Just recently on one of the morning talk shows I heard a panel discussing the effects TV has on young children. The claims of damage to young minds ranged from kids developing ADHD, to kids believing that real people lived in their TV sets, to kids becoming leaders of satanic cults. Now, I’m no expert, although I play one at times, but I think everybody is getting a little carried away. This argument has been going on for some time and I think it’s time I weighed in on the subject.
I began watching TV the moment I was born … okay, that may be an overstatement … but I remember watching Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows, which ran from 1950 to 1954, and Milton Berle’s Texaco Star Theatre, which ran from 1948 to 1955. Since, I was born in 1950, I was no older than four when the Your Show of Shows last aired. I don’t remember much from when I was four and five, but I do remember those shows. I have remained addicted to TV since that long, long ago before time, and am proud to say that it hasn’t affected me negatively. I am perfectly normal … okay, maybe not perfectly normal … okay, somewhat off center … but that’s as far as I go. I’ve been a boob tube baby, a television teen and an audio/visual adult. Okay, that last one’s a stretch. Anyway, the point I’m making is, if anyone was going to be corrupted by watching too much TV, it would be me.
Let’s look at the above claims of psychologists, sociologists, psychoanalyses and bimbos on Fox News who report that TV causes a child to develop ADHD. Well, every male in my family, me included, has ADHD, so some people may think that indicates TV played a role in our affliction, but I beg to differ. I think our shame has something to do with aliens. Space aliens, as in Star Trek, Star Wars, movie stars. According to family records, my great grandfather to the 20th power, Roug, was rendered a babbling mass of flesh who couldn’t control his bodily functions after seeing a series of bright lights outside his cave. Although he eventually recovered control of his body functions, he became unable to finish the simplest task. He invented the spark but Borg, his village rival, beat him to the punch by introducing fire, and he came up with the oval wheel before, you guessed it, Borg used the idea for a round wheel. Roug also laid the groundwork for the garden weasel, the beer hat and feminine hygiene products, but each time lost out to a more focused inventor.
Now, let us address the claim that some children believe the people in the TV are real. I believe that this phenomenon has been diagnosed in just a few states, most notably West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas and Utah – but there is fear it could spread. Even when I was hogging the TV at the tender age of four, I knew those people weren’t really inside the TV. Now, as I grew older there were times I did wish some people on TV were real, especially during the time of my budding sexuality, but no, the reality was I would have to lust for June Cleaver from afar. For the younger readers, that was Beaver’s mom. What? You don’t know Beaver? Well, I feel sorry for you.
I might be able to understand if a two-year-old thought tiny people were performing for his own pleasure, but during the discussion it was purported that a 10-year-old kid believed those tiny people were real. A 15-year-old kid said he always turned off his video game system when through playing because he feared the characters in the game could watch him when not involved in their normal activities … you know killing, pillaging and raping. Somehow, I don’t think TV or video games have anything to do with these two little crackpots believing that tiny people inhabit their electronic devices. I think it has more to do with a lack of properly formed brain cells and a lack of parenting skills.
As for the satanic cult thing; well, the group discussing TV didn’t actually say that; they just hinted at it. However, after doing some research my belief that TV is not evil was a bit shaken. Philo Farnsworth is credited with inventing what we now know as TV in 1927. His name was Philo, need I say more? However, the really freaky part is he had a female assistant named Bee L. Zebub, who danced on the side under the stage name of Lucy Furr. Okay, anyone’s interest up yet?
Now, even though my research was troubling, I really don’t believe TV is dangerous or sinister or evil. I feel it’s just a medium to bring us joy, laughter, happiness and expensive pay-for-view movies. TV is not only our best babysitter, but a friend we can turn to when life gets hard and you can’t be where everybody knows your name. TV is a warm, fuzzy kitten, a soft, cuddly puppy, a hot, nasty … nevermind. TV is okay with me … at least that’s what the tiny voices in my head tell me to say.