In one of those "well, duh!" moments the other day, I came across a headline on Slashdot that said Unhappy People Watch More TV. Given that I mostly stopped watching TV quite some time ago and consider it to be one of the more rude devices in our culture, I clicked thru to read about how others have discovered what I'd already guessed was true...
A new study by sociologists at the University of Maryland concludes that unhappy people watch more TV, while people who describe themselves as 'very happy' spend more time reading and socializing. 'TV doesn't really seem to satisfy people over the long haul the way that social involvement or reading a newspaper does,' says researcher John P. Robinson. 'It's more passive and may provide escape--especially when the news is as depressing as the economy itself.
Imagine that... Stagnation and exposure to negative information leads to sadness. It goes on...
The data suggest to us that the TV habit may offer short-run pleasure at the expense of long-term malaise.' Unhappy people also liked their TV more: 'What viewers seem to be saying is that while TV in general is a waste of time and not particularly enjoyable, "the shows I saw tonight were pretty good.
Another shock. TV provides only a short-term reward (kind of like a drug hit).
If this resonates with you a bit, or you suspect deep down that there's more going on with the influence of TV in our culture, I highly recommend reading Amusing Ourselves To Death by Neil Postman if you have not already.
It's too bad this stuff doesn't get taught in school--where, I'm told, teachers are using PowerPoint more and more.
Posted by jzawodn at November 17, 2008 02:28 AM