(Original article courtesy of Gerry Adair. I say this is unusual for me because I am a strong critic of TV programming, but this is a mindless dismissal of TV that seeks to denigrate, not understand, those that watch TV. Kind of like the terrible and pointless film Idiocracy that is the dumbest, empty, insulting film ever made about the dumbing down of society)
Read this first:
The Unseen and Unexplained, Inching Closer to the Truth
Hmmm, I like Heroes (and watch it every Monday--it is the only thing on TV that I watch regularly)--Lost, The Medium and the others I really can't stand, but I don't see them as the decline of Western civilization?
Simply because they incorporate spiritual/magical aspects? Have you read Shakespeare? The Odyessey and The Illiad? Beowulf? Sir Gwain and the Green Knight? Roland? Dante? Most of the world's sacred and literary texts.... don't they have these aspects?
Another dismissal is that it is serial in nature... so I suppose this person believes that Charles Dickens whose novels were delivered in serial installments and caused riots on American wharfs due to peoples' excitement to read the next installation, where utter crap (and we see the author realizing the stupidity of her dismissal and trying to remove her critique from the realm of Dicken's elitist approved standard-bearing role) ... that the tales of Arthur Conan Doyle was evidence that society was going down the tubes... and on and on... come on... really?
Now I am concerned about simple-minded programming that condescendingly plays on peoples post-9/11 anxieties by returning to a spiritual/mystical neverland without any critique or recognition of the social/political/economic realities we face (and I see both Lost and Heroes dealing with these--I liked Lost at one time, I just can't stand being teased unrelentingly without any payoff... mental blueballs it gave me...)
Sometimes the tweedy NY Times critics need to get off their high-horse and if TV disturbs them, they might seek answers why others are fascinated with these shows. As it is this critic just whips out a litany of dismissals--kind of like masturbation in a sense that the only person it please (or interacts with) is the critic (or like-minded people).
Then there are the simply unneeded derogatory dismissals of the mutant freaks, who in their appreciation of these shows, must be destroying the pure race of the past intellectual giants that Stanley looks nostalgically to as the benchmark of civilization (once again forgetting Shakespeare who was viewed as sure sign of the decay of his society):
" The fans of these kinds of serialized thrillers are unusually passionate and devoted, carrying a clout not unlike that of anti-abortion activists "
" they provide an alternative society for those who don’t fit comfortably into their own. (That is to say, smart, socially awkward adults and all 12-year-old boys.) "
Next thing you know she will call for measurements of our skulls and the institution of euthanasia programs... I guess our current administration must have nothing to do with all of the problems we are facing... no it must be them simple-minded geeks watching TV!!! better not let them reproduce!(OK, I'll defuse any of my fellow leftists who might insist if they watched a bit less TV we might not be suffering through a second term of Dubya, I get your point, but do you get mine--this is not really the site for this type of critique... I, once again watch Heroes every week, I enjoy its comic-minded simpleness and its boldly drawn figures, I also spent all last night reading a Buddhist text and went to Frankfurt today to petition my state representatives to raise the state minimum wage and to rally to support higher education.)
Stanley also shows an ignorance of the conventions of TV--serialized nature, ratings as important, longstanding interaction of creators with fans of shows (if that is a sign of social decay then it has been happening at least since the days of Star Trek). Also, Stanley doesn't provide us with any "pure" example of entertainment that might be used to show us what would rescue us from our apocalyptic fate... perhaps in watching all of these shows she slipped into the mood/tone of the shows and is providing us with one in a series of her apocalyptic fantasies? Or, perhaps, she is just a symbol of how the deterioration in the quality of NY Times opinion pieces (hmmm, lets put her drivel side-by-side with some of the past pieces from this rag that supposedly prints all "the news that is fit to print") is a sure sign of the decay of our society...
Thivai ... no defender of TV, in fact he has turned it off for years at a time, and has been known from time to time to rant about it as a problem, and has even kicked a couple when they made him mad.
Also check out Madeline Ashby's passionate and direct rebuttal of Stanley's argument:
"Heroes" = decline of civilisation, says NY Times