March 2, 2006

TV no make you dumb

A study by U of Chicago econ profs says watching TV doesn't make you stupider. What a relief! I'd always worried about that when I thought of how I'd raise any kids I might have -- I mean, I was glued to the TV as a kid and turned out fine, but maybe I was an exception. Though I liked "Mr. Wizard's World," "Beakman's World," and "Bill Nye the Science Guy," I doubt many kids would bother paying attention if their parents only let them watch such educational shows.

And the other types of shows revolve around things kids will do anyways, whether by watching & discussing TV shows or otherwise: safely ogling hot girls or cute guys ("Saved by the Bell"); seeing your own adolescent problems played out & resolved so you can better understand and perhaps deal w/ them ("My So-called Life," and "Saved by the Bell" again); having something to cement the discussions in your circle of friends / serve as a group badge, as well as allow you to break the ice w/ someone you want to be friends w/ ("Saved by the Bell" again); and perhaps enjoying mild entertainment (yep, "Saved by the Bell" again). Sorry to mention that show so much, but I was born in 1980, so the teenager shows I grew up on were out in the early '90s. "Wonder Years" is another good example, though not so much for ogling.

These issues aren't something you would bring up out of the blue among your friends, so these shows allow you to form thoughts & opinions w/o the embarrassment of having to discuss them w/ others. And if you wanted to bring up the topic w/ friends, you could always say, "Did you see Such-and-Such last night? I can't believe that bla-bla-bla..." So, you could talk about things that sucked in your life (a lot of them at that point) w/o having to emasculate yourself by admitting weakness. You were just talking about So-and-So from What's-That-Show. Or, even better, if you wanted to vent anger at the type of people who drove you nuts! Ah, therapeutic TV -- of course, now when I turn it on it's almost all garbage, but I recognize the need for it among adolescents who would rather have their dopey parents pick them up at the mall than openly discuss the things they're going through w/ any adult.


  1. I've concluded the exposure I had to computer games growing up was pretty valuable, though I don't necessarily touch them now. Strategy games like Civilization are vastly more complex rule-systems than the normal activities available to maturing minds.

  2. Taking information from the U of Chicago economists to heart so easily? :p

    You do know that University of Chicago has a distinct school of economics, don't you? You lean towards their school?

    You ever check out Cafe Hayek?

  3. Lifetime reading books will trump lifetime watching television.

    Why do you think elites don't have TVs, but books even in their living room? Watching TV programming is for the commons.


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