U.S. Intellectual History Blog

6 Thoughts on this Post

  1. It certainly represents, reflects and constructs a big part of the consciousness of our society — though, living as we are in the post-fracture age, with hundreds of cable channels and YouTube accounts catering to every possible viewership, it’s probably more accurate to say that TV gives a fly-eye view of our cultural world(s), where speaking of “society” in the aggregate seems less and less meaningful. However, no matter the channel, the language is the same: conspicuous consumerism, the discourse of the market. Nothing but reruns.

  2. Speaking of TV…

    Just got this CFP forwarded to me by my dean — thought it might be of interest to anyone interested in this thread:


    A Conference

    On Television

    Yale University

    February 3-4, 2012

    We all watch television. But in this moment of dispersed and fragmented viewership, we all engage with television differently: as an entertainment medium, a home appliance, a range of program content, a description of viewing behavior, a set of technologies, a media industry, and a means for collective social experiences. Both technological platform and cultural form, television sits at the intersection of a number of humanities and social science disciplines. As observers of — and participants in — this contemporary moment, we are compelled to ask: What makes television television?

    This conference will address contemporary trends in the field of television studies and reconsider the historical currents that inform our understandings of the present and prospective future of the medium. Proposed topics include:

    * the changing contexts of production and issues of labor
    * the politics of television
    * aesthetic and formal responses to the changing landscape of programming
    * television as a national and transnational space
    * theorizing contemporary television
    * the place of “television studies” in a new media context.

    Submissions are welcome from all disciplines and approaches. Critical abstracts should be approximately 250-300 words, and should be emailed to [email protected]. Panel proposals are welcome. The deadline for submitting abstracts and proposals is now September 30, 2011.

    For more information, see http://ontelevision.commons.yale.edu/

  3. Was anyone else struck by how similar the women in the final slide looked? These iconic TV moms with thin straight noses, fair skin, large eyes (all blue? I don’t remember now), similar forehead shapes. One had dark hair (the woman from the 1980s) but still had the same basic facial structure.

    The moms I remember most; from the 1980s Clair Huxtable, from the 1990s Roseanne Conner, and from the 2000s Lois Griffin. I realize I stopped watching TV a few years ago and that my choices are not representative of the ratings, but I have to think more people were watching The Cosby Show than almost any other TV mom for a good portion of the 1980s.

  4. Right off the bat, she kinda lost me when she introduced “evolution” and “basic biology.” My junior high and high school bio teachers didn’t sound like this. I have a problem with her classification of the “four primal instincts” as well as her claim that humans “evolved” to be able to repress those instincts. I realize this probably doesn’t detract from her overall point, but why is she bothering to “clearly separate us from the animal kingdom”? Is that a necessary point as to why/how popular TV reflects the metaconscious of the nation? Again, maybe this is a minor quibble, but it’s distracting to hear this stuff because I don’t think it’s in line with modern concepts of humans as animals. Maybe I’m wrong though.

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