job. I really do. We become entangled in those fictional lives we see on television. We lose perspective.
I more or less stopped watching television about the same time Friends was introduced. The networks had finally asked me to suspend disbelief by presenting me with a show in which that was impossible for me. Now I watch the news (mostly bad) and hockey (no season this year).
I can’t figure out how people who watch 4 hours of television a day get anything done. I DON’T watch 4 hours of television a day, and my days are already about 16 hours too short. On those rare occasions I do sit down and watch television with my family, I find myself feeling guilty, like I’m wasting time.
I believe North America has spent the last 50 years selling its collective soul one 30 minute sitcom at a time. It’s making us fat, its making us feel inadequate, and its making us slow thinkers. In a pair of countries so obsessed with return on investment, it boggles the mind to see us getting so little in return.