quotations about television

Television quote

Can we find nothing good to say about TV? Well, yes, it brings scattered solitaries into a sort of communion. TV allows your isolated American to think that he participates in the life of the entire country. It does not actually place him in a community, but his heart is warmed with the suggestion (on the whole false) that there is a community somewhere in the vicinity and that his atomized consciousness will be drawn back toward the whole.

SAUL BELLOW, "The Distracted Public", It All Adds Up


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I haven't had a TV in 10 years, and I really don't miss it. 'Cause it's always so much more fun to be with people than it ever was to be with a television.

CHUCK PALAHNIUK, San Francisco Bay Guardian, October 30, 2002


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Television brought the brutality of war into the comfort of the living room. Vietnam was lost in the living rooms of America -- not on the battlefields of Vietnam.

MARSHALL MCLUHAN, Montreal Gazette, May 16, 1975


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If the use of leisure time is confined to looking at TV for a few extra hours every day, we will deteriorate as a people.



Tags: Eleanor Roosevelt

The number of households that own a television set is down for the first time since they started the survey. This is America! The only excuse for not having a TV in your home is, you're too fat to fit into Best Buy to get one.

JIMMY KIMMEL, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, December 1, 2011


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People only know what they see on TV.

CARMELLO ANTHONY, Esquire, January 2005


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I see a great many things now that I couldn't see when I was a young person. And I don't like everything that I see. For instance, I see people spending about fifty hours a week in front of the tv, which means that they have no more family life, they belong to the crowd, so to speak, they belong to the media, and they have no individual perspective, they derive their observations, they get them ready made from somebody who packages them. I don't think that's a very good thing for anybody.

SAUL BELLOW, Q & A at Howard Community College, February 1986


How can you put out a meaningful drama when every fifteen minutes proceedings are interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits with toilet paper? No dramatic art form should be dictated and controlled by men whose training and instincts are cut of an entirely different cloth. The fact remains that these gentlemen sell consumer goods, not an art form.

ROD SERLING, Rod Serling: Submitted for Your Approval


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I believe that the major operating ethic in American society right now, the most universal want and need is to be on TV. I've been on TV. I could be on TV all the time if I wanted to. But most people will never get on TV. It has to be a real breakthrough for them. And trouble is, people will do almost anything to get on it. You know, confess to crimes they haven't committed. You don't exist unless you're on TV. Yeah, it's a validation process.

HUNTER S. THOMPSON, The Atlantic Online, August 26, 1997


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The television, that insidious beast, that Medusa which freezes a billion people to stone every night, staring fixedly, that Siren which called and sang and promised so much and gave, after all, so little.

RAY BRADBURY, attributed, Ray Bradbury: Uncensored!


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A narrow and distorted picture of America often emerges from the televised news. A single dramatic piece of the mosaic becomes, in the minds of millions, the entire picture.

SPIRO AGNEW, speech the Midwest Republican Regional Conference in Des Moines, Iowa, November 13, 1969


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Imitation is the sincerest form of television.

FRED ALLEN, attributed, Raised on Radio


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I don't like reality television, but it pays so much money.

PAMELA ANDERSON, Elle Magazine, March 28, 2014


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TV has taken reflection out of the human condition. People didn't use to have a ready answer for everything, whether they knew something about it or not. People think they have to have an answer for everything because the guys on TV have an answer for everything. But it's bullsh**t! Reflection is crucial.

ALAN ARKIN, "Alan Arkin: Random Advice from an Older Gentleman", Esquire, February 2013


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Opera once was an important social instrument -- especially in Italy. With Rossini and Verdi people were listening to opera together and having the same catharsis with the same story, the same moral dilemmas. They were holding hands in the darkness. That has gone. Now perhaps they are holding hands watching television.

LUCIANO BERIO, London Observer, February 5, 1989


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If television once could be seen as ranking among a number of vehicles for conveying expression or information from which we could choose, we no longer have that choice: the televisual has become an intrinsic and determining element of our cultural formation.



Tags: Philip Auslander

Blaming TV as an abstract entity is nonsensical. It's our hand on the remote. There's a world out there outside the tube.

CARLOS RUIZ ZAFON, "An interview with Carlos Ruiz Zafon", Book Browse


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Television is a new, hard test of our wisdom. If we succeed in mastering the new medium it will enrich us. But it can also put our mind to sleep. We must not forget that in the past the inability to transport immediate experience and to convey it to others made the use of language necessary and thus compelled the human mind to develop concepts. For in order to describe things one must draw the general from the specific; one must select, compare, think. When communication can be achieved by pointing with the finger, however, the mouth grows silent, the writing hand stops, and the mind shrinks.



Tags: Rudolf Arnheim

I've about had it -- the agencies, the winking, the networks, the ratings. Anyone who thinks TV is an art medium is crazy -- it's an advertising medium.

ROBERT ALTMAN, attributed, The Directors: Take Three


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You're beginning to believe the illusions we're spinning here. You're beginning to believe that the tube is reality and your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you: you dress like the tube, you eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube, you even think like the tube! This is mass madness, you maniacs! In God's name, you people are the real thing, WE are the illusion!