Stay Tuned?

You invite him in and he insists on staying for dinner. After telling off-color jokes to your family, he shamelessly flirts with your wife as he starts a sales pitch. You tell yourself that you will insist he show some of his better qualities on his next visit. His name? Television. And while he may indeed have some redeeming characteristics, you might want to ponder your relationship with this compelling little device.

TV may be credited with fatally stabbing that stubborn old man: folk culture. Movies, radio and cheap fiction only wounded him. Television finished him off in the 1950s. Is it too late for a little eulogy? Folk culture was regional, ethnic and largely religious. Not without its own problems, folk [culture] consisted in the customs, traditions, stories that one generation carefully entrusted to another. This transmission died off as TV lured people from front porches, town squares and even the hearth. Now as couch recluses, we have lost the timeless wisdom of previous generations. We are left instead with the trendy and ever-changing fads of popular culture. Despite differing "market segments," this newer culture subtly mixes themes of vulgar egalitarianism with bland universalism. It blurs worthwhile cultural lines rather than distinguishes them. TV epitomizes the very popular culture it so effectively promotes. As its main course programming stoops to ever lower forms of poor taste, we may want to reconsider our next invitation to this intrusive dinner guest.

—Leadership University Editor/Webmaster, Byron Barlowe

Feature Articles:

Jerry Solomon
Did you know there were once more homes in America with a TV than with indoor plumbing? The uncanny influence of the tube can hardly be overestimated. That influence, at least in many Christian circles, is largely considered to be negative. May television also be used for good?

Not Suitable For TV
Gene Edward Veith
Sex is the main subject in for many prime time television shows. Needless to say, sexual stereotypes abound in these influencial programming lots. Recent studies indicate, however, that sex in marriage is actually better than TV shows portray it.

How the Federal Government Contributes to Poor Quality TV Programs
William G. Laffer III
Although written a few years ago, this article raises the question of why we have poor programming on the major networks. Given the way the relevant laws are set up, is there a greater incentive to put quality shows on cable than on ABC, CBS and NBC?

TV, Technology and Change
John Gay
Is increased technology making us better people? What influences what is put on television? If television programming in America is mediocre or worse, who is to blame?

Sound Off (Opinion):

For the Children: National TV Turnoff Week
Joel Solliday
April 22-28, 1999 is National TV-Turnoff Week. This annual event aims to give back what TV often takes away: our productivity, creativity, health, inter-personal relating, civic engagement, spiritual gift development and moral decency.

Popular Culture Articles:

Is It Just Entertainment?
Jerry Solomon
The author lays out Christian principles regarding entertainment.

The New Cinema
Matt Bynum
Looking over the general course of film history prepares us to answer how movies may best be used for good.

Rock Music
Jerry Solomon
Is rock music inherently bad? How should we discern about it?

The Wide World of Sports
James Nuechterlein
Is sports reporting a politically correct enterprise?

Violence in Society
Kerby Anderson
Discusses issue of violence in society with special emphasis on television violence.

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