a long road ahead...

my younger brother graduated this past weekend, which directly translates into: a lot of time with my family, namely my parents who live closeby but who i see not too frequently, and certainly not for two straight days at a time.

during a conversation with my father on the very long, rainy, and construction-ridden drive back, i found myself defending television... again. to the casual observer, i might have sounded a bit maniacal as i declared, with fervor, that it wasn't the tv watching itself that was the point, but rather the context in which the watching of tv occurred. that is, is tv seen as another text with which kids engage? and are parents motivated to ask them about the shows they watched in much the same way as they inquire about the stories found in the books they read?

in response, my father replied with a vignette starring the granddaughter of one of his colleagues who, he said, rarely, if ever, watches television and on a recent visit to his friend's house he witnessed the hypnotizing effects of television as this otherwise "bubbly and loving child" (his words) sat transfixed and immune to the happenings of the world around her. wouldn't we excuse that behavior, i asked him, if the same child exhibited the same reaction (or lack, as it were) while engrossed in a book? i reminded him of the hours and days i spent lying in my bedroom completely transported to other worlds as i read printed text, much in the same way as i was fully immersed when i watched television; yet i only ever got reprimanded when i watched tv.

i guess i need to order him a copy of steven johnson's book and hope that he, and others like him for whom reading trumps tv any day, recognizes that we live in a technicolor world - one that transcends the boundaries of black and white print on paper, and that to keep hierarchicalizing texts in this way is not only a waste of time, but delegitimizes experiences that some of us hold quite dear.

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