television made us be mean and horrible


Well-known member
Staff member
this is an argument which keeps coming up recently. there's been a huge number of essays on the topic. here's the one im reading now but its not original, it follows a now well worn template.
there's been some talk here about the office and south park and little britain.
to what extent do we take this thesis seriously?
were we being programmed by the evil ones?


Well-known member
tv may have had an influence, the tribalism of social media accelerated the process.


Well-known member
I think humiliation tv became embedded in our culture more recently than might be casually accepted.

Cultures of toxicity spill over to comedy because so much humour is built on cruelty. As old as humans and always insidious.

The differences came with the likes of Simon cut his head off now pls Cowell, grim talent shows, deriding decency over hubris. “Look at him, what a freak, he’s not even singing etc”. Complacent broadcasters. Prime time coverage. The Gervais creation Derek was built on the same dung pile that Little Britain came out of. I think it was the fusion or amalgamation of toxic politics and inane drivel masked as culture, with a hefty dose of internet overloading and deliberately undermining systems of decency, that has left us with this detritus of social norms.

It’s like road rage. Shield someone in metal, glass, locked doors, from their neighbouring drivers where no eye contact is made, no micro-expressions or gestures are recognised or cues picked up, that lets the behavioural bullshit pile high. As the Sin Eaters Guild states, you are your actions.

constant escape

winter withered, warm
What if we frame television's influence within the economy of attention (Society of spectacle? Anyone with input here, on Debord?), which necessarily implies a societal richness: we have enough leisure time for attention to become a kind of currency.

If we then frame celebrity as spectacle-incarnate, all of a suddenly the arena of celebrity/fame/status becomes capitalistic - but not in terms of money, seeing as the currency in this arena is attention. The kind of growth that this capitalism orients around is not profit, but trend. Where profit is an increase in monetary/pecuniary revenue, trend is an increase in attention-revenue. Where monetary wealth and celebrity status are static, profit and trend are dynamic. Moving targets.

The more sensational you become, the higher potential you have in the attention market. Attention quantified in likes, other such things.

In this framework, television (in a... classical (?) sense, as in a list of channels vying for your attention) is a marketplace, and arguably a socialist one (a provocative proposition - I would love to hear thoughts on this), seeing as one person's attention is generally worth as much as the next.

Although perhaps not. Perhaps there is a difference among the values of attentions. Maybe this is how the attention market interpenetrates/interdigitates with the monetary market: maybe the more money/influence you have, the more your attention is worth.

Or perhaps the more attention you have, as a measure of status/celebrity, the more your attention is worth. Or perhaps, the more you are trending (the the higher the rate of the increase of your status) the more your attention is worth.


call me big papa
Yeah cos things were really great before TV came along (SARCASM)

Totally roasted you there m8, facts don't care about your feelings


call me big papa
I think porn is actually LESS nasty than it was circa 2000.

From what I read about max hardcore etc. I don't see any of that shit on pornhub.

Plus there's so much more concern about people's feelings - + ethnicity, sexuality, etc.


call me big papa
Or maybe i'm just in a liberal elite bubble?

I guess 4CHAN is all the proof you need that the internet is a cesspit


Well-known member
@Corpsey to some extent re your first comment...

In the build up to the Iraq War, ie peak Blair years, the levels of porn misogyny got staggeringly ugly. Mostly American, but with Rocco et al piling in for the double anal team. Now I’ve got nowt against the responsible abuse of pleasure, but damn those years weren’t fun if the missus wanted to warm up with a dash of online material.

Insidious, desensitising abuse, site after site. It was a bit like Natural Born Killers going rogue while filming a gang bang, like some thing somewhere (dark gods and their worshippers?) jeering on for things to get uglier and uglier. Has anything changed? Let me just delete my browser history really quickly. Yes and no.

Point is the accumulation of blood lust, with numerous theatres of war feeding the milieu too. Collective and individual traumas compounded by the broader cultural zeitgeist of humiliation, sadism and, most significant of all, the manipulation and control of shame.

Simon silverdollarcircle

Well-known member
And more generally there's less appetite for gross out now. Things like jackass, or eating crocodile testicles on im a celebrity seem quite old fashioned now

May be we've moved into more subtle "civilised" emotional manipulation and humiliation after getting bored with physical degradation.

But really I think people in olden times were bigger cunts than people today. Schools in the 80s , just an example, were a fucking warzone of sadism. A bit less so nowadays from what I hear

john eden

male pale and stale
Lots of parents my age still freak out when they visit a school.

Teachers these days seem to actually care about the kids though. And you get a different perspective with a daughter maybe but the kids seem to care about each other too. Or at least more than they used to.


call me big papa
Reality shows have got nicer too, at least on Netflix. Queer Eye is the most wholesome (albeit unapologetically consumerist) reality show imaginable. Mind you that existed a long time ago, didn't it? I just never watched it.


call me big papa
And I'm instantly recalling that there's a reality show on netflix where men have to compete over impregnating a woman. lol


is not like other people
anyway my attitude is that television makes you not mean and horrible but thick which is why i try to never watch it, disengage from it. it's like another planet when you watch some of the stuff on there. even the "highbrow" stuff is risible and bad for your mind. imo