Ryva Brall wrote:
My friend and I were talking about this the other day. When we were growing up, channels like Discovery, TLC, and the History Channel were chock-full of interesting, educational shows. Now, I'm only twenty-eight, so this wasn't that long ago. But now it seems that all of these channels have dropped their educational stuff in favor of crap reality shows like "Ice Road Truckers" and "Pawn Stars" and "Overhaulin'". (Oh, and my favorite? "Ancient Aliens". Aliens have about as much business on the History Channel as they do in an Indiana Jones movie.) Even Animal Planet has suffered this decline. Nearly all of the nature documentaries have been replaced by reality shows.
There's even an actual term for this "process of dumbening", as Lisa Simpson would say. It's called network decay, and it basically means the transition of a TV network's programming in order to appeal to a wider (and apparently less intelligent) audience. The disturbing thing is, it's the most mindless and inane of these shows that have the highest ratings. So what does this say about us as a society? Is TV making us dumber? Or is TV only getting dumber because we're getting dumber?
It's a cycle. If we consume television, and television never informs, then we remain uninformed. Therefore, we get stupider. Therefore, we stop watching shows that don't appeal to us. Therefore, we end up with stupider shows. It takes someone breaking the cycle. And it starts with the consumer. We have made learning uninteresting and mass appeal has to cover kids, too. With distracted and tired parents.
I like it when a show uses a word I have to look up or references something that requires me to understand the material. It's entertaining. Looking for plot, looking for character development, it's all a part of the experience. If I just sit down and watch without having to think, most of the time, I won't be able to keep my attention. This is not to pat myself on the back, just proving that it can be done.