Is TV Bad, Good, or Neither?
by Average Joe
A ninety-plus degree day, an inadequate ladder, shorts instead of jeans, and a non-English or even Spanish-speaking person to spot me on the ladder marked at least several ways in which I was ill-equipped for a recent, routine task. The satellite TV service provider agreement ended for the home in which my parents had been living (they moved to another board and care facility) and I needed to return certain items, including an LNBF (whatever that is) attached to the satellite receiver, or we would be charged.
I found a corner of the house and somehow made it onto the roof from the short ladder and struggled to get the piece off, albeit working at a bad angle on a hot tile roof while wearing shorts. When it came time to come down, imagine trying to listen to the coaching of a man who didn’t speak English or Spanish (he spoke Tagalog). I had to act quickly though, because the hot, slippery tiles could have given way at any moment. An overgrown, thorny bougainvillea hurried the process along and I reached for the top of the ladder with my foot and was incredibly grateful that my toe found it. I couldn’t see but I’m not heavy, so I was able to hang on while my divining foot prodded like an elephant’s trunk. Whew! The caregiver was all smiles, I was drenched, but the job was done. I don’t even want to know what this piece is worth: I’ll bet not much.
All of that backstory to say that with my parents’ move we found a different satellite TV service provider for their new place. It took more than a week and my dad (he’s 83) really let me hear about it, but once the company placed the new dish on the roof of the new home, he calmed down and enjoyed it. I’ll get back to my father and his television viewing in a moment, but first a detour.
Here’s the question: Is TV generally bad or good for most people?
A reflexive answer––one that is almost automatic for parents––is to say that TV is generally bad for most people and that there is very little content of redeeming value on television these days. Conservative talk show host Dennis Prager has commented (paraphrasing) that “allowing a television in a child’s bedroom is equivalent to allowing a loaded gun in the room.” Many parents wouldn’t put it quite that provocatively, but they don’t allow TVs or unmonitored Internet access in kids’ rooms…
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