Television

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Thanks to TV and for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

Quotes regarding Television

Quotes[edit]

Arranged by author or source
  • The role of television is the illusion of company, noise. I call it the fifth wall and the second window: the window of illusion.
  • The luminous screen in the home carries fantastic authority. Viewers everywhere tend to accept it as a window on the world... It has tended to displace or overwhelm other influences such as newspapers, school, church, grandpa, grandma. It has become the definer and transmitter of society's values.
  • Bread and circuses—to some observers, welfare and television seemed modern equivalents, pacifiers of empire, protectors of power and privilege.
    If television has assumed this role, it is not the result of a struggle between good guys and bad guys. If it were, it would be easy to solve, like problems in televisionland... The sponsor who thinks in terms of maximizing sales and profits is doing his duty... The advertising agency executive who recommends programs and time-slots in terms of audience size and demographic targets is likewise doing his job... The network sales executive who favors programs that advertising agencies will recommend to sponsors is performing his task... The problem—the folly—is not in any of these, but in a system that has made the center of national attention a market item, for sale at auction prices. The system has put the leadership of our society on the auction block.
  • For intellectual authority, the appropriate version of Descartes's cogito would be today: I am talked about, therefore I am.
  • I like to watch.
    • Repeated lines by "Chance, the gardner" in Being There (1979), initially referring simply to his lifelong habit of watching television.
  • First radio, then television, have assaulted and overturned the privacy of the home, the real American privacy, which permitted the development of a higher and more independent life within democratic society.
  • We're aware of the scale of the planet, so we don't accept that our own circumscribed horizons constitute reality. Much more real is what's relayed to us by the TV.
    • John Brunner, Stand on Zanzibar (1968), continuity (17) "Timescales"
  • You're beginning to believe the illusions we're spinning here. You're beginning to believe that the tube is reality and your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you: you dress like the tube, you eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube, you even think like the tube! This is mass madness, you maniacs! In God's name, you people are the real thing, WE are the illusion!
  • Television is not the truth. Television is a goddamned amusement park. Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, sideshow freaks, lion tamers, a football players. We're in the boredom-killing business.
  • I’d park myself a few inches from the RCA color television set we had. I was so close, I could feel the static electricity of the screen tugging at the peach fuzz on my face and smell the wonderful aroma of electrically heated dust coming from the vents of that lustrous wooden console. No matter how many times my mother yelled, “Kevin! Move back before you go blind!” I’d still feel myself powerfully drawn into that world, and the worn-out seats of my Lee jeans bore witness to the pull I was powerless to resist.
    • Kevin Clash, puppeteer who plays Elmo on Sesame Street, on his childhood. Published in 2006 as part of My Life as a Furry Red Monster.
  • A democratic civilization will save itself only if it makes the language of the image into a stimulus for critical reflection — not an invitation for hypnosis.
    • Umberto Eco, in "Can Television Teach?" in Screen Education 31 (1979), p. 12
  • It is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome.
  • Television is just another appliance- It's just a toaster with pictures.
  • Television, the drug of the Nation, Breeding ignorance and feeding radiation.
    Where imagination is sucked out of children by a cathode ray nipple. T.V. is the only wet nurse that would create a cripple
    • Michael Franti,Television drug of the nation, from Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury, by Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, 1991 [3]
  • like the invention of indoor plumbing. It didn’t change people’s habits. It just kept them inside the house.
  • One of television’s great contributions is that it brought murder back into the home, where it belongs.
  • Seeing a murder on television can … help work off one’s antagonisms. And if you haven’t any antagonisms, the commercials will give you some.
  • In the days before machinery men and women who wanted to amuse themselves were compelled, in their humble way, to be artists. Now they sit still and permit professionals to entertain them by the aid of machinery. It is difficult to believe that general artistic culture can flourish in this atmosphere of passivity.
  • News is not at all an easy thing to do on television. A good many of the main news items are not easily made visual — therefore we have the problem of giving news with the same standards that the corporation has built up in sound.
  • Television is simultaneously blamed, often by the same people, for worsening the world and for being powerless to change it.
  • On the big screen they showed us a sun/ But not as bright in life as the real one/ It's never quite the same as the real one.
    • Elton John "Grey Seal" from the album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
  • The new values transmitters are the television producers, the movie moguls, the fashion advertisers, the gangsta rappers, and a host of other players within the electronic media-cultural complex...
  • ...These trend-setters exert an extremely powerful hold on our culture and our children in particular, and they often have had little or no sense of responsibility for the harmful values they are purveying.
    • Joe Lieberman, In a lecture at the University of Notre Dame, Awake! magazine, April 8, 2000; Are Morals Worse Than Before?
  • The culture is unchallenged as the standard setter, and the child’s sense of right and wrong and his priorities in life are shaped primarily by what he learns from the television, the movie screen and the CD player.
    • And more recently, the Internet can be added to this list.
    • Joe Lieberman, In a lecture at the University of Notre Dame, Awake! magazine, April 8, 2000; Are Morals Worse Than Before?
  • I invite you to sit down in front of your television set when your station goes on the air and stay there without a book, magazine, newspaper, profit and-loss sheet or rating book to distract you--and keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that you will observe a vast wasteland.
    • Newton N. Minow, FCC Chairman, May 9, 1961 [4]; republished by Minow in Equal Time (1964), p. 52.
  • I haven't had a TV in 10 years, and I really don't miss it. 'Cause it's always so much more fun to be with people than it ever was to be with a television.
  • Television has changed the American child from an irresistible force into an immovable object.
  • Unless and until there is unmistakable proof to the contrary, the presumption must be that television is and will be a main factor in influencing the values and moral standards of our society.
    • Pilkington Report, Great Britain, Committee on Broadcasting (1960), Report (Command paper 1753) (1962), chapter 3, p. 15, 19.
  • Television does not, and cannot, merely reflect the moral standards of society. It must affect them, either by changing or by reinforcing them.
    • Pilkington Report, Great Britain, Committee on Broadcasting (1960), Report (Command paper 1753) (1962), chapter 3, p. 15, 19.
  • Those who say they give the public what it wants begin by underestimating public taste, and end by debauching it.
    • Pilkington Report, quoting an unknown source. Great Britain, Committee on Broadcasting, 1960, Report (Command paper 1753) (1962), chapter 3, p. 17.
  • Television. An advanced technical method of stopping people from making their own entertainment.
    • Leonard Rossiter, English comic actor. ‘...To Rossiter’, The Devil’s Bedside Book, Hamlyn paperbacks (1980) p. 46
  • Everything is being televised so you won't be able to tell where the Revolution is. "Who's revolting? Well, I don't know, what's on the other channel?"
  • How can you put out a meaningful drama when every fifteen minutes proceedings are interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits with toilet paper?
    • Rod Serling, Rod Serling: Submitted for Your Approval (October 1997), American Masters (PBS: Thirteen/WNET)
  • Watching violence in movies or in TV programs stimulates the spectators to imitate what they see much more than if seen live or on TV news. In movies, violence is filmed with perfect illumination, spectacular scenery, and in slow motion, making it even romantic. However, in the news, the public has a much better perception of how horrible violence can be, and it is used with objectives that do not exist in the movies.
  • One of the few good things about modern times: If you die horribly on television, you will not have died in vain. You will have entertained us.
  • Thanks to TV and for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative.
  • I hate television. I hate it as much as peanuts. But I can't stop eating peanuts.

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