Cutting back on TV is like cutting back on soda (or high-sugar of any kind). Once you’ve done it, even moderate amounts don’t taste good. Quote of the day:
When television is good, nothing — not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers — nothing is better.
But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite each of you to sit down in front of your own television set when your station goes on the air and stay there, for a day, without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland.
You will see a procession of game shows, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons. And endlessly commercials — many screaming, cajoling, and offending. And most of all, boredom. True, you’ll see a few things you will enjoy. But they will be very, very few. And if you think I exaggerate, I only ask you to try it.
- FCC chairman Newton N. Minow speaking to the convention of the National Association of Broadcasters.
I love this quote. The kicker? It’s from May 9, 1961. When there were three television networks and the world was still inventing color. Wonder what Minow would say about the state of the medium today (he’s 85).
Trivium: the S. S. Minnow from Gilligan’s Island was named in “honor” of his assessment.