"...Who has ever torn himself from the claw that encloses you when you drop a seed in the TV parlor? It grows you any shape it wishes! It is an environment as real as the world. It becomes and is the truth. Books can be beaten down with reason. But with all my knowledge and skepticism I have never been able to argue with a one-hundred piece symphony orchestra, full color, three dimensions, and being in and part of those incredible parlors..." (Faber, p. 84).
What's wrong with TV? Computers? Smart phones? Portable music players? Video gaming systems? Tablets...devices...and phones! Oh my! They are inescapable in our society. They serve as our lifeline and our window on the world as well as our primary form of entertainment. Two-thirds of Americans now own a smartphone (2015), and all these technologies are having profound effects on society, some positive, many not so. Various modern technologies have been said to cause social isolation, lack of social skills, obesity, depression, poor sleep habits, pollution, increased bullying, lack of privacy, higher level of deceit, warped sense of reality, stress, lack of social/sexual boundaries, constant distraction, neck and head pain, shortened attention span, addictive tendencies, lack of empathy,violence, developmental issues in children, neurosis, loss of hearing and eyesight, and loss of social bonds. There must be something "wrong" with devices that could be blamed for so many social ills. What is it?
Identify some of Faber's concerns. Quote his words from the text. What claims does he make about the "TV parlours" in Fahrenheit 451 that also seem to be true of our modern technologies? Show how these modern technologies illustrate Faber's concerns by providing examples from your own experience and observations. Consider these questions: Is it the technologies themselves that are the problem, or is it the media content? Where do you draw the line between too much media exposure and not enough? Is it reasonable to expect that people in the modern world will never access the Internet, use a smart phone, or watch videos on YouTube? Conversely, is it reasonable to expect that people will put the gadgets away when other human beings are around? Where are we to draw our technological and media boundaries? More importantly, who should decide these things? Many people say, "There's a lot of crap on TV/Internet/Social Media/etc.! Too much bad content!" But as we discussed earlier, not everyone defines "bad" the same way. Is it the existence of "bad" content that is the problem, or is it something else? Develop your ideas in a 1-2 page response.
©2005 Wolfman Thompson - All rights reserved.
The one before that: 05/03/2005
The one before that: 01/19/2001