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on August 21, 2014
Looks just as true in 2014 as the 1950s-70s specifics described.
This book was written 1977, 1978: could just as well have been written last week, little to nothing has changed besides the numbers of populations and dollars. There is something worth quoting on at a minimum every other page, maybe every page.
A case could be made that the primary usefulness, and maybe the only true usefulness, of television is as the tool of the one percent.
Quoting from page 152;
“While purporting to be a mass technology available to everyone, because everyone can experience it, television is little more than the tool of these companies. If four out of five dollars of television income derive from them, then obviously, without currying their favor the networks would cease to exist.
The corollary is also true. Without such a single, monolithic instrument as television, the effective power and control of these huge corporations could not be harnessed as it presently is. Monolithic economic enterprise needs monolithic media to purvey its philosophy and to influence rapid change in consumption patterns. Without an instrument like television, capable of reaching everyone in the country at the same time and narrowing human needs to match the re-designed environment, the corporations themselves could not exist.
The spread of television unified a whole people within a system of conceptions and living patterns that made possible the expansion of huge economic enterprise."
That, in my view, pretty much nails it.
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on July 28, 2015
The best book on the topic. I have read other articles and blogs on why TV is bad but this book by Jerry Mander explains it the best with significant research and detail to back what he's saying. The book includes how television works (how the images on television are projected and how it affects our health, memory, and imagination), how television can be used to control populations without them realizing it, how it is impossible to get the whole truth from news, how advertisers have all the control over television programming and how they keep you watching the boob tube even when you are bored, and how television takes us from nature and other people (things important for mental health).

It's amazing that we allowed (and still are allowing) major corporations to control how we behave, what we purchase, and how we spend our free time. We purchase a box that trains us to purchase more things we don't need. Programming today is even worse. Advertising is built into most shows since people skip commercials by recording shows. Mander is correct when he said that unless we stop television, technology will be designed to be more and more controlling of our lives. When he wrote the book, he thought it was appalling that people spent an average of 4 hours per day on television. Now we spend and average of 10 hours per day watching content on a screen (tablet, TV, and phone).
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on December 30, 2017
An excellent book which both informs and troubles any objective reader of this well-written book. The arguments put forth are convincing and cogent, yet as I read throughout the book, a nagging thought stayed in focus, and that is what to say about these visible and real effects on TV, while apprehensive about tossing the TV into the recycle bin.
Getting rid of a technology in which we've been so immersed for decades, is like breaking a heroin addiction or some other attachment; the chemistry of the brain requires satisfaction of the habit, or else one can go crazy without a support group and a sense of attachment to a Higher Entity.
I'll always feel a need to get a huge chuckle out of watching SNL or Monty Python; will feel the excitement of venturing into outer space while contemplating the new challenges of dealing with beings in other parts of the universe, as presented in the "Star Trek" pantheon of episodes, and the human/otherworldly sentient beings conundrums which may and will arise due to different religio/cultural/evolutionary paths taken.
But I strive to get out and enjoy the forests, taking walks and paying attention to the life forms and landscape, driving by the ocean and smell the sea air, observe insects, watch documentaries on science, history, culture, social events, and participate in the thrill of traveling to new places to meet and interact with people in far away lands. Being a Baha'i allows me the opportunity to both appreciate technology and how to keep that subservient to the Creator---The Great Spirit as expressed in other cultures---and therefore feel at least some semblance of balance.
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on August 24, 2016
This is an excellent book, a very original analysis of the effects of television on the mind. Television is the ideal medium for advertising and that format is applied to all TV production. This book is a good reminder that a life well lived is not a passive one, intellectually and physically stunted by a TV screen. Books, hobbies, conversation, contact with nature and people are better ways to feel alive and human. Mr. Mander gets to the essence of television and opens our eyes to its mercantile profile. Television endangers democracy by breaking communities and numbing our desires for real change and action.
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on January 28, 2017
This book sounds like it's suggesting an impossible goal, but once you read it, you will understand how our society has been programmed and molded by those who seek to control our lives, guiding us in the direction of continuing and accelerating the pace of our non-sustainable society. There are of course programs that do add positively to our collective consciousness, but for the most part, TV is mostly a bunch of mindless crap, especially in our present situation.
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on November 2, 2017
classic. All the arguments here apply to the internet and screen-based entertainment. Highly recommended.
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on February 20, 2014
If everyone in the world read this book, I am still inclined to believe that it would not make a difference as most of the world has already fallen under the spell of this revolting technology.
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on May 3, 2017
great read
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on April 28, 2018
He has a point when you look a television today.
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on October 27, 2017
Critical reading that can be extended to the current use of devices such as smartphones, gaming, and computers.
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