At first I was amused by this power, then dazzled by it and fascinated with the minutiae of how it worked. Later, I tried to use mass media for what seemed worthwhile purposes, only to find it resistant and limited. I came to the conclusion that like other modern technologies which now surround our lives, advertising, television, and most mass media predetermine their own ultimate use and effect. In the end, I became horrified by them, as I observed the aberrations which they inevitably create in the world.

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Move Along. Mander clearly couldnt anticipate the technological developments that would make his criticism appear naively old hat: I came to the conclusion that like other modern technologies which now surround our lives, advertising, television and most mass Nothing To See Here.

In the end, I became horrified by them, as I observed the aberrations which they inevitably create in the world. His concern, of course, is understandable. We have exactly the same ones today. Communications technology does change society in entirely unanticipated ways. Yet we seem to be trapped by it. Mander knew he was whistling in the dark.

Television could not be eliminated. If he had investigated these, he then might have concluded that it was not television that we should be worried about but something far more fundamental Just a few examples to establish the pattern clearly: before television there was radio.

Early adopters included such notables as Huey Long, the populist boss of Louisiana; and Father Coglin, the fascist Catholic priest.

Their pioneering work showed that radio was the future for making money in both. The 19th century after the American Civil War is considered by many to be the Golden Age of newspaper journalism. The penny post had matured around the world to become the dominant instrument of social media. It was, like radio and television after it, big business.

Whatever its social benefit, newspapers also rigged elections, started wars, and callously ruined reputations. Everything, however trifling, was considered worth printing, and the newspaper finally became what it is now, a collection of gossip. John Wycliffe was branded a heretic by Parliament in the 14th century for daring to translate the Bible into a language that folk could actually understand. In the 8th century, church authorities, through the Emperor Constantine, went as far as condemning the technology of painting as aberrant and socially disruptive.

This is explicit in the minutes of the Council of Heirio in , which refers to "the unlawful art of painting living creatures which blasphemes the fundamental doctrine of our salvation--namely, the Incarnation of Christ, and contradicted the six holy synods.

If anyone shall endeavour to represent the forms of the Saints in lifeless pictures with material colours which are of no value for this notion is vain and introduced by the devil , and does not rather represent their virtues as living images in himself, etc.

See the pattern? Each of these technologies is indeed fundamentally disruptive. It is then absorbed, as it were, into the disrupted society and the more or less forgotten about. The new technologies become not just a non-issue but essentially invisible as successor technologies come along. Keep pursuing the trail far enough and one comes up against the technological myths of origin. In Western European civilisation there are analogous ones in the Orient , these include Hebrew as the language of God himself, whose very alphabet is of divine significance; and the ancient Greek idea of the Platonic Forms, which the precision of the Greek language was intended to reveal.

The socially disruptive consequences of these technologies persist until today - not least of which is an entire Judaea-Christian-Islamic culture - yet we take these technologies for granted since they are fully assimilated.

Language as technology? Every technological development from the internet back through television, radio, mass media newspapers, printing, translating, and even iconography is an extension of one phenomenon - human language.

Every one of these depends upon the progressive accumulations of language we call science, engineering, and art. Language is the source-technology from which all the others have emerged. And every significant change in this technology has had a fundamental impact on the political, religious, and social relations among the people who use it. But this is precisely the point that Mander, as well as all the present-day pundits of high-tech, seem to miss.

His real battle was with language itself not a social system of broadcasting which he found to be false. His worry, for example, that television promotes our transformation into the images we see on the screen was a fait accompli at least as long ago as the start of the Holocene, and probably 50, to , years before that - just about the same time that one primitive hunter told his mate what the next valley looked like, thereby mediating direct experience.

Every development in language-based technology actually, all technology produces the same cultural trauma. It hides itself in plain sight. The only time we even notice it is when its form changes. But even then we become obsessed with the machines rather than their real substance. And there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. Language is our Original Sin. We inherit it and pass it on, in all its forms from washing powder to jet aircraft.

It owns us - yesterday in the form of television, today in the form of the internet, tomorrow who knows. But we are effectively its creature. Language and its subsidiary technologies always re-shape the people who use it. These technologies also are the prime target for those who wish to control others.

They are always subject to commercial interests, at least some of which are destructive. In short, language not television is the real culprit Mander should have attacked. And then who would believe him? I suspect he had parents hopeful for his success in elected office.


Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television

David Kubiak. Archived from the original on Retrieved They give power to a very small number of people to speak into the brains of everyone else in the system night after night after night with images that make people turn out in a certain kind of way. It affects the psychology of people who watch.



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