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On TiVo and Commercial Bullies - The Life and Thoughts of Zach

Oct. 7th, 2003

03:36 am - On TiVo and Commercial Bullies

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From:mathuaerknedam
Date:October 10th, 2003 01:19 am (UTC)
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> Reading a novel is, I think, MORE isolating that watching a TV show
> (it takes longer and you REALLY aren't hanging out with your friends
> building relationships while doing it) and yet that is fun to do too
> and I do it all the time.

True. Everything has its time and place.

Personally, if the focus is relationships, the format and content matters a
lot less. If It's not, I might as well read.not only does it cater to my pref-
erences, but it builds reading/writing/speaking/thinking skills in ways that
dynamic media can't begin to touch.

I'm not sure what skills tv/movies would build but there probably are some.
Then again, maybe not. Playstation can improve things, but I'm an active
participant there. The viewer has only a passive role in tv/movies, right?

The one time that I do miss TV is when I'm home sick. I don't have the
energy to read or surf, and cable TV is the perfect way to escape my
suffering and let my brain vegetate. Fortunately, it's been a year or two
since I've been sick.

I would say that I'm worried about how I'm manipulated by media, but I
do try to be sensitive to it. Sorta-kinda like how the Amish try to be
sensitive to the effects that various technologies might have in their lives.
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From:zarfmouse
Date:October 13th, 2003 12:56 am (UTC)
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I do not take a passive role when I watch moving pictures. I engage in symbol analysis as much with film as I do with any other art form. I think about why the director chose to shoot certain scenes from certain angles or with a certain lighting. There's a whole vocabulary to filmic expression that I am only starting to grasp but I love to think about it. Then there is a deeper level of symbol analysis that happens just thinking about the metaphors being used.

Most of the film and TV that I watch has everything to do with the relationships between the characters. Many of my favorite shows/films have ensemble casts rather than leading actors around whom the action centers. Those that do have central characters are usually character portraits that analyze in depth who and why a person is.

Sometimes I just shut off my brain and go for a ride. But when I do it's because I don't have the energy to use my brain for anything anyway. Reading would probably put me to sleep at those times and conversing with friends might be an annoying expenditure of cycles. Watching some kind of "candy" movie is like eating candy or drinking alcohol...it feels good, there's no point to it, but occasionally we do it because feeling good is nice.
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From:mathuaerknedam
Date:October 15th, 2003 04:34 am (UTC)
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I probably used an overly broad definition of passive. I meant passive in the sense that there it isn't interactive, like playstations or this discussion. (Not that reading is interactive, but I do do think that reading and then writing *is* interactive.)

I'd probably have a greater preference for movies if I had a better understanding of it. I just don't possess the vocabulary, and if I did, I would want to create with it (which would make it interactive, like reading then writing). I don't have the time or money to get into this, and I had to deliberately backburner my musical interests to focus on graphic design (which is now also backburning...). So many arts, so little time! Reading / writing is cheap and easy (while lacking professional aspirations), and I still don't have the time to do one percent of what I'd like wrt R/W. Even less now that I'm a dad.

Sorry if I'm continually being overly pragmatic... Do the relationship and character portraits have any real value beyond entertainment? What do I gain through analysis of fake people in fake situations? Wouldn't real life provide for more valuable analytical fodder? Does the fiction simply make the analytical process more tolerable? I dunno. I thought Unforgiven was an excellent character study, and I much enjoyed it as such.

I don't know where all of this is going, if anywhere.
But it is an interesting discussion.
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From:zarfmouse
Date:October 15th, 2003 08:38 am (UTC)
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I'm down with your particular choice wrt time management.

But I guess it all keeps coming back to film as art in general for me. Does any art have any real value? If you see a painting or a sculpture but do not paint, was that time wasted? If you listen to music but do not create music or dance, was that experience valueless?

For me the art does not have to be interactive by your definition in order to have meaning and value and I personally do not have the energy for every activity in my life to be that interactive.

Also, there is a long term interactivity which is (I may have said this already, this conversation is spread out over too many days, I'm probably getting repetitious) that art creates culture and cultures makes communication more rich, more efficient, more interesting, and more nuanced. So when you are talking about something with your friends and you allude to some movie or other and compare and contrast it to some book or other and mention how that in turn reminds you of some painting or other...that is an interactive continuation of a conversation started by those artists.
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