Originally Posted by littleaugustbaby
...If you feel that conversations about TV programs are dull, then how do you feel about discussing a novel that you've just read, or perhaps a film that you've seen? The premise is essentially the same. "Hey, I just finished reading 'XYZ', what did you think of it?"....
Don't worry, I don't think that is a sarcastic post.
My answer is that I think that is a question which, effectively, changes the subject. It is a different issue for a number of reasons.
One of the biggest reasons is the fact of the medium itself. TV is a visual medium in a way that even a heavily illustrated or "graphic novel" book isn't. The TV itself puts the viewer into a kind of hypnotic trance -- extremely receptive to whatever they see -- while having carefully produced programs that have been run by focus groups to make them as attractive as possible
. The focus range is narrowed incredibly, eye movement is at a minimum and there is lots of cutting back and forth. Take a look at Marie Winn's book The Plug-In Drug
. Published by Penguin in the 70's originally, there is a new edition from 2001, I think. She brings up a plethora of studies that will make you cringe.
My problem with it really isn't a content issue. Although that becomes part of the problem. It is that the medium is very powerful and is used to manipulate. And most people volunteer for that.
In general, most people when discussing a book, whether or not they have studied critical theory and literature, will discuss lots of stuff about the book they have read, NOT just the plot points. I have had lots and lots of conversations that were about stuff something had read. AND, invariably, talking about one book (plot, plot development, characterizations, language use, writing style, mood, etc.) has lead to bringing in other books as comparisons or contrasts or sources of further discussion of similar ideas. (Kinda like how Native Son lead to Everything But the Burden which lead to James Alan McPherson's short stories which lead to Indigo, Sasssafrass & Cypress which lead to Their Eyes Were Watching God which lead to .... well, you get the idea. And I wasn't discussing this in a literature class. I was on the bus with a friend discussing racism which started from a report in the newspaper.)
On the other hand, discussions about television shows that I have overheard (as I cannot take part in them, even if I'm part of the group, I can only say "overheard") have generally
centered around plot points and how much a particular character is liked or disliked and how dishy or not an actor is.
I really think that is a very different conversation.
I have had very involved analytical conversations about TV shows and movies and animation. I have friends/acquaintences who make all of those. (See http://americanmontage.com/animation/hotrod.html
for a sample of some animation that I actually worked on -- painting some cells!
) You know what? None of them watch TV on a regular basis. They all think it saps their imagination.
Just food for thought.