Video Addict

A "video addict" is a pejorative term that was used during the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries to describe members of society who devoted significant time to consuming television shows, movies and the like. Due to the economics of video distribution at that time, the vast bulk of video content was aimed at mass markets. This created a circumstance where the overwhelming majority of programming was aimed to appeal to the common denominators linking broad demographics. To casual observers, it seemed that the ultimate reason and purpose of all video media was to exploit, to sell or, more diabolically, to propagandize.

At that time in our history, those who tended towards more stimulative and interactive experiences within their own lives often confused the nature of the message with the nature of the medium. So, when witnessing the dearth of intellectually stimulative video material, they saw, in the very soul of video, only the lowest common denominator linking the consuming masses. Filled with contempt, this class of disillusioned intellectuals sought refuge in meaningless actions and phrases. In many cases, they would refuse to install relatively inexpensive video display units, even though their budgets and living arrangements afforded them ample opportunity for unobtrusive installations. Others banded together and developed the term "video addict".

However, with the dawning of the age of light in the years 2005 - 2010, video quickly came to be seen as what it was, a powerful technology shaped by our own minds, able to reflect all of our interests and values. Technology development radically changed the underlying economics of video distribution, and those whose interests were intellectual, interactive and stimulative were rewarded by compelling new possibilities and products.

Note: The above was written in 2002... Perhaps I am overtly cynical but I don't believe we are heading towards an AgeOfLight.

-- madhaha

Alternatively, some of us GaveUpOnTelevision, and there is increasing evidence that video has significant developmental and social drawbacks (just like everything else, but worth considering and balancing). Video is not evil, but neither is it potentially all sweetness and light. -- BrentNewhall

Sure, video is just a medium. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the money and effort put into producing video, is spent producing crap. -- also-gave-up-on-television

Mind you, not that I disagree about appealing to the masses. But video as Art - Art has always had (at least since the advent of economy), an economic component. That it should be 'above' that is a 19th century romantic notion. Look at the Medieval and Renaissance art patrons - always members of the elite in their society.

It is interesting to note that the "relaxing" excuse for spending hours in front of a television at night is flawed. Research suggests that watching television before sleeping is detrimental to sleep patterns.

According to a Brown University study, television at bedtime is associated with sleep difficulties in children:

According to John Herman, a sleep expert at UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, watching television and/or working on the computer just before going to bed may sabotage the ability to sleep:

More generally on-topic for the page:

According to a Spanish study, obesity is associated with television watching:

Dr. Joanne Carter reports to the FCC on the effect of television on children:

An interesting study between Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street showed children remembered more of the slowly paced Mr. Rogers show than the MTV style Sesame Street where rapid cuts are the norm. Sesame Street may keep the eyes glued, but nothing much goes in: it's kiddie eye candy.

But then again others may disagree. I personally remember my favorite part of Mr. Rogers was the little town in the credits and the rest of the show was like taking a nap while awake. As for Sesame Street, it's been 30 years and I still remember some skits to this very day ("Near!..... far......"). As Mad Magazine so eloquently put it, "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood is for the kids who can't keep up with the fast pace of Sesame Street."

My stepson calls TV shows that are all about celebrity and/or reality TV, Prol(etarian) Dazzle Parties - mindless good time TV with lots of flashing lights, celebratory music & maniacal applause, that appears to serve no noble function but to divert the unwashed masses' attention from the real issues of war, poverty, institutional violence, etc.

I remember hearing about a civilization simulation computer game a few years back which starts with Adam and Eve, and goes through the normal course that we think a civilization might go through. There are fiefdoms and then monarchies, and the inevitable pull toward democracy. However, the owner can hold off the slide into democracy by using their credits to buy an "Elvis". They should have given you an option of an "Elvis" or a "Diana".

-- RichardSheppard

The game you mention is the "Civilization" series. The most relevant aspect of this series is that in one edition (Civilization: Call to Power), "television" is a technology one can develop, like "writing" or "electricity". The discovery of television allows the construction of televangelists that can be used to very effectively obtain money from other nations.

In the past, TV seemed to appeal to most as a mechanism for escaping reality; these days, however, 'reality TV' seems to be the rage. Is it an overwhelming need to escape our own reality and instead be consumed by the reality of others?

Possibly, the day will arrive when we all sit in front of the tube and endlessly watch live footage of ourselves watching live footage of ourselves watching ... the ultimate reality show?

-- Con Zeritis

I do that with my webcam and my computer sometimes.

-- Disco Snorlax

All of this TV bashing is interesting, but it remains that there is a fundamental reason TV is so awful. That's because it serves the interests of advertisers, not the needs of the people who watch. All the shows are advertisements for the ads. This model is almost the worst possible model for a broadcast medium if it's to serve the people it's broadcasting to. It shouldn't be surprising that TV is so awful. What should be surprising is that it's so good.

-- EricHopper

I did not watch TV just because it is hard to find what I want to see ,like the status of people who I loved, the sport skill is perfect for my level, etc. I think the reason is it is hard to express our thought in video media compare to writing, speaking ... . But maybe someday we could get that ability.

-- BruceTu

The popularity of television has been a side-effect of losing our identities. Through consumer culture we are told that we are what we buy. Similarly, we are what we watch. And when our lives are not personally fulfilling, we watch more. Ironically, "Reality TV" is more like "Fantasy TV." Really, would anyone want to watch you drive your Toyota Camry home from work at 6:30PM, microwave a frozen dinner and sit in front of the television?

Even most common people will have some fun time except what you said, hehe.

-- Scott Kidder

I was addicted to television. But, I wasn't a video addict. Television was my escape. But I hated it. Well, I was a video addict. I admit. But now I have the internet, and I am an addict of this. Or... I was. When I first got the internet, 2 years ago, I couldn't get off. I would sit here and stare at the screen, with nothing to do. Now, I can get off when I want to. Now, I'm addicted to the social contact. I have friends in real life, but I'm not allowed to leave the house on school days, so this is how I can get my social contact. In the summer, I never was home. We are all addicted to something, filling the voids in our lives. The sad thing is when people don't know they are addicted. And since we're all trashing tv... it really is horrible. The sitcoms were bad enough (even though they're funny), but these reality shows are just garbage. At least with movies, there are art films, and there are "thinking movies". Matrix is a rare case of one that got into mainstream, but it only did because it had action. A lot of people I talked to didn't like that there was so much philosophy in them. I explained all the philosophy behind the movies, and the layers within layers of layers about who Neo was, what he was doing, why he died. and then these kids go to me, "why did they make it so complicated, it's just a movie?". I don't blame TV. I blame the people. If no-one wanted to watch it, no one wanted to be brainwashed, they wouldn't make thoughtless movies and TV, thoughtless video. But, you see, no-one wants to think. And that's the real crime.

Talked about Matrix, could you tell us why no one wants to think? Tell us the reason.

-- david b.

Probably because kids are taught not to think, but to memorize. Try asking them what someone said in a certain scene, or what the scene looked like - they'll know that

The answers are coming...

People like to look for things to revolt against. If the masses like it, then it must be bad. Right?

There is a lot of crap on TV, but it is only a medium in which people work. If there is a dearth of high quality programming then turn it off or start a show on public access and enlighten the world. Also, don't forget to tell your children the same thing. Perhaps we could all place a sign that reads "IDIOT BOX" on our TVs and so that we must weigh the sign against the program.

Television is still a rather young and evolving medium. The printing press didn't create good or bad writers. It allowed more people to read Cervantes, Vonnegut and yes even Danielle Steele.

Since we are consumers we can skip the Wal-Marts and go downtown. Skip the OC and go to the Simpsons or Band Of Brothers.

Ramblingly Yours,

Allen S.

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