June 09, 2009

Tube Worm


Why are books valued more than television? As if the written word is more intrinsically valuable than visual communication?

9 comments:

emily said...

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Eric Olsen said...

i'm serious. someone says they're a voracious reader, and we're impressed. someone says they watch 4 hours of television a night, we're nauseated. no questions asked. not knowing that the former's favorite is Danielle Steele, and the latter watches the History Channel.

emily said...

Well, for one thing, it's an apples to oranges comparison. There are many ways to get your current events, or your drama fix, or whatever. You shouldn't only like books and call documentaries worthless. You shouldn't call all books great and worthwhile just because they're books. I think it's healthy to enjoy both. But your question was really about why we judge people differently based on what they prefer.

In terms of child development, making sure you blink once in a while, using your imagination to its fullest, and advancing your language and communication skills, one outweighs the other. This is usually the basis of the argument when people call the written word more intrinsically valuable than visual communication.

Don't let all voracious readers automatically impress you. And don't let all TV addicts automatically nauseate you. As to no questions asked, always ask questions.

I just don't like seeing one considered a replacement for the other.

Eric Olsen said...

i'm not sure what you thought my thesis was, but i think we're arguing the same thing.

Emily said...

I thought your thesis was that the written word isn't automatically more intrinsically valuable than visual communication.

Eric Olsen said...

well, it was. and i agreed with all of your conditions in your 2nd response that went to proving it.

you know in the 19th century, people just sat around the fire, mesmerized by it.

LizM said...

They also died younger. Ennui?

Marc said...

Maybe subconsciously we all know that it will be books, not television that will survive the robot uprising.

MicroGlyphics said...

It is not television, per se; rather it's the content—or absence thereof. Of course, if we're comparing the drivel on the TV to the pablum of Danielle Steele, we have concurrence: an equally egregious waste of time—a problem arriving in the subjective assessment of what a beneficial use of that time might be.

I might consider Sartre's concept of no excuses and presume I should at some level try to optimise my contribution to my own being or to society, but someone might actually believe that watching Fox news every evening is somehow elucidating. So who am I to tell him that he might as well be reading the next Amanda Quick novel?