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zhao
23-12-2006, 12:04 AM
while bored at work, I came up with a list of main ideological messages underlying American television. can you think of other ones? if there was one from British TV, would it be different?

1. everything is, and will be, OK (do not worry)
2. infinite expansion
3. trust the system
4. you are free (look at all the choices you have)
5. white people are awesome
6. all other ethnic groups act like white people
7. buying stuff makes you happy
8. no one is ever really sad and everyone is always happy
9. you and your ego are the center of the world
10. family is the most important thing in the world (after yourself)
11. bigger is better
12. competition is a virtue / winning is everything

tht
23-12-2006, 03:21 AM
this is all rather adolescent innit

Guybrush
23-12-2006, 09:13 AM
this is all rather adolescent innit
How so?

Your outline seems pretty accurate, Zhao, but why bother analysing a dying medium? I dumped my TV in January and have not missed it at all. All that is worth watching is available on-line, and the rest I am more than happy to be spared from.

woops
23-12-2006, 02:41 PM
"leave the room"

(if i'm alone)
"switch me off"

mms
23-12-2006, 03:05 PM
why don't you go out and do something else less boring instead.

or use the box to replay a dvd from when tv was not just a body filled with deadly viruses.

zhao
23-12-2006, 06:55 PM
I was working on some motion graphics for AMC and Discovery (cable channels) when I came up with that list... I think it is important to identify the main messages conveyed by -- actually maybe this list applies to all of mass media and not just TV -- which by the way I personally have not "watched" in years.

I would also like to make a list of "modern myths" or things which we (as a civilization? people?) believe and are invested in, but are not true. infinite expansion would be one of them.

swears
23-12-2006, 08:11 PM
infinite expansion would be one of them.

Really? Isn't that an idea that's died of with the enviromentalist and postmodernist movements of the last 20-30 years? I think the average guy in the street understands there are only a finite number of resources.

zhao
24-12-2006, 01:04 AM
Really? Isn't that an idea that's died of with the enviromentalist and postmodernist movements of the last 20-30 years? I think the average guy in the street understands there are only a finite number of resources.

oh I wish you were right but don't think so. maybe less people believe in the infinite expansion of Capitalism now than before, and more are conscious, but in my estimation, in the everyday, very much "business as usual" world, the vast majority either still believe or behave as if they still believed - even if a minority are aware of the absurdity of this notion.

tht
24-12-2006, 02:11 AM
those could all have applied 30 years ago, wouldn't it be more interesting to see if anything is specific to current tv shit, rather than imagining everything as a homogenous corporatist pravda.

fox has clearly shifted things further in some respects with the likes of fox news (not just a neofascist billionaire's plaything but wildly profitable in its own right) and the simpsons, which follows every rule in your book but with evident cynicism and disconcertingly hebephrenic colour, noise and commotion . then there was the x files which contradicts several of them but nonetheless commodified unease very lucratively.

not living in america i don't watch a lot of the mainstream network stuff you are talking about but it's all pretty obvious and would apply to commerical tv anywhere. tv adverts are far more fecund with signifiers (and aesthetic innovation) and they seem to be fairly similiar in western europe, east asia and america. the uk would probably the the avant-garde in this respect :)

mistersloane
24-12-2006, 02:27 PM
I'm in the Uk and havent had a TV for twenty years, but round my nephew's house recently the TV has been saying to me

"Everyone ends up in hospital"
"Families are falling apart"
and
"Your body is disgusting".

None of which I think about much when not watching it.

Oh, and

"My Chemical Romance are the shittest band in the history of the world."

krankissey
24-12-2006, 09:04 PM
tv relays "this is not meant for you, this is meant for the mass market, which means that you are relatively smart. good job."

gek-opel
24-12-2006, 09:28 PM
"Your body is disgusting" seems to be the abiding message.

Also "Kill" but I'll ignore that one for now!

Parson
24-12-2006, 11:39 PM
tv tells me that tcm is the best channel

swears
25-12-2006, 01:40 AM
I can't even watch TV, it's so....embarrasing! That's the word. I was in a pub tonight and they had FHM TV on, all the girls in the videos try so hard to be sexy it's pathetic.

zhao
25-12-2006, 06:05 AM
"Everyone ends up in hospital"
"Families are falling apart"
and
"Your body is disgusting".


these are interesting.

maybe it is a combination of appealing to the most selfish, self-agrandizing, self centered, ego-driven aspects of socialized humans, and the simultaneous negative and degrading messages which reinforce feelings of fear, misery, lack, impotency, inadequecy -- that is the most effective in terms of social control.

DJ PIMP
25-12-2006, 09:36 PM
TV in New Zealand also mirrors and defines the countries (lack of) identity.

From the first episode of the soap Shortland Street, "you're not in Guatemala now, Dr Ropata" (haha), to many memorable ad campaigns over the past decades; it shows a country trying to find itself.

A comparative study of soaps from different countries...?

mistersloane
30-12-2006, 03:03 AM
I really can't recommend Jerry Mander's 'Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television' enough if anyone hasn't read it
http://www.amazon.com/Arguments-Elimination-Television-Jerry-Mander/dp/0688082742

mistersloane
30-12-2006, 03:07 AM
these are interesting.

maybe it is a combination of appealing to the most selfish, self-agrandizing, self centered, ego-driven aspects of socialized humans, and the simultaneous negative and degrading messages which reinforce feelings of fear, misery, lack, impotency, inadequecy -- that is the most effective in terms of social control.

and yeah, I'd agree with that, but I'd really recommend Mander's book if you're thinking about this stuff Zhao, he lays it all out. Had a massive influence on me at an early age anyway, haven't read it for nearly 20 years but I'd imagine you could translate the bits that have dated pretty easily.

the undisputed truth
01-01-2007, 12:05 AM
my TV says BUY BUY BUY in between the bits that say FUCK FUCK FUCK and KILL KILL KILL...

...I'm even starting to talk back to it now

mistersloane
01-01-2007, 02:27 AM
my TV says BUY BUY BUY in between the bits that say FUCK FUCK FUCK and KILL KILL KILL...


You got a special TV, I'll buy it off yer

the undisputed truth
01-01-2007, 06:06 AM
hah...it might only be the voices in my head and not the TV at all

...so much for my tin foil hat

Mr. Tea
16-01-2007, 09:51 PM
while bored at work, I came up with a list of main ideological messages underlying American television. can you think of other ones? if there was one from British TV, would it be different?

1. everything is, and will be, OK (do not worry)
2. infinite expansion
3. trust the system
4. you are free (look at all the choices you have)
5. white people are awesome
6. all other ethnic groups act like white people
7. buying stuff makes you happy
8. no one is ever really sad and everyone is always happy
9. you and your ego are the center of the world
10. family is the most important thing in the world (after yourself)
11. bigger is better
12. competition is a virtue / winning is everything

Hahaha. If this thread had a soundtrack, it would be by System Of A Down.

PeteUM
18-01-2007, 05:56 PM
I'm in the Uk and havent had a TV for twenty years, but round my nephew's house recently the TV has been saying to me

"Everyone ends up in hospital"
"Families are falling apart"
and
"Your body is disgusting".

None of which I think about much when not watching it.

Oh, and

"My Chemical Romance are the shittest band in the history of the world."


We've had the TV off in our house for a few months now (Christmas crept up on us, I can tell you) but the other day my son's video ended and Gillian McKeith popped up. She had some woman on her doorstep, due to be detoxified, and the first thing she did was to shriek at her to remove her shoes "we don't want you treading in any muck from the street!" like some nightmare character from a children's story.