Monday, December 08, 2014

Splash du Jour: Monday

"America…is being lost through television. Because in advertising, mendacity and manipulation are raised to the level of internal values for the advertisers. Interruption is seen as a necessary concomitant to marketing. It used to be that a seven- or eight-year old could read consecutively for an hour or two. But they don’t do that much anymore. The habit has been lost. Every seven to ten minutes, a child is interrupted by a commercial on TV. Kids get used to the idea that their interest is there to be broken into. In consequence, they are no longer able to study as well. Their powers of concentration have been reduced by systematic interruption.”
-- Norman Mailer --

Have a great Monday!


Sam Sattler said...

It's not just the kids of the world, it's their parents and grandparents, also. I know that I cannot concentrate nearly as long or as well as I used doubt about it. And I blame it on being surrounded by smart phones, iPads, iPods, PCs, and who knows what next. It's all a bit sad and scary, really.

Anonymous said...

Looking at your blog quote from Norman Mailer, I cannot help but wonder what year it was written. He sounds just like Neil Postman in Amusing Ourselves to Death. (1985)
Postman points out that those little "flashes" that you can see out of the corner of your eye when television is on - the shifts in scene/setting - in 1953 lasted approximately 28 seconds. In 1986 (the year that MTV was popularized) it went to every 7.3 seconds. In 2007 it was every 2.5 seconds. This, Postman postulates, is a large contributor to the way we respond to stimulus...needing "fresh" images every few seconds or we will become bored.
As a teacher who has taught - not since 1953, but long enough to see a difference in kids' focusing ability - I wholeheartedly agree with both authors.
Sesame Street - while touted to be a great educational vehicle - turned out to be an enemy to traditional education in the sense that it created the idea that learning should be game-like, fun, and easily grasped. Sound bytes. Interesting that Postman stops short of saying that these constant barrages of stimuli affect the way the brain actually operates. He HINTS at it but will not accuse directly.
Today we know with nearly absolute certainty that the brain is indeed "rewired" by the instantaneous shifts of information we now experience.
Can't help but sound like a NeoLuddite or an old fogey when taking this view, but research is taking a real interest in the effects of media on us - psychologically and neurologically.
I'd write more but I have lost focus.