— Temporal Vortex

“Television is an Idiot Box?”

Well for some reason, I got offended by this phrase. I actually originally heard it from my professor in English and what we were talking about was Reading Strategies. The notes were avoid the following: 1.) Being a passive reader, 2.) The television habit, 3.) The untouched book habit and 4.) The highlighter habit. Well obviously, I’ll try to talk about no. 2, the television habit.

I am really really wondering why the hell my teacher called the television an idiot box so I tried raising a question out of my curiousity or maybe you could call it stupidity. I said, “Ma’am what about watching television but also reading subtitles at the same time, you also do critical thinking right?” — Well, expect the answer of the close-minded people, of course they’ll deny the fact that television is also an educational gadget, of course to those who utilize its extent. I’m actually watching subs so the question is really relevant to my situation. My teacher bluntly said that it doesn’t matter if there is subtitles because television offers you all from thinking to imagination so that causes you not to think at all and there was I mumbling — Are you saying I don’t learn something from watching slice of life and drama genre animes!??! I was so frustrated and kind of ashamed because my classmates laughed at my question, suggesting that it was a foolish question. I really really don’t believe to this phrase because I own an anime blog just to discuss what I have watched. Doesn’t that mean I think and I interact with what I have watched? Bloggers also do some evaluation of the episodes and often of the whole series and sometimes even retrospection.

Well I’m just suggesting here that watching animes with subtitles or even the ones without doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t think while watching or think what’s with the plot. What do they think of viewers? Idiots? Of course all anime watchers have tastes on what animes they should watch and that already depicts that television is not merely an idiot box but could also be an appliance for you think what’s best for you to watch and feed your mind.

I became so upset because the topic today was graphic organizers which tells that readers could even more understand what the article/ selection says if it is illustrated or represented through symbols and drawings — which I really think could be connected to animes. If graphic organizers work for critical thinkers, doesn’t that mean anime does? Because animes are practically visualized and set into motion pictures that are found in a book. Does critical thinkers suggest that they prefer graphic organizers such as flow charts when you could turn that flow chart into series of events that even portray the characters on it??? It is very absurd.

Maybe this teacher of mine is just a reaal nerd that she doesn’t even have the time to watch television programs. As for that, I intend to turn this into an essay in her subject so maybe she could realize a little bit. (Well, I’m not pretty sure If I have the guts to do it.)

You there reading this post, Do you agree that watching animes doesn’t really require critical thinking anymore? Me? I don’t think so. After all, I did this blog.

6 Comments

  • At 2008.09.27 08:54, kanzeonNo Gravatar said:

    Wth is with that teacher… Of course our wits work even in watching anime. It still requires critical thinking. Why do they make the media today look bad??? Geez…

    Umm, just a question that I’m interested to know… Do your classmates know that you own an anime blog?

    • At 2008.09.27 16:38, jitenshaNo Gravatar said:

      my close friends do (back in high school) but now in college, no one noes yet. XD

      • At 2008.09.27 17:09, kanzeonNo Gravatar said:

        @jitensha: Oh… while me, they don’t know… I feel like a closet otaku right now like Haruka Nogizaka T.T

        • At 2008.09.27 17:47, jitenshaNo Gravatar said:

          Oh don’t worry, the ones who will know that you do anime blogging are the only ones fated to be your true friends :P

          • At 2008.10.05 01:08, KitsuneNo Gravatar said:

            “My teacher bluntly said that it doesn’t matter if there is subtitles”

            Yes, I agree that it does not matter if subtitles are present or not – it is the same information anyway. However, let’s look at the main argument of your teacher.

            “…because television offers you all from thinking to imagination so that causes you not to think at all.”

            I interpret it as 1) TV offers the interpretation of the facts and that limits your critical independent thinking 2) TV depicts the world from a certain perspective that might have been different if you were trying to imagine a certain scene yourself. Thus, if every fact is chewed for you and everything is depicted on screen you don’t have to critically think and imagine anything. That is an interesting line of reasoning, but it fails miserably.

            1) While it is true that interpretation of data by others can bias your own critical evaluation, TV is no different from other media and it can be an advantage as well. Any educated person will be able to draw conclusions and inferences from most information. Moreover, alternative view on the subject might broaden her/his worldview and expand knowledge. If you worry about biased interpretation offered by others on TV, then how is TV different from other media such as radio, newspapers, books? All other media offer their own assessment of the events just like TV. Of course you can argue that information can be more convincing when presented on TV because it involves several modalities, but it still depends on how you absorb the food TV provides. Thus, you can still watch TV and be able to engage in critical independent thinking.

            2) Indeed, one of the main advantages of books is your active generation of imagery in your head. However, TV can expand our imagination by showing us never before seen processes and objects. Moreover, we can compare the images that we generated in our mind to the ones shown on TV to learn about the possible differences and appreciate diversity.

            The only thing your teacher might have been right about is that books offer much more food for thought and can induce a significant change in the worldview of a reader. Films can do that as well, but films have many limitations imposed by commercial nature of the industry. For example, how many films based on books can you name that turned out to be as good or better than the book? Most books are superior to films based on them.

            Overall, it seems your teacher fails to recognize the educational benefits of TV. Hopefully, your essay on the subject can, if not change, at least make her/him contemplate about the subject. In the end, it is not about what you use – video, radio, or book – but how you use it.

            • At 2008.10.05 13:21, jitenshaNo Gravatar said:

              I agree with almost all you’ve said and I really think that my teacher is wrong because the Department of Education in my country is promoting E-TVs (Educational Televisions) set up in every classroom. The teachers who experienced teaching students through this method said that the students even became more interested in their lessons. I don’t see any bad effects in this method aside from the students not being able to directly apply what they see because the TV already does it. Which is I think also similar even if you try to read a book. At least for television, it might arouse your mind to find out whether what you saw was really the truth unlike the words that is limited just by searching what the words and senteces meant for the reader.

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